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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 December 2, 2019

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

“Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

6. Give for the Joy of Giving

When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

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Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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