Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sound Barrier

Derek Thompson:

Summer concert season is upon us, a time for most music lovers to leave their headphone jacks at home and mingle in the sticky air on picnic tables and open pavilions. But it's just another three months for those who love music and don't care for concerts. Like me.

For me, music is a scrim lowered into the world. A scene moves around me, and a separate group of thoughts and senses develops behind the melody inside a sheen of privacy. Fader on you, solo track on me. I listen to music to be alone.

I'm no agoraphobe. I watch football at bars and baseball in stadiums, but sharing sports with 10,000 fans feels as natural to me as sharing music with a thousand strangers feels unnatural. Watching sports compels me to reach out, to high five, to shout and connect. Listening to music inspires all the opposite reactions: internalization, thoughtfulness, something private and quiet.

Same here. I've always appreciated the intricacies of studio wizardry over the spontaneity of live shows, though I sense that puts me in a minority. I've seen a few great club shows, but the majority of the arena/pavilion spectacles I've gone to have been largely forgettable. Music frees my mind to better focus and concentrate, which I like to do in solitude anyway.