Repeat or Complete

I’ve found there are two approaches to listening to a recording for the first time.

  1. Repeat. Begin listening, and as soon as you find something that resonates, repeat as often as necessary to feel fulfilled. For a really great album, it might take them weeks to get past the first three songs.
  2. Complete. Start at the beginning, and listen straight through to the end, ideally in one go. Gather contextual clues, then restart and listen again with the whole in mind. Repeats might come after several listens.

Which approach do you use? Have you tried the other?

I’m firmly in the second camp, but my wife is just as firmly in the first, so we’ve both experienced each approach. I think I prefer #2 because I mistrust my first impressions and need time to absorb the whole thing. Mandy’s taste is so consistently good that she can find the best thing on an album in minutes.

There is value in each way of listening; if you lean heavily to one side, maybe it’s time to try the other.