listen to music.

15 Sep

On my way to work, I usually listen to news on the radio.  It’s a quick way for me to get the basics of the world on my 15 minute commute. Remember, Grown Men know the news.  However, my news station of choice has been raking me over the coals of guilt and shame this week during their twice a year pledge drive (though I’m starting to suspect it’s MUCH more often than that).  Some well meaning woman whom I’m totally sure is wearing a dog-hair cardigan and sensible khakis is softly berating me with statements like, “We provide quality news and entertainment to you year round – all we’re asking is for you to provide for us once a year. Is that too much to ask?”  Oh geez, I get it, I get it, I’ll give you my 20 bucks — just bring back your soothing and gentle presentation of the economic meltdown and multiple wars!

So, I’ve done what any good NPR listener would do this time of year and plugged in the iPod.  And yesterday, I found myself doing something very un-Morning Edition.  Instead of quietly driving, considering, and reflecting — I sang.  Oh heck yeah, I sang!  It was ugly and comical to those who caught a glimpse of me in the rear-view mirror but man, it felt great.  And the reason it felt great was because music is important and something that Grown Men tend to enjoy less and less of as they become older and more “mature.”

The truth is, music is primal.  We know this by looking at babies.  For example, take your average little fella who’s just learning how to stand.  I guarantee you that a majority of the time, when you turn on Single Ladies or some other classic but terrible dance song, that chap is going to start bouncing.  Then, if the song is particularly, wonderfully, bad (Telephone by Lady Gaga), he’s going to start smiling, clapping, and having a heck of a time.  Does he know the complexities of the lyrics (“Just a second, it’s my favorite song they gonna play. And I cannot text you with a drink in my hand, eh?”)?  No, he has no idea what’s being said.  Does he enjoy the bold vocal arrangements and unique instrumentation found in modern… whatever. No.  All he knows is that this noise makes him feel good and he’s gotta dance his Pampers off.

Grown Men, you’ve got to put down the talk radio and listen to music more often.  Because music, even crappy music that you’re embarrassed to tell people you like (Madonna: The  Immaculate Collection) is one of the great forms of enjoyment we get in this life.  And, in our adult lives, we need as many outlets for pure, non goal oriented, relatively pointless happiness that we can find. The problem is, we get old (or at least, we think we get old) and those purely enjoyable activities get replaced with kinda fun, but sorta purposeful, but “it’s not that bad”, but “a little boring” acts — like email and catching up on the Tivo. 

Listening to music is one of the disciplines of our lives that must be practiced to keep us grounded, creative, peaceful, and well-rounded men.   Taking five minutes to lean back in a comfortable chair with The Beatles is probably more helpful than one more email, one more episode of Entourage, or another call returned.  Even if it’s a crappy artist that only you like (Creed), the fact that you enjoy it and can create space to partake in it is critical for your overall balance.

You’re a Grown Man, listen to music.

One more thing, please don’t assail me in the comments because I listen to NPR. Their political agenda is unimportant to me and they don’t yell, which is key at 8am.

9 Responses to “listen to music.”

  1. mikejmurray 15 September 2010 at 7:45 am #

    Agreed, my good man. Agreed!

  2. Heather 15 September 2010 at 1:42 pm #

    As a musician and aspiring anthropologist, this entry resonated very well with me. And, although I doubt you care to know, one reason that humans enjoy music is due to the fact that the beats mimic and resemble those soothing sounds and rhythms we enjoyed as babies being cared for by their mothers; heartbeats, footsteps, etc. You feel happy and satisfied when these rhythms are recreated because, as an infant, it meant warmth, food and safety.

    There’s your intellectual tidbit for the day. Thanks for writing.

  3. mct88 15 September 2010 at 6:33 pm #

    Yes, I listen to news on my way to work but on the way home-MUSIC all the way!

    At times I listen to NPR, lol.

  4. Dare Right 15 September 2010 at 6:49 pm #

    I couldn’t agree with you more, GM! I’ve been telling my mom to listen to music more often for a while now.

  5. Exhausdad 17 September 2010 at 12:39 pm #

    Nice post! I’m always on Pandora on my lunch breaks and in the car. A nice reminder to maintain a balanced life.

  6. mc6pack 17 September 2010 at 5:26 pm #

    Just found Grown Man by #FF Tweet (didn’t know what that meant until I Binged it). Awesome post. Days with music are better, agreed.

    Admittedly, I do listen to NPR, though, and I hear you on the shaming they passively inflict twice a year; it’s like Guilt Lite. On a slight tangent, one of the greatest movie quotes of all-time is Tim Robbins in Anchorman saying, “Public News Team is taking a break from its pledge drive to kick some ass,” as his crew enters the Gangs-of-New-York type fray. I’m laughing just thinking about it.

    Funny stuff, I’ll be back.

    “Some Species Eat Their Young” (shameless plug)

  7. lookingforsomethingtofind 20 September 2010 at 4:28 am #

    Agreed, although I am sure you should encourage bad music, the more attention you give it, the more of there it is, lol. As a fellow NPR fan, I too hate the pledge drive, also made me think of this old SNL skit for some reason.

  8. Strick 1 October 2010 at 7:57 pm #

    You are so right, screw everything and just dance men!

  9. Someone 14 June 2011 at 9:28 pm #

    You’re a grown man, pledge a few stinking bucks to NPR for crissakes!

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