Having recently begun taking a 65-minute daily commute, I’ve had a lot of music time that I might have forgotten to take otherwise. Now, not only can I re-listen through my favorite albums in their entirety, I can finally listen through albums that I’ve been meaning to explore for many months. The result: I’ve realized just how much some intentional music-soaking can mean to the music lover.
Now, this might seem obvious – if you love music, you will obviously spend a large amount of time listening to it. However, I’ve found that it’s pretty easy to get stuck listening to a short list of personal favorites over and over again. More than that, if you don’t have long periods of the day that are free for extended music listening, you may find yourself only having time to squeeze in fragments, only absorbing bits and pieces of music that likely need context to be fully appreciated. For me, this results in an almost joyless listening experience – something that music-listening should never be.
Part of the solution that I’ve found is to step back and make sure to listen to albums in their entirety. More and more, I’ve been convinced that an album experienced as a whole is infinitely more rewarding than listening to any of its parts alone. However, even if you do not typically experience music in this way, purposefully listening to a whole album gives you the opportunity to receive a beloved artist’s work more completely. Remind yourself of why you love that band; listen to one of their albums the whole way through.
Furthermore, like I said before, listen to some of those bands/albums that you’ve been meaning to check out but have never made time for. I’m kind of embarrassed to admit it, but I only just gave Mastodon’s The Hunter and Kvelertak’s Meir a real listen last week. I can’t believe what I’ve been missing! Having some extra time to just sit, drive, and listen has been glorious, opening musical horizons that I would have neglected otherwise. Having gone through my slew of sludgy bands, (including a much-needed second listening of Intronaut’s newest), I plan on uncovering some of the post-metal and prog-rock albums that I’ve yet to hear, and I fully expect the experience to be unforgettable. Pull up that album you’ve been meaning to listen to and jump in!
I think the most difficult part of revamping one’s music ingestion is the setting aside of time to relax and fully listen. In my case, I’ve caught a break with my aforementioned commute. However, I plan on making time every day from now on to really let myself sink into the music. If this sounds weird or overly zen-y, check this out: I’ve been in a creative rut, as far as music goes, for a while now, but now that I’m soaking in music every day, I’ve been having this crazy outburst of musical creativity, almost like coming up with ideas is easy. I attribute this in large part to my recent immersion in unheard as well as well-known music; the mind soaks in the music and the overflow is apparent. For me, this overflow takes the form of musical creation, but I believe that no matter what form it takes, your appreciation of and love for music can’t help but expand if you take some intentional time to be absorbed into the sounds.
There’s too much lovely music out there for us to forget to listen. Give it a shot!