Friday, April 3, 2015

I Don’t Want To Hear it Anymore, Part One:

Winters suck in general, but the winter of 2014/2015 will go down as one of the suckiest of all time. You can look it up.

And the rest of 2014 wasn’t so hot, either. There were a couple of serious illnesses in the extended Jaybee family, and while everybody made it through it all okay, we did get word over the holidays that an old friend passed away.

I would typically be laying a little low (musically and otherwise) during the winter anyway. It’s a good time to sit back and listen to something more contemplative than pop music. Something that fits the cold, quiet Saturday afternoons in January. Jazz, Classical, Folk, World, Weird, but nothing too loud or raucous. 

But circumstances were dampening my enthusiasm even more than usual.

Plus, it turned out I would be studying for a professional certification - one of those things that you value less the closer you get to it. (Sort of the Groucho Marx effect: Who’d want a certification that I can get?) So I knew I’d have some studying to do, and music with vocals would be a distraction (unless it’s Leonard Cohen). 

And when I set out on such a course, it's not enough to simply study. I must do so in the most ascetic, humorless way possible. In other words, No Fun. Fun normally takes the form of music, movies, books, friends. You know, Good Times. But I was abstaining. (Somehow beer and wine make the cut, though.)

It stems from reasons both practical and nonsensical.  On the practical side, I get easily distracted. "You've got a lot on your mind." my Mrs. Jaybee says. But she’s being kind. My head is filled, but like a hoarders apartment, it’s mostly crap.

And while young peoples’ brains are like sponges that soak up whatever knowledge is around, mine is like the stained and crusty one by your kitchen sink that you’ve been meaning to throw away because it's starting to smell funny.

So I had a lot of good reasons to not listen to music in the new year. 

The weird thing this: I didn’t miss it. 

I barely wanted to hear music at all. If anything, the sound of music would just annoy me. (Let’s put aside for the moment that 95% of what I hear annoys me anyway.) 

This would go on - with some minor interruptions - for nearly three months. No iTunes at home, no radio playing while driving, no songs floating through my head during conversations with my boss. 

I began to think I'd reached a new phase of my life. As I said in a recent post, I’d made a resolution to experience a little more life and a little less music. Little did I dream how easy it would turn out to be.

So this was the state of my music obsession. Or in this case, my now non-obsession. 

In the spirit of “less is more”. I opted for silence. 

To be continued.


Anonymous said...

This is so weird. I have been almost obsessed with music my whole life but for some reason i now listen to 880 AM news radio on my way to work. Wtf? I don't know why. Well part of it is the fact that radio static is unbearable living btw nyc and phila. But cds are an option. So why not that? There are no good radio stations anymore. All have gone to classic rock which now extends further the older I get.I don't hear what is new and good. Am I too lazy to go beyond changing the radio station or checking out the music choice channels offered on horrible xfinity aka comcast? Is that what has been the source of my love for music? Convenience? I just don't think so. I too have been thinking of going rogue and finding some specialized native american tribal music or broadway show tunes or something.....but if I have to think about it and actually work at it then it wouldn't be the same experience as listening to music once and always was. Quite pleasurable and seductive, effortless and unquenchable. I was glad to again stumble upon your blog. Not because I'm glad I'm not the only one. Not because misery loves company but because i feel as bad for you as i do for me.

Jaybee said...

Hey Anonymous!
Thanks for your comment.
I made it through that period eventually, but had the same experience again this past winter (and didn't have a certification exam to blame, either). I'll find a way through it, though!
I think it's wise to try to mix things up a little. I got into the habit of just putting my car radio tuner on scan, so that I could hear every station and then just stop at those that I liked. It helped in a limited way, in that it showed me which stations were playing genres I was interested in checking out (jazz, classical). And that said, the radio just isn't what it used to be.
Another, non intuitive way of finding new things is to check out blogs (but then I would say that, wouldn't I?), sites like and, and a whole lot of others. The only problem is that there's no guarantee you'll like everything they like, but at least you're more plugged into new music.
And now there's some new Spotify service (Discover Weekly) that's supposed to guide you to new music. I'm skeptical, though. It might just point me to things that don't challenge me a bit, which I think is the key to long term enjoyment.
Feel free to check out my other posts and my wild enthusiasms to see if any point you to something you'll like.
And I wish you the best of luck in finding things that light that fire we all crave.