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The Repeat Binge

There are times where one song hits you like a battleaxe. You interrupt your daily work just so you can hear the sweet tune over and over again. Thanks to iTunes, you can hear the song over and over again with the clever little repeat button. You hit it once, it repeats the whole album. You hit it twice and you repeat the one song. How lucky for music addicts to have this button. Of course, it’s not the first time anyone has seen this button. They’re on iPods, CD players, and mp3 players. Hey, I even think I have the button on my car stereo. What I’m getting at here is that one song can change your whole perspective on life and when you’ve got the repeat button, it’s on. 

There’s nothing special, the song that is. Probably a cute little tune with acoustic guitars, some drums and a heartfelt lyrical catchphrase repeated over and over again. Repeat just seems to come up more than once. It’s not just the convenience of repeat, but the lyrics, the vocals, and the music repeats. I find myself repeating songs on more than one occasion. It has become an addiction rather than a way to enjoy a good song. Lately, my song of choice is James Blunt’s “Wisemen.” The song actually doesn’t make any sense, but I like it. It might be the lyric “look who’s alone now / it’s not me / It’s not me,” as though Mr. Blunt is trying to convince himself that he’s got a better life. Maybe he’s trying to convince his audience that he’s got the better life. Maybe it’s that mysterious girl that every male singer talks about. 

Unfortunately in this case, I don’t think this is the case. I think it comes down to a little thing I like to call “the repeat binge.” The phenomenon can only be described as the direct result of months without anything good to listen to. You tire of everything on your computer, your CD collection is not up to date, and you’ve been searching the radio for that one tune. Then there it is; on some trailer for a movie, or on the radio but you only catch the last five seconds of the song. Once you reach a computer, you look up whatever lyric you remember on Google. Nothing. You go to iTunes and put in possible title names. Nothing. You ask your close friends, relatives, neighbor’s best friend who works in the music industry. Nothing.

Hopefully, the song will have some identifiable voice. You will hear it and instantaneously know who it is. Unless you’re listening to another band who doesn’t claim to sound like Joy Division, you will probably figure it out. And once you figure it out, it is like finding the Holy Grail, or purchasing some ridiculously priced pair of shoes on discount; twenty percent off with an additional fifteen percent off of that. 

What really scares me about this binge is that I don’t know how it starts. I’ve asked friends, co-workers, and interns. It’s just a constant beat that plays in your head. You want out so you find the only solution to get rid of it is to listen to it again. But then you end up listening to it another five or six times. My friend Keith just recently introduced me to this song by Kate Bush. I have had a repeat binge of Kate Bush before. It was with that song from the movie She’s Having a Baby. Yeah, you know what I’m talking about. The scene when she’s actually having the baby and Kevin Bacon started to break down and cry. Anyway, it’s not “this woman’s work” again. Instead, it’s “Running Up the Hill.” The soothing sound of the synthesizer keyboard reassures me that Bush’s voice will soon arise. A day without her voice is like being strung out. You play the song in your head, but you can’t get it right. You wait until young get home, but before you do you press play one more time on your office computer. You just can’t stop.And like a friend, I heard Keith’s thoughts on the song. “You need to hear her voice.” Suddenly, after one listen through of the song, I have to hear it for another good hour. I don’t have the song so I end up going to Keith’s myspace and pushing the play button over and over. This is a situation where there is a lack of a repeat button. You end up pressing the back button, or play again and again. Kate Bush has become my new drug of choice. While everyone is snorting lines of coke in the bathroom, I’ll be listening to Kate Bush on repeat. Actually, I’m listening to Kate Bush right now. Let me take a moment to press play again…

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