The Perfect Listener (Pt. 1)

By: Nick Southall

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Posted 08/21/2006 - 12:26:50 PM by deworms:
 fine start to something that's always bothered me. especially now that anyone can have good "taste" in music just by going to the right sites and thoughtlessly downloading it. there's no hunt anymore unless the music hasn't been digitilized.
Posted 08/21/2006 - 04:00:13 PM by cwperry:
 I agree; the question of "do you love music or did you choose it as a lifestyle" is something I've wondered for the past 20 years when a friend of mine who only liked the latest fads and couldn't name the four Beatles claimed that he cared more about music than I did. This drove me up the wall, as I knew his choice was lifestyle rather than love for music. People who choose it as lifestyle can love it, sure, but to me the two camps are distinct and one simply goes deeper than the other. I've always thought that folks who listen to the radio versus folks who bring their own albums (or mixes) along in the car provided a good illustration of the two types.
Posted 08/21/2006 - 04:42:21 PM by keyinblack:
 This is a rather lazy article. I'm generally not one to bash the insightful critics/enthusiasts on this site (and I appreciate that the readers are even given a chance to speak) but this particular column is just going in circles. Yes, I believe J-Pop kids like music, but for different reasons. The meat/fat analogy was apt enough as it has everything to do with overindulgence and gluttony (amongst hyper consumerism as well, but you already touched on that.) Unchallanging music is like empty calories, creating a cycle upon itself to never be completely satisfying internally, but always craved to fill the satisfaction. But you speak of extremes, which is raher myopic. In reality, people teeter between the two, balancing convenience and quality.
Posted 08/21/2006 - 05:54:15 PM by mirakle:
 The funny thing for me is that getting an iPod is what made me develop an interest in music. When I saw that I had all this memory and no music files, I started asking around, listening to other people's albums, and if I liked it, I'd buy it for myself so I could listen to it as much as I liked, until I finally stopped depending so much on the iPod and starting listening on better sound equipment. Most of the J-Pop kids will never start downloading whole songs or becoming interested in new artists or genres based on one chorus, but maybe one or two will, and that's something.
Posted 08/21/2006 - 06:38:27 PM by warmingthecurb:
 Could you fix the link? I'd like to see/hear what you're talking about.
Posted 08/21/2006 - 09:39:53 PM by syurix:
 I see music as a lifestyle choice predicated on a search for transcendance. That sounds almost painfully hippieish, but it's also true. I like the particular rush associated with great skram (that chaotic, unprofitable strain of screamo that most people consider unlistenable) and, fittingly, have probably 15 or so records in that genre alone in my listening backlog. Add to that the PitchStylusCMG spate of indie picks, friends' reccomendations, left-field mainstream hopefuls (KellyKanyeEtc.), metacritic, and shit that probably is only there because girls like it and you have a couple of fresh records per day. Several of the bands are long-since broken up and remain in the ether, ready to be dug up and experienced. Others may never tour outside of the states they reside in. The point I'm making is that, in spite of the hyperspeed consumption this sort of thing necessitates, I'm being freshly floored by something at least once a week. I don't begrudge the JPop kids because, maybe, they've found an apotheosis of the sort of thing that I'm moving towards. I'm still avowedly an album guy, but I wouldn't mind a world full of ten-minute albums that take four minutes to floor you, four more to elevate you to the ceiling, and two to assure you that this was all real. Imagine if "Silent Alarm" was bearable after 35 minutes. Imagine if "American Water" maintained the peak if attained on the first line. For me, physical endurance is an accidental part of pop music. If it's part of the point, with something like "OV" for instance, then let it be part of the point. However, the median pop song doesn't need to be a 3-minute repetition of 30 seconds worth of sugar, which is what formula necessitates. If there's depth of melody or lyrical ideas etc. trust the listener to come back. 1000 plays later I'm still unpacking Lifter Puller. 30+ spins through "Wonderful Rainbow" and I'm still getting new stuff out if it. However, nearly every band seems to mistake reiteration for conviction. Would the peak moment of the title track on "Bivouac" be better if we heard it twice?
Posted 08/22/2006 - 04:47:36 PM by cwperry:
 syurix, can we have some context for the songs/albums you're citing? We all don't know who did "Silent Alarm," "OV," etc. Kind of hard for me to imagine anything about these pieces if I don't know who did them.
Posted 08/28/2006 - 12:04:29 PM by mirakle:
 In case cwperry is still waiting for a response, I would also like to know what the hell OV is. Silent Alarm, however, is by Bloc Party. Dance-punk stuff, I liked it but didn't love it.
Posted 06/16/2007 - 04:24:46 AM by Nodima:
 In case OV is STILL a mystery, Pitchfork named it in it's Top 50 of 2004, or 2005, one of those two. It's an electronica album by Orthrelm. This article doesn't really provide any answers to me, but I'm the kid who (until his PS2 broke) would put iTunes on album shuffle, throw on his noise canceling headphones...and then play Madden NFL for hours. I try not to listen to the same album twice in one day unless it's something that's very new and I haven't formed a healthy opinion about. However, I tell myself I do this because I have so much music STOCKPILED on my computer that I have to get to it sometime. I like to think this isn't simply because I want to be perceived as someone with good taste, but rather I want to be someone who has heard all these albums eventually. Almost like a personal checklist of things I need to do before I die. Then again, I guess that slip me into the "having listened to" camp rather than the "listening to" camp. As an interesting note, back when I was still buying albums on iTunes with my Job Money rather than downloading via BitTorrent with my No Money, I remember very distinctly I had only the entire discographies of Elliott Smith and Death Cab for Cutie. I'd sort them by year in iTunes and then play each one from beginning to end, to see how the bands evolved throughout the years and the little lyrical allusions I could find. I know for sure that since then I've also done it for The Beatles, Neutral Milk Hotel and Radiohead, but I used to INSIST on listening to artists that way. From beginning to end. I never do that anymore, and I often wonder why.