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5 Reasons to Listen to Full Albums

5 Reasons to Listen to Full Albums

You probably have a pretentious friend who always listens to albums in their entirety and avoids singles like the plague. Hell, maybe you ARE that pretentious friend – I know I am. But on behalf of music-addled dorks the world over I thought I’d do an article listing five reasons why it’s better to listen to albums in their entirety rather than just a playlist of singles from artists you like. Sure, it may not give you the sense of immediate gratification but in the long run you will learn to appreciate albums.

1. You discover deep cuts

This is the most obvious reason to listen to full albums – and yet one that is often severely underrated. For the uninitiated a “deep cut” is a track that appears deep within the record. In the days when vinyl was king, the singles would often fall at the beginning of a side and thus as the needle moved closer towards the center of the vinyl, you’d find yourself listening to deeper tracks. The point being – a lot of these tracks would end up getting ignored by the general public, and yet sometimes they were the best songs on the record.

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For me the love of deep cuts began early, when I was 12 years old and listening to Black Sabbath constantly. I was enamored with songs like Hand of Doom and Killing Yourself to Live, both tracks that fell right in the middle of their respective records. These tracks have become some of my favorite of all time and are a huge part of what makes those records so gosh darned enjoyable, even now, seven years into my Black Sabbath worship. These tracks are a key part of the listening experience and allow you to truly immerse yourself in an artist you love – which leads nicely to our next point.

2. You get a broader sense of the artists intention

This has always been a big one for me – and it might just be the result of years as a music writer. The point being – few things are as exciting to me as really digging into the mind of one of my favorite musicians. While interviewing a band is a great way to do that – it’s sometimes just as effective to go in and simply listen. There is a lost art of spending time with the music and reveling in the art. There is a very real poetry to the flow of an album like Pet Sounds, it’s just a matter of giving yourself the time to dig into it.

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As you find yourself more deeply immersed ino the music you start to get a feel for what the artist was really trying to say with a specific record. For example – if you only know the two big songs from Led Zeppelin III, that is to say Immigrant Song and Tangerine you probably would never be able to get a better grasp of the folk side of Led Zeppelin – which in turn detracts from your appreciation of other Led Zeppelin mega-hits like Over the Hills and Far Away, or of course Stairway to Heaven. I’m not saying a deeper understanding of those songs is not possible just by treating them as confined entities – but I will say it is a damn sight harder.

3.It leads to a deeper connection with the artist

As someone who makes their living as “that guy who loves music” I always find it frustrating when somebody says “Oh I really like that band” and then admit to having never have listened to a full record by the artist. We touched on this in the previous point – but getting a sense for the artists intention is only the beginning. Getting a deeper connection with the artist is for many the true goal of listening to full albums.

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For most of us, becoming friends with our favorite artists is an impossibility – and yet we desperately want to have a connection with them. And after all – interviews can only take you so far into the artist’s head. The point I’m trying to make is that by listening to whole albums you start to get a sense for what makes an artist tick, their passions, their lost loves, and their forgotten dreams – and this is where you get into a true love for the music, a love that might even rival that of your pretentious friend.

4. Music makes more sense as an entity

This one might be hard for some people to believe, but I assure you, even for non-musicians, listening to records from front to back helps to unveil the true power of the art form. It allows you to get a better sense for how a lot of artists construct their records. Mike Scheidt from Yob, Rolling Stone Magazine’s favorite metal band of 2014 once said to me, “I write albums in movements”. This was of course referring to classical period musicians, but here’s the thing – a lot of musicians do that, and the way albums flow hasn’t changed much from Beethoven’s 200 year-old symphonies.

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As you start to get a sense for this, and some of the other moments of ebb and flow that help to make entire albums so attractive you start to get a better sensibility for what’s rad and what isn’t. As your taste for music develops, so does your overall understanding of the art form and that makes the entire experience more rewarding. If that isn’t enough of a motivation to listen to full albums, then I don’t know what is.

5. Your own music gets better

If you got this far into the article you’re probably a musician of some sort, which is awesome! I mentioned earlier in this article that a lot of musicians tend to listen to full albums rather than just the singles and the reason for that is simple. The thing is – when music starts to make more sense as a creation in and of itself it gives you a stronger idea of how to compose and set up music in a meaningful way. As your knowledge and the depth of your understanding of your heroes grows, your ability to create work that truly matters to people will only expand with it.

Becoming a talented musician is one of the greatest things you can do simply for your own personal development, and engaging with that on a high level, as one does by listening to full albums only allows you to grow more. The deeper your understanding of the purifying artistry of music becomes the easier it becomes to honor the inherent magic of the art form. If you just listen to singles it’s a lot harder to come to these sorts of conclusions. As Frank Zappa once said “Music is the best” and I feel the deeper you delve the more this truth becomes self evident.

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Last Updated on February 21, 2019

12 Best Brain Foods That Improve Memory and Boost Brain Power

12 Best Brain Foods That Improve Memory and Boost Brain Power

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate:

15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

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B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

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It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and black tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here:

11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

More Resources About Boosting Brain Power

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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