armchair cultural observation since 1995

Listening without multi-tasking party


“I’m trying to get back into the habit of listening to music and not doing anything else at the same time. If music is worth anything, it should be worth listening to. That’s the whole point of it after all.”

Positive Hindrances

I took Lava Dave’s advice and had my own listening without multi-tasking party tonight. I figured Built to Spill’s Perfect From Now On was the perfect candidate.

I didn’t expect it to take me back so quickly to my room in southern New Jersey a week after the Mormon girl I fancied moved to Virginia. It was, at that place and time, my quintessential heartbreak record. I listened to it for days on end with the lights out – no multi-tasking desired. I remember simply I wanting — high school cliche alert — to lose myself in the music and forget all of the lame teenage hormone-fueled feelings of sadness and angst.

“You better not be angry, you better not be sad. You better just join the luxury of sympathy if that’s a luxury you have.” 

Apparently, it didn’t completely do the trick because here I am a happily married and unheartbroken man (my heart breaks for more important things now like world poverty and injustice) thinking for the first time in 12 years about that emotionally sad but musically productive period in my life — the time the best record of the year and maybe of the decade soothed my heart, tickled my ears and taught me why music was not only worth listening to, but sometimes the only friend I had or even wanted. 

Maybe I need to make get back into the habit too. There’s no telling where, to name just a few, a spin of my old Velocity Girl, Dinosaur Jr., Blur and Jesus and Mary Chain records might take me when I shut everything out and have another listening without multi-tasking party.

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