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The Big Takeover Issue #94
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Listen Close

Dave Heaton
28 December 2005

How much music can one person listen to? Sometimes I feel like I’m testing that boundary, with my constant quest to hear as much music, new and old, as possible. It’s occasionally overwhelming, but also exciting. There’s more good music out there in the world than any one person can ever listen to, and that’s my motivation to keep seeking out more.

I’ve been this way for a long time; my childhood was built on exploring the local library’s music collection, on listening to the radio, on reading music magazines, and (eventually) on watching MTV. My mom used to always say things like “don’t you own enough music?”, but how much is enough?

My tastes have exploded in a myriad of directions since those days. Right now, I hear more music than I ever did before, and have more bands and genres to keep up with than ever. At once I’m both looking for exciting new bands and trying to keep tabs on my ever-growing list of favorites. I’m discovering music from before I was born and re-acquainting myself with music of my lifetime that I’d forgotten about or neglected. I’m doing my best to keep up with all of the noteworthy and popular music of the day while at the same time constantly opening my ears to groups that hardly anyone outside of their own neighborhood has heard of.

I’ve been trying to not just hear more but to hear better: Not to own a music collection just for the sake of having one, but to really listen to each recording, closely and critically. I don’t want music to be just another possession. I don’t want to buy an album just so I can impress people with the number of CDs that I own. What is the point if you don’t listen to them? I want to know why I own the music that I own. I want to possess only the music that really means something to me, and be able to defend each CD, cassette, or record that is taking up space in my home. To this end, in addition to all of my other music-listening, since the spring I’ve been slowly going through my music collection piece by piece, in alphabetical order, carefully evaluating each one and getting rid of what I don’t need. If I can’t listen to an album all the way through and get something meaningful out of the experience, then I don’t need it in my life.

This blog will be a way for me to further express my thoughts on what I’m listening to, new and old. I’ll write about that new band that I’m obsessing over, or that album from the past that is blowing me away again (or for the first time). I’ll gather my thoughts on the process of being a music lover. I’ll try to put into writing what this crazy life is all about, to articulate why music means so much to me.