I love music. I love listening to music. I love making music. I love thinking about music. I love collecting recorded music. I love seeing music performances. I love reading about music and musicians and musical instruments. I love shopping for music gear. I love trying to make music.
Since I took up the guitar, I have been able to hear more in music. I hear the different instruments better than I did before. I hear the bass. I hear the drums. I hear the guitar. I hear the strings, organ, piano, lap steel, whatever. I hear the parts that make up the whole better than I ever have.
When I was a kid, my favorite song was “We Built This City” by Starship. At the time I didn’t know the history behind the band. I didn’t know about the electric drums or the chorus heavy guitar sound. I just knew I liked the song.
So now I listen to the song and I have memories of those emotions and what I liked about the song. But I also don’t hear the song as a whole like I did before.
A week or two ago we got the Wilco album “a ghost is born” at the library book sale. I put it in the car and listened to it as I drove around. At first, I was hearing the different instruments of each song. I really liked the guitar intro to “Hell is Chrome.” And the guitar solo for that song is very Neil Young-esque in my mind.
Then I got to the guitar solo at about the 9 minute mark in “Spiders (Kidsmoke)”. It doesn’t quite go with the music.
It doesn’t line up with where I think it would line up in the song. I could only listen to the solo or the song, not both. So I had to pull back as I listened. I had to listen to the whole song and ignore the parts. I had to feel as much as listen.
How do you listen to music? Do you hear the parts more than the whole? Do you break it down in an eternal quest to recreate it in your mind, as if you could recreate it if you could just break it down into its individual tracks? That’s what I do.
But I’m trying to get away from that. It took me multiple listens to get to this realization and we’re only talking about one album. I’m trying to get back into just enjoying the song as a whole. I’m trying to just love the music.