I was in a Speech class and on my first speech I talked about how much I love music and how much it means to me. In the speech I believe I said that “everybody” loves music, and the feedback from some of the other students really surprised me. Lots of people said they only casually listen to music, some even said they don’t like music at all.
This threw me because all of my life Music has been a key player. My family was big on music, and later in my adult life I bonded with so many friends over Music. The idea that not everyone felt the same way was really shocking to me. It made me feel more special about my love affair with Music, but it also made me question others. Questions like, under what circumstances do they like music? What do they listen to music for when they do listen? And how do they listen to music when it’s on? What do they pay attention to when Music is on? And what might keep them coming back to a favorite song or album?
When I hear a song for the first time, there are some things I pay attention to and listen for. Here it goes.
1) At first listen I pay attention to the overall arrangement, making sure the melodies and harmonies fit with the production and the vocals. Lyrics aren’t necessarily the first thing I zone into – unless it’s a Singer/Songwriter type track where the words are purposely the main focus.
When listening to different genres I focus on different things. For instance, for R&B I’m listening to see if the track and melody fits – if not I’m almost always automatically turned off. R&B vocals have to be somewhat interesting for me too, unique and creative runs and phrasing will hook me. With Hip Hop I’m just listening to the track, as well the hook and how it fits. For Pop and Rock I pretty much listen to the complete production and see if it’s something I can get into.
2) What brings me back to a song is normally something very addictive, either a catchy hook or an addictive melody. It has to be something that will stick in your head and pop up at random times in the day, like an alarm reminding you to go and listen to that song.
Recently, Maroon 5’s “Maps” had that catchy quality in the hook (“the map that leads to Yoooou”). Also Ty Dolla Sign’s “Or Nah” and the melody on the hook (“is you really bout your money or nah”). Those are things that run through my head and make me want to download and listen.
3) I guess finally, a song has to go somewhere. Either the track has to have different variations, or the vocals have to be really creative. Otherwise it’s just a dull song to me, unless of course there’s ONE part that I can’t live without. Black Eyed Peas for instance (and this is retarded), that song “Just Can’t Get Enough” is terribly dull to me even when they switch up the tempo at the very end. What gets me though, “this is mega switch up… SWITCH UP”. I love that part, hence I still have that song on my iTunes.
So now that I gave you a half-assed summary of my Music listening style. What is YOURS?