I am susceptible to easy obsession. I can't just like something a little bit, whether it be a pet, a food, a band, a pair of shoes. There is no grey area for me. I either don't like it, or I really like it way too much and it is probably not healthy. This frantic obsessive behavior can be good (in the case of budgeting, doing schoolwork, getting to work on time, etc.) or very, very bad (too much coconut yogurt, paranoia over the health of my dog, pretty much every boy I liked between the ages of 11 and 20: button boy, indie bitch boy, and the list goes on).
For a very long time, I was like this about all music. There are very few musicians and bands that I had a casual listening relationship with. It is all or nothing. The biggest offenders, in order of memory: Oasis, Bush, MxPx, Less Than Jake, MTX, The Plus Ones, Hefner, The Smiths, Morrissey. It kinda stopped after Moz, because I stopped listening to music. Really, I did. It was a weird period in my life where I stopped having friends, worked too many hours, felt out of place, and listening to music just gave me feelings. Too many feelings, so many deep feelings. The last album I really got into was Morrissey's You Are The Quarry. I listened to this nonstop for a few months on the cusp of breaking up with music. One day I decided I hated the album, and that every song on it was shit*, I could never listen to it again, I hated all music, and the only album I have bought since then is the Sufjan Stevens Christmas compilation. One album in almost nine years is a pretty bad track record.
Something else that happened during those nine years is that I stopped commuting. When I was nannying all around LA and the Valley and Westwood I sometimes had to drive 28 miles to get to work. 28 Los Angeles miles is about the equivalent to 100 anywhere else miles. And because I started to hate music, I would either listen to the Beatles (no hate for George) or NPR. Then I stopped commuting, started walking to work, and stopped going to shows and clubs, so I had no idea what was popular, new, big, old, dying, dead, touring. I didn't even find out about Lady Gaga until like late 2010. That is how out of the loop I am now. I'm OK with it, but sometimes when I am at the gym, a new song starts blasting and some 24 year old screeches THIS WAS MY JAM SOPHOMORE YEAR, I feel like it is strange that I have no idea what band is playing or even what genre the music is considered. I know that I am old when I think this just sounds like noise.
When I started taking classes at community college, I had a long commute again. My husband, in his quest for perfectly clear iPod reception, took the antenna off of our car so that it would pick up his iPod connector radio signals better. While that was totally great for him, it meant I could only get the big stations on my drives, so no more NPR. Also, I am too lazy to screw the antenna back on each time. So now, I would listen to KROQ, and JACK. Two horrible stations, but I will credit them for getting me to listen to music again, if only because I was so sick of hearing that Lisztomania song over and over, so I finally put some music onto my newfangled iPhone.
It has been a few years since I started liking music again, but now that I can actually listen to a whole album without wanting to puke, I am discovering that music is prohibitively expensive for me. While I wish I had the disposable income to drop $20 on an album every week, I would much rather use my spending money on a fancy sweater, a new pair of CrossFit shoes, or travel. I feel like a horrible person downloading music for free, and the guilt quickly consumes me, so I just don't do it. I tried Spotify but the "spotty" reception bugged me, and after my free six months of premium ran out, I chose not to renew. I guess I could stop hoarding iTunes gift cards and start spending them on songs, but really, if I am going to pay good money (plastic gift card or not) on music then I want a pretty album that I can hold in my hands and read liner notes and store it in one of the little slots of the record case that my grandfather built. So I am basically musically stuck. At this point I am this close to sitting all day with a cassette tape and trying to record songs I like off of the radio, like we did in the 90s.
*I still think this album is complete shit, although I am sure many would disagree. The albums that came later are even worse.