Saturday, January 12, 2008

about as shallow as it gets here, folks

i can put my ipod in my pocket!

I'm getting into the habit of listening to music again. What an odd thing to admit. But for so long, scanty storage and subpar stereos have made dealing with piles of cds a real hassle. I have been in a longstanding rut of defaulting to npr or occasionally streaming from pandora.com when I'm online. Now that I've got an under cabinet docking station for my ipod, I'm slowly importing my music collection (wee, by any standards) into itunes for convenient listening without the mess of dics. It's been nice having the music around more. Which is not to say it's quiet otherwise. We're a noisy little family.

And the more I listen to music in the kitchen, the more it occurs to me to listen other times, as well. (I told you this was an odd thing to admit). But I have to be careful. I'm too sensitive to music, I think, to let it in my head all the time. It's one thing to listen to it playing across the room and it's another thing all together to have it right up in my brain. How do I explain it? Here, here's a little paragraph I wrote about six months ago (am I really so lazy/uninspired in my writing to wade through old livejournal posts for one measly paragraph?):


I use my ipod mostly for listening to podcasts when I'm nursing the boy to sleep. A couple of times I did listen to music, but it was too powerful and I had to stop. Something about lying in the dark, with the music right up inside of me like that, it made me feel too vulnerable. It was like it transported me to adolescence, to the joy and hope I'd find in my walkman, the way music would create this unique, visceral response, the way it felt so specific and personal, the way it picked you up and held you, safely in the palm of drum beats and guitar chords, carelessly aloft with the whole, beautiful world around you. but now that joy and hope is juxtaposed with the heartbreak of being thirty-one and not all that much wiser. I wish I could explain myself better.

The only difference now is that I'm thirty-two, but I still can't explain it any better than that. It can be so perfect and beautiful, but there's a nostalgic discomfort in the beauty that compels my head to explode. What, you don't feel that way, too?

So, what am I listening to, anyway? Lots of stuff. I get really into one thing (one food, one pair of shoes, one humorous catch phrase) and I can listen to it (eat it, wear it, say it) a million times over before it even starts to get old. So if I tell you that my current favorite song is Mama Won't You Keep Them Castles in the Air and Burning by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah don't scratch your head and think, but that's what she said months ago! I really can't get enough of this song. It's not a single and so I couldn't find a stellar video to share, but you can get the gist:


(hi, I'm april, sucker for harmonicas and jangly melodies and weird, long song titles)

I'm also appreciating the fairly new npr All Songs Considered concert podcasts, with free downloads of complete concerts. I can listen to hours of Iron & Wine while I'm cooking dinner or rock out to Rilo Kiley when I'm cleaning up the house. There's a bunch of great music there already and I think they're still adding more. I'm not so hip to new things and music, so maybe you know about those already.

Surely you already knew that ipods are compatible with wireless headphone technology. I had this brilliant epiphany the other night, when, yet again, my headphones were ripped off of my head and my ipod flew out of my pocket when the cord caught on one of the drawer pulls in the kitchen and I thought, and then said aloud to the husband, that somebody ought to invent headphones (and by headphones, I really mean headphones, I can't stand earbuds poking at my cartilage) without wires. And he chuckled heartily at my expense. Sometimes I'll write about other things I've inadvertently re-invented, but now I'm just mentioning my status as a technological neophyte. Which is probably why I find it worthy of my time to sit here and write about listening to music through headphones at all; what is current and interesting to me is old hat to everybody else. (or sometimes the other way around).

6 comments:

Angelina said...

I want an ipod. It's not old to me. And wireless headphones? Wow. I'm always catching my headphone wires on things and ripping them off my head.

I tend to listen or watch or eat the same things over and over again into the sunset. Then at last I move on to something else, only to return to the same things again and again.

april. said...

i don't actually have wireless headphones yet, but it's nice knowing that they're out there.

jess said...

huh. syncronicity. i went to itunes to get an episode of fresh air and while looking at the npr list opted to subscribe to asc. i've always liked bob boilen's segments and i'm really into the podcasts and concerts. i've been listening to bjork (i've never been sure of her- i like her. l don't like her. i like her again) and i think i'll buy the plant/krauss album after hearing them. but then i'm tempted to run over to itunes and buy a bit too often while listening to asc.

i love the washed over feeling of listening to great music in my head. feeling the music. it's a bit intoxicating, really, watching my life go by while thrumming to my own personal soundtrack.

kort said...

as for that music washing over you feeling...i heard new to me Bruce Cockburn in the middle of the rainforest. the tape arrived earlier that day (in a birthday package including the screenplay to The Royal Tenenbaums)but i didn't get to hear it until we were in bed. under the mosquito net, in the dark, holding the walkman's external speaker up to my ear. these days listening to those songs puts me right back in Brokopondo.

april. said...

jess, i don't like bjork. but maybe i should download her concert anyway? hmm. sometimes the intesity isn't even like it's a background to my life, it's like it makes me feel like i'm standing on the edge of vast canyon and that dizzy feeling is my life. oh, nevermind. i'm a little bit crazy.

kort- wow, that sounds intense. i really have to go in spurts with music listening because sometimes it's just too much to hold. i can barely hear certain songs without feeling something i don't maybe necessarily want to feel.

Lisa B-K said...

I need wireless headphones soon or I'm going to have an accident on the treadmill at the gym.

iPods are still weird to me - well, mine is - and so I don't use it as often as I could/should.

I am LOVING being able to hear Fresh Air again, though. Maybe one day my local NPR affiliate will bring it back.