My ears are beginning to recognize the rhythms of what they hear.
Pop. Rock. Rap. Reggae. R&B. Blues. Jazz. Classical. Country. Folk. Show tunes. Opera. Hip-Hop. Heavy metal. Dance. Disco. Electronic. Elevator. And even spa.
I think I slept through a little of the latter, but it was a deep and relaxing and rewarding sleep.
Recently, I’ve become a listener of a lot of different kinds of music. And I’ve found out that I like—maybe not love—all of them. Each music genre has its own place in my life, at least for the duration of the time I listen to satellite radio each day.
While I’ve subscribed to satellite radio for a number of years, I confess my listening time has been spent grazing news and sports talk networks. Sometimes, I’d switch to public radio, and a few times, I’d tune into comedy channels. Music was an infrequent sound in the constant chatter that surrounded me.
When the coronavirus pandemic sent us home, I made a thoughtful choice to change that radio listening routine to one with an ever-changing beat instead of the same repeated bullet points of information.
I would listen—for at least a little while, and longer if I liked—to each of the music channels satellite radio had to offer me.
OK, I tarried the least on the electronic music channels. It’s not my style. Conversely, channels devoted to such artists as The Beatles, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Presley and Jimmy Buffett captured an inordinate amount of my attention. Indeed, Buffett’s “Radio Margaritaville” occupied an entire sunny afternoon of my pandemic-induced isolation. The music I heard there sounded like summer. We seem to need summer these days.
I kept to no chronological pattern of music appreciation. I didn’t start with the current songs of “SiriusXM Hits 1” and dial through the channel numbers until I hit the children’s music on “Radio Disney.” Instead, I skipped around in a random pattern that fit the mood of my day at home or the pace of the errands I was running in my vehicle.
So, Garth Brooks might follow Tom Petty and “Willie’s Roadhouse” in a compatible music session. Or, when a music theme didn’t seem to matter to me, “Heart & Soul” or “Soul Town” could be mixed with reggae on “The Joint,” heavy metal on “Liquid Metal,” mellow rock on “The Bridge” or acoustic styles on “The Coffee House.”
After a session of listening to the trending favorites on “Pandora Now,” during which I recognized few of the artists’ names or musical work, I did attempt to bring myself up to date by tracing the decades on channels listed as “’50s on 5” through “’90s on 9.” The ’50s, ’60s and ’70s music was both nostalgic and entertaining to me. “Shake, Rattle and Roll” as you “Play That Funky Music” and it will set the mood. The music from the ’80s and ’90s—though I remember now that I did like the BeeGees and Bon Jovi—was less familiar and more educational.
What did I learn about myself from this musical exercise?
I found that I prefer “Classic Vinyl” music to that considered “Classic Rewind.” It’s the difference between Creedance Clearwater Revival and Aerosmith.
After tuning in to a countdown of the “Top 300” songs during which the disc jockey already was getting pretty excited about the quality of No. 282, it dawned on me that, even when I’m housebound and trying to appreciate music, I don’t have the listening stamina to make it anywhere near the exciting revelation of the top 10.
By listening to “’40s Junction” and “Siriusly Sinatra,” I recalled how I’ve always had a feeling that I was born a decade or so too late.
During pleasant periods devoted to religious radio channels, I got reminded that even as we go through such trying times as the present, we aren’t listening to radio alone as we travel around town looking for hand sanitizer and toilet paper.
And, reassuringly, I discovered that there isn’t really any bad music. Some music, I learned, just slides into my ears more easily. Still, even during songs that you might not expect an elderly listener such as myself to enjoy, the head on which those ears were listening still was moving a bit to the beat.
Which is why a temporary experiment of exploring all those satellite radio music channels probably will become an ongoing source of enjoyment.
I found I missed music. It sets a mood that provides the kind of soothing or inspiring background to life that sports debates and political arguments cannot duplicate. I hardly ever nod my head, pat my knee or tap a toe to the beat of the headline news.