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gasmask_colostomy
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Joined: Thu May 27, 2010 5:38 am
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2022 12:58 am 
 

This is a question that's been bugging me lately, in particular when I explain to others why I like metal. I say that it's a genre of music that mostly makes you pay attention, it's normally very content heavy, a large portion of it is in your face, and most metal can inspire a primal physical reaction. In other words, one reason I like metal is that it demands my attention.

However, I tend not to just listen to metal, but listen while I'm doing other things. This habit has grown stronger for me: when I was a teenager I would listen with my full attention, especially to new albums while reading the lyrics and looking through the booklet. But now I'll mostly put on music while I work, exercise, surf the internet, or read. I still love metal just as much as before, but I can't concentrate on just listening anymore. That's one reason why I like reviewing albums so much, because during the writing process all I'm doing is listening very carefully and writing about the music.

So, how much attention do you pay when listening to metal? What other things do you do, if any, while listening? Does it vary between types of metal? Has it changed over time?
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TheLoneForest
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2022 1:02 am 
 

Depends on how well I know an album

A lot of norwegian bm is background music for me now. But usually I listen to music to enhance the mood or scenery i am in. Unless i am dedicating my time to a specific album, I will listen to it passively, which is why nowadays I focus my attention on more interesting things like dark ambient, prog/tech/deep house, shoegaze, drone etc because of their "enhancing" properties

It's like what Brian Eno said about ambient being music to just enhance life, nothing more. I find that music is best served in that respect
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kazhard
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Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2020 11:42 pm
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2022 1:08 am 
 

Before I used to play video games while listening to CDs but nowadays I only lay on my bed or sit in a rocking chair while trying to focus on the music as much as possible. I have ADD so I often get lost in my thoughts. With that being said, I really need to pay a lot of attention or otherwise I won’t be satisfied. I’m not sure if that is the kind of response you are looking for but this is my two cents.
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gasmask_colostomy
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2022 1:09 am 
 

I kind of do the same as Lone Forest with some types of music, especially black, doom, ambient, etc that you mentioned. Those styles tend to have fewer vocals, especially ambient, or the vocals aren't very clear about words like with black metal, so I can concentrate on other word-based tasks at the same time. I probably wouldn't choose a heavy metal album to put on while reading, because there's a conflict between the words I'm hearing and the ones I'm looking at. By the same merit, I'd prefer to concentrate on something with strong messages if I'm at the gym, because it gets me pumped a bit more and feels more passionate, while I'm also mentally free to pay attention.

kazhard wrote:
Before I used to play video games while listening to CDs but nowadays I only lay on my bed or sit in a rocking chair while trying to focus on the music as much as possible. I have ADD so I often get lost in my thoughts. With that being said, I really need to pay a lot of attention or otherwise I won’t be satisfied. I’m not sure if that is the kind of response you are looking for but this is my two cents.

All responses are interesting, this is a pretty open question. Do you mean that you've come to put more focus on just listening? I guess I don't really know how ADD would affect that, but are you trying to think more or trying to listen more?
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kazhard
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2022 1:20 am 
 

Yes, I mostly try to listen more and focus on details. If I’m doing other things at the same time it will definitely affect my listening experience in a negative way so I really have to concentrate, like a lot.
Pretty interesting thread by the way.
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gasmask_colostomy
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2022 2:12 am 
 

By the way kazhard, does the speed of your rocking chair vary according to the album? :p
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kazhard
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2022 3:06 am 
 

You bet! :-D
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Twin_guitar_attack
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2022 3:38 am 
 

Mostly listening while working or reading now, maybe a couple albums a week as an exception, so I'm aware I don't pay that much attention and I do tend to listen to genre playlists on shuffle more often than full lengths as I know I will get lost in what I'm doing (doesn't change regardless of whether I'm listening to ambient, any genre of metal, pop, or noise) I don't listen to a lot of new stuff partly for this reason, partly because I've heard so much over the last 20 years I don't feel the need to keep listening to 50 new albums every year just to stay current.
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firelord_
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2022 8:54 am 
 

Depends on what I'm doing while listening, but in general my ears are conditioned to hear certain things even if I'm not actively paying attention. It's great when checking out new music for example, since bands I wouldn't appreciate anyway will often pass as background music, while the actual good stuff tends to break through and get my attention. I always listen to albums though and very rarely on shuffle, so I usually have an expectation of what to hear even before putting it on.
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Empyreal
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2022 9:01 am 
 

I never have a hard time paying attention to the music while also writing or reading. I play a lot of it while driving too. Pretty much always done it that way and I feel like I get the full experience just fine - it's only difficult when I'm in some situation where I get interrupted by other people in social situations or am waiting on phone calls or events or whatever to start.
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Krist4Lyne
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2022 9:17 am 
 

Depends on how much consideration I have for the album or how much I know it.
Basically, when it's about art I tend to get serious and actively try to get sucked in to feel what it's trying to tell me.
A great author from my country said : « Art is the shortest way from a man to another. » and I think that's fucking damn right.
Unfortunately, I got focus issues as well which makes it very hard to be 100% concentrated on the music most of the time, so I guess I'm probably not always giving some pieces as much attention as they deserve.
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gasmask_colostomy
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2022 9:28 am 
 

firelord_ wrote:
It's great when checking out new music for example, since bands I wouldn't appreciate anyway will often pass as background music, while the actual good stuff tends to break through and get my attention.

This is pretty much what I do nowadays too. Even new stuff that I've actually bought I won't concentrate too hard on, unless it's a very lyrically involved concept or something. I generally get promos or digital stuff rather than actual CDs though, so to some degree I'm interested in finding that X factor without thinking too much.

Empyreal wrote:
I never have a hard time paying attention to the music while also writing or reading. I play a lot of it while driving too. Pretty much always done it that way and I feel like I get the full experience just fine - it's only difficult when I'm in some situation where I get interrupted by other people in social situations or am waiting on phone calls or events or whatever to start.

Certain activities are much easier to pay attention during. Writing/working (lots of my work is making Powerpoints at the moment) lends itself fairly well to listening to music, and all the better because I do it alone at home. I guess if I read I'll do what TheLoneForest said and use more atmospheric music to enhance the experience, so it's partly designed to be background anyway.

Krist4Lyne wrote:
Depends on how much consideration I have for the album or how much I know it.
Basically, when it's about art I tend to get serious and actively try to get sucked in to feel what it's trying to tell me.

This too. I've listened to a million heavy/speed albums and don't need to pay 100% attention to enjoy another one. But something daring and new will hopefully have me listening carefully. I think this is also about how much respect we're prepared to give an album when we listen to it, and preconceptions play a large part in it.
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Benedict Donald
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2022 9:34 am 
 

I dont have a choice in the matter: when listening to music, my attention is automatically captured.

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Empyreal
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2022 9:59 am 
 

gasmask_colostomy wrote:
Empyreal wrote:
I never have a hard time paying attention to the music while also writing or reading. I play a lot of it while driving too. Pretty much always done it that way and I feel like I get the full experience just fine - it's only difficult when I'm in some situation where I get interrupted by other people in social situations or am waiting on phone calls or events or whatever to start.

Certain activities are much easier to pay attention during. Writing/working (lots of my work is making Powerpoints at the moment) lends itself fairly well to listening to music, and all the better because I do it alone at home. I guess if I read I'll do what TheLoneForest said and use more atmospheric music to enhance the experience, so it's partly designed to be background anyway.


I've heard that before about various things being more suited for writing or reading - lots of people only want instrumental or atmospheric stuff, but it usually doesn't matter to me; I can play stuff with vocals or harder stuff if that's the mood. Never really been a problem. I'm more attuned to what music is appropriate to play for the vibe of the day or season... like some things are only good for summer, others for autumn, etc.
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gasmask_colostomy
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2022 10:09 am 
 

Empyreal wrote:
I've heard that before about various things being more suited for writing or reading - lots of people only want instrumental or atmospheric stuff, but it usually doesn't matter to me; I can play stuff with vocals or harder stuff if that's the mood. Never really been a problem. I'm more attuned to what music is appropriate to play for the vibe of the day or season... like some things are only good for summer, others for autumn, etc.

For me, that's specifically for reading, because I'm a word-focused reader. I read a sentence and I read every word. Some people block extraneous stuff out much better, but I find that I'll struggle a little to separate music and words until I'm more immersed in what I'm reading. But I'll match the music to the book, and that often gives very good effects, funnily enough especially when I'm drinking wine or something at the same time. It all sort of blends into one. On the other hand, the reason I prefer atmospheric music (drone is great for this) when reading is also that it's slower, so the musical revelations are unfolding at a similar pace to the story.
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linkavitch
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2022 10:48 am 
 

I have a long commute each day and spend several hours walking or on train/subway so I have plenty of time to listen to music. If I'm just listening to music, especially with albums I haven't heard too many times, I focus more and try to pick up new things I might have missed on any previous listens. Some albums I know every second of and can tune in and out and not miss anything. Those albums I usually listen to while doing other things like reading manga or playing handheld games. With ambient music I just passively listen to it while looking out the window and watch the mountains pass. It depends on my mood in the morning/evening on what I wanna do or listen to while on the train. If I'm too exhausted I'll play something I really like and just rest and somewhat focus on it.

At home I'm more focused when playing my CDs/vinyls through my sound system than on my computer or whatever. Quality is better and I like to lay on the couch and just listen. If I'm cleaning, playing video games, or doing something with the wife or kid I don't focus as much. Though it's mostly lighter stuff when I'm around my daughter as my wife hates it when I play "loud stuff" around her. I can't listen to music when I get irritated at home though, I need silence to clear my head and think.

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BlackMetalanarchist
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2022 11:34 am 
 

I rarely do other things while listening to metal (or any music for that matter) and I even more rarely listen to single tracks at a time. I always listen to full albums all the way through to the end. Usually with headphones and always with lyrics booklet in hand (if it has one). I must pay complete attention to what’s going on musically and always feel disappointed with myself when I find myself drifting off and losing focus. That’s just how I consume music. I don’t really see the point if you’re not going to pay attention. Would you play a movie in the background without really watching it? That’s why I don’t really care for listening to music at work. I can’t pay attention to it while I’m working.

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Nocturnal_Evil
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2022 11:51 am 
 

Depends on two things: how detailed the music is and how well I know the work.

If it's a new album for me, I have to give it all my attention when I first listen to it, which is why I hate listening to new music in public or in the car.

And if it's something very technical or with a lot of dynamics, then that also warrants extra attention. When I'm in the mood for it, bands that demand active listening (a lot of technical death metal / meandering, long songs) hit the spot way more than simpler ones. There's a time and place for both.

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DanielG06
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2022 12:30 pm 
 

Like most people have said here, it depends on the genre. If it's something that is actively making me interested then I'll pay more attention to it, but if the music is predominantly passive/ambient like atmospheric black metal or funeral doom, then usually it's just something I put on in the background.
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Judas Maiden
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2022 4:43 pm 
 

Nowadays I listen to music either when I'm driving or doing something on my laptop. Gone are the days when I would just slip the cassette tape inside the deck and devote my full attention to the music. When I was listening to my LPs and doing nothing else, I found myself dozing off after a few minutes. Even if I'm listening to a brand new CD that I haven't heard before, I'll listen to it and probably surf the web on my laptop. That's regardless of the genre of the music I'm listening to.

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Lane
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2022 5:30 pm 
 

It depends...

Often I sit down and get the lyrics sheet or booklet and really dive into an album.

On the other hand, I love to listen to music, so even when I am cleaning up the flat or something, something is usually on. Of course it's more in the background then.

I do not care what the genre is, it's like that with everything.

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Thy Shrine
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2022 7:29 pm 
 

I have about the attention span of a fucking potato most of the time, so in order for me to be paying complete attention at all times it usually has to be something that's completely ingrained in my conscious, if it's something I'm not immediately extremely familiar with or a record I like enough to really wanna actually start to get it, I just do a run through and slowly piece it together until it becomes natural, but my mind does tend to wander most of the time I listen to music, i just have too much going on in my head most of the time.

Thats the general rule, but sometimes I'll really sit and focus on a record, like almost to the point where studying it instead of just listening
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LongHairIsSoFuckingCool
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2022 7:51 pm 
 

I pay more attention on weed or listening to a CD. Otherwise it needs to be hook-y for my ADHD to allow me to pay attention.
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gasmask_colostomy
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2022 4:46 am 
 

BlackMetalanarchist wrote:
I rarely do other things while listening to metal (or any music for that matter) and I even more rarely listen to single tracks at a time. I always listen to full albums all the way through to the end. Usually with headphones and always with lyrics booklet in hand (if it has one). I must pay complete attention to what’s going on musically and always feel disappointed with myself when I find myself drifting off and losing focus. That’s just how I consume music. I don’t really see the point if you’re not going to pay attention. Would you play a movie in the background without really watching it? That’s why I don’t really care for listening to music at work. I can’t pay attention to it while I’m working.

Well this is an interesting take. I used to be a lot like this for first listens especially, and I like the ritual of getting a new CD and playing it while concentrating and having the booklet in hand. Getting digital music now and listening to a lot more new stuff (let's say about 3-4 new albums a week), I can't really do that, and it has affected the way I watch movies too.

I think music and movies are different anyway, because I'm usually watching a movie with both eyes and ears, whereas music frees up my eyes for other things. Besides, I would listen to an album multiple times but very rarely watch a movie more than once. In this case, the slower-paced the movie the more comfortable I feel doing another thing at the same time.

Then again, I'm not looking to get that much out of some movies, just light entertainment, so I don't mind paying half attention. Same with some random throwback metal listens or regular genre stuff - I'm not looking to go that deep. Perhaps this is the difference between how we consume those media.
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Wrldeatr
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2022 11:53 am 
 

I pay a lot of attention, that said, I'm also always doing something else while listening. Agree that if you want to get the most out of (most) metal, paying attention pays off. And I don't even care much about the vocals and not at all about the lyrics. It's all about the music.

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Krist4Lyne
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2022 4:55 pm 
 

Wrldeatr wrote:
I pay a lot of attention, that said, I'm also always doing something else while listening. Agree that if you want to get the most out of (most) metal, paying attention pays off. And I don't even care much about the vocals and not at all about the lyrics. It's all about the music.

Anyway, who can say he understands the lyrics when he listens to, e. g., black metal ?
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LilTito
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2022 6:28 pm 
 

I just put it in the background and if it catches my attention then it means its good

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Gemini 7 Rising
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2022 7:33 pm 
 

LilTito wrote:
I just put it in the background and if it catches my attention then it means its good


That about sums it up perfectly, imo.

I have music on constantly (all day, every day) when I'm home and I'm home a lot. I'd say it's extreme metal 70% of the time, 50's-60's era Jazz 20% of the time, and then rock, pop, classical, etc. the rest of the time. I know that, for me, with "catchy" music, (pop, etc.) it's hard to focus on business, writing, etc. because those hooks and melodies just keep pulling me in and distracting me from whatever I'm trying to focus on at the moment. But metal (particularly death, black, grindcore and thrash), jazz, and classical will mostly blend into the background in a good way. And if the quality's good then it'll still sometimes catch my attention and make me smile or headband for a moment or whatever.
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Empyreal
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2022 7:50 pm 
 

gasmask_colostomy wrote:
Empyreal wrote:
I've heard that before about various things being more suited for writing or reading - lots of people only want instrumental or atmospheric stuff, but it usually doesn't matter to me; I can play stuff with vocals or harder stuff if that's the mood. Never really been a problem. I'm more attuned to what music is appropriate to play for the vibe of the day or season... like some things are only good for summer, others for autumn, etc.

For me, that's specifically for reading, because I'm a word-focused reader. I read a sentence and I read every word. Some people block extraneous stuff out much better, but I find that I'll struggle a little to separate music and words until I'm more immersed in what I'm reading. But I'll match the music to the book, and that often gives very good effects, funnily enough especially when I'm drinking wine or something at the same time. It all sort of blends into one. On the other hand, the reason I prefer atmospheric music (drone is great for this) when reading is also that it's slower, so the musical revelations are unfolding at a similar pace to the story.


Yeah - matching music to books or whatever things I'm doing works out. Places I hang out too. In a dive bar now playing Motorhead for instance.

The vocals never bother me - it's just an extra narration, adds to it all for me.
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Spiner202
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2022 9:09 pm 
 

The amount of attention I've been paying while listening to music is definitely declining over the years. On the one hand, I'm certain it's partly attributable to increasing responsibilities at the various jobs I've had (though ironically, you'd think that having less time to listen to music would result in higher quality listening when it does happen, but that's not the case!).

On the other hand, my tastes in metal seem to have narrowed and it's more and more difficult for me to get into new bands. I've pretty much written off entire subgenres (black, folk, doom, etc) after years of being willing to try newer bands. I'm even pretty picky in the subgenres I do really like these days and tend to just revisit the classics over and over again. I think the issue is related to not paying attention because even when I find something that is objectively good, I always think "how much am I really going to remember this and listen to it?", and the answer is almost always that I'll rarely revisit it unless it's by one of my favourite bands.

I don't feel burnt out on metal by any means, but I'm finding it's harder for music to keep my attention.

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Maggot penetration
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2022 1:46 pm 
 

Metal is one of the genres I usually pay attention to when listening. If I want background music then I usually put on some techno or house station

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Cabecao
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2022 12:13 am 
 

I think my problem is I buy too much music. I hear something and like it or know when something is due to be released and purchase it with the intention to dive deep into it. As I'm time poor (work, family etc) I just don't get the chance to give every album my full attention which means I may miss some really good stuff unless it grabs me immediately.
I considered slowing down on purchases and even culled my collection to some degree but Nek Minnit (Aussie slang) it hasn't worked out that way. Too many great releases this year.

To answer the thread question I try to give my full attention to the music and there are times I do but at least half of it is digested doing other activities (driving to work, exercise, drifting off to sleep).

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gasmask_colostomy
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2022 1:48 am 
 

Cabecao wrote:
I think my problem is I buy too much music. I hear something and like it or know when something is due to be released and purchase it with the intention to dive deep into it. As I'm time poor (work, family etc) I just don't get the chance to give every album my full attention which means I may miss some really good stuff unless it grabs me immediately.
I considered slowing down on purchases and even culled my collection to some degree but Nek Minnit (Aussie slang) it hasn't worked out that way. Too many great releases this year.

To answer the thread question I try to give my full attention to the music and there are times I do but at least half of it is digested doing other activities (driving to work, exercise, drifting off to sleep).

Yep, I think I have that problem too. Sometimes I'm just listening to music to "filter" things I'll hang onto (such as choosing promos to review), and I didn't really have that issue back when I just went to the record store at the weekend and bought a CD if I had money. Now time poor, money rich, haha.

Funnily enough, since I made this thread I find I've listened a bit deeper to music and not just taken it for granted. Actually stopped what I was doing to concentrate on a whole System Of A Down album at the weekend, and that is one that's pretty well-known to me.
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Ill-Starred Son
Metalhead

Joined: Fri Apr 15, 2011 8:10 pm
Posts: 1294
Location: United States
PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2022 5:03 pm 
 

These days I'm usually working out, driving or preparing my dinner while listening to metal (or any music for that matter), so I pay a lot of attention, but not like when I was young and read all the lyrics and just lay there absorbing everything, reading the entire insert front to back, etc.

I mean at this point my cd collection is in the the thousands so it's hard to look at everything, and on top of that so many downloads, but i do always make sure to read any band history inside inserts of cds or vinyl, but I don't read all the lyrics. It was so much easier when I had fewer cds and was new to music.

At times I realize how many bands I'm not fully appreciating as much because I'm not reading the lyrics which can often be very good, and of course since I listen to so much extreme metal a lot of the time i can't make them out without reading them, so I realize I must be missing out on a lot of the nuances that a lot of bands have to offer because knowing the lyrics can really change things and increase appreciation.

I don't think I need to read all the lyrics, but I would like to get myself to occasionally do so, and I should kick back and just listen more often rather than be doing something else at the same time, because some music just isn't made for being active. Like I'm starting to get into other kinds of music like kraut rock, and some of that stuff is really more chill and you're more meant to be relaxing and taking in the entire experience of the album. Some of it doesn't go well with weight lifting, which is what I'm most often doing while listening, but I still pay plenty of attention.

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