maura @ 7:03 pm
One thing that’s happened in the past just under a year is that with increased stress comes increased reliance on old music rather than new. I’ve been practically unable to listen to any of the music I’ve gotten for my birthday last year or xmas, with the exception of a few gifts that were of music that I’d once owned but no longer do. Usually those are casualties of the cassette tape and the thriftiness of college. We no longer really have an easy way to play cassettes outside of our 18 yr old car, which does have a tape deck, and an old boombox with a cassette and CD player that we used to play the white noise CDs when Gus was a baby. The CD part is broken but I think the tape part still works (though come to think of it I’m no longer quite sure where it is). And the thing about college and my 20s is that between doing a radio show and having roommates I ended up taping lots of music rather than buying the LP or CD. Now that I’m an old lady I wish I could go back and trade in some of the LPs and CDs I did buy for those I just taped, because only some of that music has had staying power with me.
Familiar music has been like a security blanket to me this past year. I guess it always is. Maybe this is just a normal aging thing, but what’s been new is the narrowing down of what I’ve been listening to. Really it’s maybe only a handful of bands:
– For writing/research: It’s still Orbital. Still. As always it’s got the perfect tempo to keep me moving along when I write, and because their music is mostly instrumental there are no words (usually) to distract me. Really it’s practically Pavlovian, like using Word and Times New Roman (which for me = academic writing).
– For working at work when I’m in my office — email, planning, scheduling meetings, the usual: Pipas. Sometimes Amor de Dias, but if I’m feeling blue they can often make me bluer so it depends. I have all of the Pipas records and I make Itunes play them all through alphabetically by album which means it starts with Mental and ends with Sorry Love. And if I’ve still got work to do I start it all over again.
– For doing dishes on some weeknights: Mostly 50 Foot Wave but sometimes Throwing Muses. The former is louder and sometimes seems more productive — the latter, again, can sometimes bring me down. But loud drums + Kristin Hersh singing is often just what I need at the end of the day.
– For doing dishes on other nights, plus anytime I’m feeling particularly stressed: Cocteau Twins, so much Cocteau Twins. For calming it’s usually the Tiny Dynamine/Echoes in a Shallow Bay EPs; for familiar though not supercalming I’ll do Treasure (still my favorite Cocteau Twins record even after all these years) or Head Over Heels. Plus I’ve had this thing about the song Summerhead from Four Calendar Cafe, sometimes having to listen to that on repeat.
I did have a Janelle Monae and Colourbox interlude in the mid-Fall, but since the holidays it’s been right back to these 4-6 bands. I’m wondering when I’ll pull out of the restricted music phase, no sign of it yet.