How Listening to Music with Other People Changes Your Perceptions

Ooof, long time no post!

Back to our regularly scheduled programming, though. Today’s post is all about what happens when you listen to music with other people. It’s an interesting phenomenon: kind of like when you’re wearing a new outfit and become very self-conscious about it. You wonder if everyone else feels that same nervous excitement you do.

I’ve put on my favorite artists for other people and every time, it’s an out-of-body experience. For example, I shared The White Stripes with my sister a few years ago and it was like listening to them for the first time. I heard “Forever For Her (Is Over For Me)” with new weight. The tinkly, music-box beat seemed more significant when contrasted with Megan White’s metronome-style drumming. I also heard the song’s lyrics in a new way: it was just as much of a mournful tune as before, but now the song seemed to tell a story. I wondered who the “Her” of the title was. (I’m not inclined towards gossip-mag speculation: I think that knowing, or at least guessing too much, can almost ruin the mystery and magic of a song.)

What’s even better is when the people you’re sharing a song or artist with end up loving what you shared! That’s the communal joy of music, and why I did radio in college. (It’s also why I’m writing this blog, as intermittently as that is. Whoops.)

Sharing music brings new perspectives to an existing conversation. I’m eager to hear yours! When did you share a song, a band – even a genre? Who did you share it with, and why? Did it go well?

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