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Play It Again, Sam. And Again. And Again.

5 December 2008


So I am in a rather esoteric debate with my husband about the nature of music. He read an article recently recalling a study stating that when one listens to a piece of music that they totally groove to, endorphins are released. However, with repetition of said tune, the endorphins subside.

Excited to relay this information to me as I always have a new favorite song that I listen to without pause until I sicken of it and move on, we discussed the matter at length during a recent road trip.

Certain songs speak to me. I want to own them. This can only happen through perpetual play. I cannot help this habit. If I like something, and I have the power to bring joy into my little world, how can I resist?

So here’s my argument against this so called “scientific study.” Because I listen to songs repetitively yet finitely, those particular songs become a part of my living history. They denote a place in time, a feeling, a person, a series of events that occurred during the time in which a particular song served as soundtrack.

Despite my decrease in endorphins leading to a song’s eventual discontinuation, the endorphins increase exponentially when hearing this song much later as the memory it brings back is vivid and sentimental.

This is why I disagree with him and will continue to listen to songs on repeat. Currently it is Furr, by Blitzen Trapper (a Portland band!). I saw them in concert last night at the Wonder Ballroom. I love it. The soundtrack of my life. Right. Now.



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  1. December 5, 2008

    i do the same thing! i’ll listen to one song on repeat until i can no longer really even hear it. then, on to the next one, etc. but, when i come back to it again, my love starts all over. not sure if that helps your case with hubby?i do take it one step further, though. i almost always imagine myself singing with the band either with or without some instrument i don’t know how to play ;). i’m pretty good, too!right now, i love this pop song from the irish band, the script – before the worst. for the song you mentioned, i would definitely be playing the harmonica!sorry to ramble …

  2. December 5, 2008

    just listened to Furr… lovin’ it!

  3. December 6, 2008

    I am the same way–in fact, that is how I finish my paintings! I listen to one song on repeat until it’s all done. I love the action pose in your new painting 🙂

  4. December 7, 2008

    I do the same thing but for me it is usually an artist's entire array of music that I end up drawn to and that love affair can last for years on end depending how many discs they have available and when I "discover" them. Right now I am starting my affair with the Foo Fighters and it doesn't even bother me that I am REALLY late jumping on that train lol. The time & place thing is further enhanced by smells and foods in my world so I might hear a song and then think of a great meal we had and who with or vice versa.

  5. December 8, 2008

    i agree with YOU (not your husband!) The last album that i listened to over and over and over was beirut. (thanks for sharing) It will always remind me of my pre-wedding planning and that whole beautiful time in my life. I’m sorry that i missed blitzen trapper, but i heard it was a good time.

  6. December 11, 2008

    this is so interesting! I always replay songs that speak to me. However, if it’s the radio that overplays them I could see the point. BUT if you replay them at will, it will never get old!

  7. December 12, 2008

    That is very interesting and I’m sure it makes sense for songs that you enjoy (I can think of several CDs that fit in the listen forever category).But today I blogged about those songs that Play It Again Sam without your permission–songs you can’t stand. What is the opposite of endorphins?;-)

  8. March 5, 2009

    Yes, I totally agree. My friends think I’m a music snob for saying things like this (it might be true) but you’re sooo right. Music does become engrained in your history and your soul. By the way, love Blitzen Trapper. Lastly, I can’t say it enough, I adore your work.Cheers from Milwaukee!Michelle

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