How do you listen to music?
Did you even know there is a “way” you can listen to music? I’m not talking about the device you use; I’m talking about the method, the experience.
One day, my roommate pointed out something to me when I was listening to Carly Rae Jepsen’s E•MO•TION album (which is great, by the way). It was something I had sort of noticed before.
“You know how you listen to music?” she asked, rhetorically. “You always listen to the songs on the album in order, like a story.”
It was true. That is almost always how I listen to music. I choose an album I’m in the mood for and then turn off shuffle.
I’m always interested in hearing the order of songs the artist or producer has chosen because I know they were likely put in that order for a reason. There’s a narrative involved. As a songwriter myself, I find there is something essential in the ordering of songs and the way they’re heard. I’ve fantasized many times about my hypothetical album and the order in which I’d put the songs.
I think it also has to do with listening to CDs in the car as a teenager. I’d drive and drive and just listen to certain albums on repeat. Record players made it difficult to even hop back and forth between songs. With iPhones, Spotify, and the shuffle button today, we have no reason to let an album play through from the first to last tracks.
But there is a story there.
I still typically listen to albums from beginning to end a few times, at least, to hear and feel that narrative. Of course, I develop favorites, make playlists, and press shuffle every now and then, but the narrative is something I’m always interested in.
I love the art of storytelling in many forms, and, though a song is a story on its own, oftentimes there’s more story surrounding it.
We should pay more attention, don’t you think?