(Why I) Turn the Radio Off.

I listen to music pretty constantly. In fact, as I started to write this just now, I put some music on first. I wake up to it, I walk to and from work listening to it, and during downtime I put it on in the background. According to iTunes, it would take more than 13 days to listen to my library in its entirety, and that’s not even all of my music.

On top of all this, I’m something of a musical dictator. In high school, there were a few times when friends put albums into my car’s CD player without my consent. I still irrationally hate one of these albums, simply because it wasn’t my choice to listen to it. It’s not that I’ll take suggestions, but I have to make the actual decision to listen to new music on my own.

This is all setup for a simple fact: I hate the radio. It hasn’t always been this way, but as my music collection grew, I just didn’t want to subject myself to someone else’s taste in music anymore, not to mention all the commercials and the subpar sound quality.

But despite this hatred, I do like the random element of listening to the radio, which is where a portable music player comes in. While being able to carry days’ worth of music on a pocketable device is completely awesome in and of itself, being able to put thousands of songs on shuffle play is arguably even better. The ending of every song is turned into a question, the juxtaposition of any two tracks becomes unpredictable and the experience of listening to music turns into something more dynamic.

Also, I swear my iPod has moods. Some days it’ll play a nice cross-section of my library (though it does have a tendency to play some of the same songs significantly more often than others for some reason), but on others, it’ll get angry and throw a bunch of Alexisonfire, A Wilhelm Scream or Boy Sets Fire at me all in a row. Maybe it gets sick of being kept in my car’s glove box.

It should be noted that despite my aforementioned love for random, it’s really just an alternative for when I get sick of choosing albums to listen to. I think it’s unfortunate that so many people cherry-pick their favorite songs from albums without ever listening to those albums as a whole, because track sequencing is part of the creative process for many bands.  It’s like hanging up what you think are the most beautiful parts of a painting you’ve never seen in its entirety.

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