Listening to a song over and over again

“Feeling my way through the darkness, guided by a beating heart. I can’t tell where the journey will end but I know where to start. They tell me I’m too young to understand, they say I’m caught up in a dream. Life will pass me by if I don’t open up my eyes, well that’s fine by me. So wake me up when it’s all over, when I’m wiser and I’m older. All this time I was finding myself, I didn’t know I was lost”

…are the opening lyrics from Wake Me Up by Avicii, a song I just can’t stop playing. I haven’t been able to stop playing it for a couple of months now and I haven’t tired of it at all.

Do you ever get that? Is there a song you play on repeat over and over and over and over and over again, and for some reason it doesn’t bother you? It’s like you need to listen to it, you want to listen to it. Yes there are songs out there, albums and even films you can over do but there are some things in life that just mean something to you, and you don’t know how to explain it.

I don’t know why I like this song so much. I don’t think it’s even the lyrics because that would just be cliched. I just genuinely can’t stop playing it.

I know the song inside out and it’s come to the point where I don’t acknowledge the lyrics anymore, or what they mean. I just feel comforted listening to it. Even at work when the radio’s on, people are on their phone, the guy next to you has his earphones in and his music is louder than the radio, someone’s tapping their pen or ruffling through papers, I just stick this song on in my earphones and submerge myself in my own world, oblivious to the chaos around me.

I have the same thing with the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I get lost in them and can watch them all day every day if I could. If I need to write something up or have to concentrate on something, I put one of the films on in the background and it calms me down and allows me to concentrate.

88144645_9c88425902_oI know I’m not the only one…when we were younger my sister was obsessed with Gareth Gates’ debut single Unchained Melody. Now that I couldn’t understand, and even though it’s a name and shame moment, I still don’t judge because there must’ve been a reason behind her obsession with it.

I don’t necessarily think that there’s something unhealthy about having a song or album on repeat, it must mean something.

According to a study in the Journal of Consumer Research, lots of people repeat past experiences to purposely ‘ignite’ their emotions. The results from the study found the underlying reasons for the ’emotional re-living’ through repeated actions were generally to enhance the emotional awareness, pleasure and increase the self-knowledge of the person.

An example of this is that listening to a song over and over again (emotional re-living) may be a way for some people to alleviate their inner negative feelings. The study also suggested that the song repetition can help erase the feeling of ‘bitter’ from a bittersweet relationship by repeatedly remembering the ‘sweet’ memories associated with the song.

4318043229_4d21c5f825_bWhen some people listen to love songs repeatedly, they’re not necessarily listening to the song itself but wanting more to experience the feeling from which the song gives them. Music offers such a diverse range of feelings it’s crazy and exhausting just trying to imagine it all.

This repeated behavioral tendency doesn’t just stop at listening to a song on repeat, it can be applied to re-reading a book, watching a specific movie numerous times or visiting a place again, etc.

Sometimes music reminds you of a certain place, a time in your life, and people you’re with. Sometimes it’s a joy to listen to the music and relive that time you had. Sometimes it’s heartbreaking. When I hear the opening bars of The Old Man by The Fureys I’m overcome with pain and also love because it reminds me of my dad. That song is definitely a song I don’t play on repeat.

Sometimes choosing to do something again is about reaching for a sure thing – the brain knows the exact kind of reward or punishment that it will receive in the end, whether it is laughter, excitement, relaxation or heartbreak.
Thing is though, I don’t remember Avicii’s song first being played around a traumatic or relatively happy time. I can’t even remember when I first heard it, I just remember always playing it. And I love it. Another song that has a similar effect on me is Skinny Love by Birdy.

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5 responses to “Listening to a song over and over again

  1. Emotional re-living is definitely something I’m guilty of. Sometimes I hate the nostalgic feeling that it gives me, but sometimes it’s enough to pull me out of a bad mood or put a smile on my face. I think it’s a really important thing to do, even if the memories associated with the music are sad. It helps you to process.

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