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Listening differently...

Discussion in 'ProgPower USA' started by General Zod, Jun 23, 2015.

  1. Liquid Tension

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    I also love the chase and sharing a new exciting band to others but my collection is so out of control that I've reverted back to listening to my past favorites...
     
  2. General Zod

    General Zod Ruler of Australia

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    The time element is real and inescapable. It's just one of the realities of adult life. The only factor in the equation I feel as though I can alter, is the way I listen.

    While two weeks does seem more palatable than four, sticking with one band for two weeks might feel more tedious. This would be especially true of bands whose sound is fairly consistent. Listening to nothing but Amorphis for two weeks would feel much less trying than listening to Maiden for two weeks.

    I don't think I could say exactly why, but I feel as though I've resisted random play and playlists. Perhaps it's the musical purist in me?

    I think you've hit on a key component for the shift in listening habits; the social component. Whereas we once only shared music with our limited circle of metal friends, we now share music with the global metal community. In doing so, we want to know what everyone else is talking about. I think there's also a bit of a competitive element at play, in being the first to recommend the next hot release to that community. And the deeper the waters become, the more reward there is in discovering it.
     
  3. sccaldwell

    sccaldwell Guitarist Wannabe

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    Five? You had FIVE? I would have kicked puppies and kittens to have five!!! :lol:
     
  4. sccaldwell

    sccaldwell Guitarist Wannabe

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    This.

    I very much miss my younger years when I had time to sit and listen to a new album over and over, often with headphones, always while having the lyrics open in front of me. Lack of money to buy much also made me much more selective in purchasing.

    This is 100% of why I can still recite the lyrics to nearly every Rush song, Dream Theater song, and many many others prior to about 1999 or so. After around that time, life started getting too busy, and I just haven't had much time to do that since (significant pay increases also allowed more impulse buys).

    An album has to *REALLY* grab me at this point musically in order for me to set aside that time anymore. Seventh Wonder is one of the few "new" (to me) bands of the last 10 years to have inspired taking that time to really listen the way I used to do regularly.

    And for me, at least, my favorite, most-listened CDs tend to be the ones with great lyrics with the music...if I don't have time to learn the lyrics, it'll probably never make it to be a "top 20 favorite" CD.

    The sheer quantity of releases (and purchases) is also an issue. I know can't compare to some here, but with just my collection of over 1500 store-bought CDs (plus all my (legal) downloads), I have -- literally -- 82.8 DAYS of music in my collection, according to iTunes' tally. That's nearly 3 months of 24x7 listening, with no repeats and no breaks.

    I know that I own dozens and dozens of CDs to which I've never, ever listened. ProgPower is actually to blame for a lot of them. I haven't bought many in recent years (due to having too many unlistened), but for the first 10 or so ProgPowers, I'd come home with 20 or 30 CDs, every year. I'd listen to the ones I was most excited about first, of course....and never even get to the rest of them.

    I actually keep a playlist called "UNLISTENED", and anytime I buy new CDs, I try to remember to throw them in that playlist. Periodically I review it and see what no longer qualifies to be in there (because I've listened!) and remove it. Also, occasionally I'll simply put the "UNLISTENED" playlist on, or pick a CD or two from it.

    It helps, at least...

    First world problems, eh? :cry:

    Craig
     
  5. Bryant

    Bryant Mr. Sleepy

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    I understood what you said in between some words I don't normally hear and had to think about the definition of. I don't fall into that category you seem to though. I am open minded, but I tend to fall in love with certain bands and enjoy listening to them often.

    I think your attempt at really concentrating on a few releases may be good for you Greg. I never wanted to seem rude to you and tell you that I thought you "ran through" music too fast, but I do feel that way. Is your way wrong ? Absolutely not. It is simply "different" than the way I do things. Nothing wrong with that. However, I think there is something "special" when you fall in love with a band or release. You miss out on that experience.
     
  6. KaptainKrude

    KaptainKrude Your Psychotic Companion

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    Actually, that's not entirely true, especially if you're limiting your consumption to X albums in a given time. It requires a tad more effort on your part, but the Universal Scrobbler is pretty fantastic for situations not covered by phones and PCs.
     
  7. jhallum

    jhallum Computer guy

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    I've been scrobbling nearly everything since 2005, except for a month in January when I didn't realize it was broken, and other times when the service was down and I wasn't area. It's really cool, though I haven't had much of a chance to look at trends lately. The biggest problem with it is that albums with lots of tracks might dominate over better albums with fewer tracks, but some of the visualization things you can do with the data are really cool.

    (I'll note that clicking on the recent tracks below takes you to my last.fm page if you are so inclined.)
     
  8. General Zod

    General Zod Ruler of Australia

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    I would never take it as rude and I absolutely agree I move through music too quickly. Hopefully, this experiment will help reshape that. Now... I'm often to listen to Reign in Blood for the third time in two days. :loco:

    Good to know. Thank you.
     
  9. skyrefuge

    skyrefuge Member

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    I didn't finish the essays, so maybe he got into this, but I believe the social aspect of the Internet had almost as much to do with the end of "scarceness" as the technological aspects did.

    When it was just us and our limited circle of friends, entire swaths of music simply "sucked". One friend declared that something (hair metal, death metal, keyboards, girl singers, etc.) "sucked", we all agreed with that obvious truth (think 'Beavis & Butthead'), and we proceeded to ignore that entire offending subgenre.

    Once the Internet arrived and gave us a view into a universe of opinions vastly wider than that of our dumbass friends, the idea of broad swaths of music objectively sucking became much less tenable. "Here's a guy who likes all the stuff I do, but he also likes death metal. Huh. Maybe I should check out some of that stuff too?"

    I think much of that pre-Internet behavior was simply basic tribalism at work (liking what your friends liked and hating what they hated created a group social identity), but I think at least some part of it was a conscious or subconscious effort to manage the abundance. "Hmm, I know I'm supposed to hate death metal, but that Suffocation song I just heard on late-night radio was pretty awesome. Wait! No! I can't open that floodgate because I simply don't have the money to buy releases from a whole new subgenre! Death metal sucks!! Yes. It does. Phew. That was a close one."

    When the Internet came and removed the social limitations to music exploration, it became much harder to use such rationalizations to keep the floodgates closed. And then when the technology took the next step and removed the financial limitations as well, there was no way those floodgates could remain in place.

    Anyway, nice discussion, and I look forward to the results of your experiment. Though I'm guessing it won't produce a very profound result. Now that I listen almost exclusively via Spotify, I paradoxically find myself listening a single band or album repeatedly much more than I ever did before (basically because the Spotify interface sucks; it's easier to just hit 'play' and listen to a band's discography in order, and then start it over again, than it is to find a different band to listen to). But this hasn't done anything to change my absorption of music, or make me discover things I haven't noticed before. The problem remains that my *mind* is never in a place to absorb the music like it was when I was a teenager. Some of this is probably related to being an "adult" and having other things to care about, but I'm thinking a good bit of it could simply be how our brains work as they age.
     
  10. General Zod

    General Zod Ruler of Australia

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    I don't recall if he touched upon it, but it certainly wasn't central to his thesis.

    I would agree; the genre was far more insular and less open-minded.

    That would be the smart bet.

    I think that's true. I also think it's true that we listen in a more critical way. The record that made me a music fan was Shout at the Devil. My 15 year old brain had no frame of reference for it. I'm sure to a 35 year old music fan it likely sounded like a poor rendition of Aerosmith or some amped up version of Kiss. But to me, it was brand spanking new. Now at 46, my brain is constantly and subconsciously dissecting what it's hearing. Without even trying my mind is analyzing, "The guitar tone is reminiscent of X, the singer sounds like Y, the chorus reminds me of Z, and they completely lifted that lyric from so and so." Unfortunately, there's just no way to power down that component of your mind and just listen with pure ears.
     
  11. Keir

    Keir Member

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    There were a lot of comments in this thread that I could relate to, but none so much as this. Since I started doing compilation reviews for the Corroseum, I find that my brain starts to break down songs into suitable one-liners. Instead of just enjoying the music, with every new track I am thinking "Old school US speed metal with gravelly female vocals." "Hair metal not unlike Badlands if Mike Tramp sang for them." "Mind-blowing early Queensryche influenced progressive power metal. Different to album version." Even if I'm not listening to a compilation I just can't help myself.
     
  12. johnfrank1970

    johnfrank1970 Member

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    Once again, we have had different experiences. I do not recall ever writing something off only because a friend thought it sucked. As an arrogant, opinionated (i.e., typical) teenager, I certainly thought lots of stuff sucked, but I do not recall having to repress a secret appreciation for Wham! or Celtic Frost in order to be cool.

    The Internet was a gift to me, not because it expanded my tastes much, but because I was able to write about and discuss the music I loved.
     
  13. Sir Exar Kun

    Sir Exar Kun Member

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    To me, this sounds like a bit of a generational thing..... And while it's purely a point of view, I had the same type of experience as John..... Several times friends would try to play something that others thought stunk and explain what it was they loved about it..... Once in awhile they might sway someone to their opinion, but I don't ever remember NOT liking something because my friends didn't.

    Now, my vision of the "younger" generation was that in the 90's, this sort of mindset of herd mentality (despite protestations to the contrary) did take over, and if you didn't follow the masses you were an instant outcast. Picture the goth kids on South Park, if you will..... It seemed like the grunge following adopted this mindset very quickly, hence the rapid end to what we considered metal in that era.....
     
  14. Sir Exar Kun

    Sir Exar Kun Member

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    Agreed completely! I have found it VERY difficult to just "listen" to music, without some part of the brain trying to rate it, or genre assign it, or pick out which songs would go onto a good old compilation disc or playlist.... If someone ever figures out a way to deprogram this part of your brain, PLEASE pass it along.....
     
  15. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Member

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    To be honest, I kinda already live this. While I always have a strong desire for more music, there is so much of it out there that it is hard to digest it all. So, usually I get around 10 albums and it takes me about 2-3 months to fully digest them before I feel the need for more music. I also feel the need to go though my collection and listen to the stuff I haven't heard in depth for a while so I can see whether or not I can purge it. Fact is, I have too much crap in my house and I need to get rid of some of it. That includes CDs I'm not that invested in anymore.

    Also, now that my MP3 player in my car is full (and no practical way to upgrade the storage), I've been carrying more CDs in the car.
     
  16. skyrefuge

    skyrefuge Member

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    Well yeah, I'm not saying it's a conscious decision ("oh, I guess I'm not supposed to like Wham!, I better change my mind"), it's a subconscious social influence that you aren't even aware of. Since it's unlikely that our lifelong tastes in music are determined entirely by our DNA, social factors must play a role. As I recently noted elsewhere, fans of dorky metal are probably somewhat less-susceptible to this social influence than the average person, and then I can believe that you yourself are an outlier even within that group of metal fans. But at least across a broad, generic population, it's fairly undeniable that music tastes are dramatically affected by social influences. Studies (pdf) have shown that people like a song more if they know other people like it. And that's exactly why the Internet opens the social floodgates, because it's there that you realize *everything* is liked by large numbers of people and the concept of a "sucks"/"rules" dichotomy is shattered.
     
  17. spag

    spag I am a leaf on the wind

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    It was a very different culture for sure. Because money was scarce, you would hang out at record stores for example. Because many of the stores were independently owned, you could always find ones that catered to your music, or maybe even only when the guys you liked were working. I got turned on to so much music back then, and if I bought an album, it's likely that I had already been rocking out to it in the store. Rainbow, Yngwie, Fifth Angel, and many others I heard first in record stores. Not to mention the friends you'd make there.

    The other thing about scarcity. Since you could only get the occasional album, I know I'd spend a lot of time hanging out at friends houses, and it was always cool when someone would get something new. I still remember vividly one of my friends telling me to come over to his house after school because he had something cool to listen to. First time I ever heard Iron Maiden. Sit around, stereo going, reading the album sleeve and cover over and over.

    While we have instant access to 1000s of times more music now, but I really miss those times for sure. I guess the latter is still possible if you know people in your area, but the former is all but dead, and that sucks.
     
  18. General Zod

    General Zod Ruler of Australia

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    I'm so guilty of this. I often catch myself listening to music in terms of how I might write about it. That's definitely a bug and not a feature of writing reviews.

    I think the internet was a gift to everyone without a financial stake in the industry. But yeah... there's no one in my day to day life I can talk music with. Not having any outlet for that would suck.

    I get what skyrefuge is saying. I don't think boundaries develop in an obvious, intentional or insidious way, but groups of friends tend to stick with music the group likes, especially when the group is together. You reach for the cassette everyone likes and in doing so, the selection can become self-limiting. Now that our "group of friends" is a global community, there are no boundaries and all of our horizons have been expanded.

    I think it comes down to when do you feel that "need" for new music. For me, it's once every six minutes. :loco:

    And radio. I discovered a whole world of music listening to WSOU.
     
  19. spag

    spag I am a leaf on the wind

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    Yeah, radio was a whole other world then. I lived in the sticks, for some of that time, but could pick up stations like 96 Rock in Atlanta during the occasional thunderstorm. Having stations that played whole album sides at night was amazing. I sat there many times with the tape deck going to get something new.
     
  20. Hammerlock

    Hammerlock Member

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    It is an interesting thesis, and it has some merit. I'm definitely guilty of the "jack of all trades, master of none" pattern. When I was first getting into metal, I'd listen to the same album over and over again until I knew all the words and every single beat. Nowadays, I'll sometimes go through my music list and find a band I discovered, liked, and forgot about. I'm like a combine harvester for new metal, I can't help myself checking out this new band or that new album, gathering it up, and adding it to the collection. My problem is I now have so much music that my 150 GB iPod can barely hold it all. I'm going to run out of space on it by the end of the year at this rate. My CD shelf that I thought would last me forever is on it's last two empty rows and bending under the weight of 1000+ CDs, with more coming in. Where the hell I am going to KEEP my immense collection is going to be a serious issue in the next couple of years.

    Now, I do spend a LOT of time listening to music, so I don't feel like I have a crisis. I can get through multiple full albums every day the way I'm going right now. Metal is the background music of my life, and there is an undeniable thrill that comes along with discovering something new and awesome. There's always the possibility that the next new band I check out will be another Damnation Angels or Braindance that's going to blow me away. Having been a metalhead for 15+ years, new bands are a way to recapture the magic of those early years when everything was new and exciting and I wasn't so jaded by it (at least 75% of the new bands I check out don't make the cut). It's an addictive feeling. I don't feel like I'm really losing anything though. I can still listen to a new album like Sabaton's "Heroes" and love it enough to be able to sing along to all the words in the car or at a show.
     

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