Cafe Witness

Friday, May 11, 2007

The Problem with Redundancy

I'm sitting in the Crazy Mocha in the South Side Works. The barista this evening (whose name escapes me) is playing her collection of Beatles music on the PA system.

This barista ALWAYS plays the Beatles on the PA system.

Other baristas have their favorite musicians too. One plays Stevie Nicks and the Black-Eyed Peas often. Another used to play the most recent Fiona Apple every shift, without fail.

My question: what's the benefit in listening to the same music SO OFTEN?

I understand having a comfort zone. I also understand wanting to share your personal choices with the public.

But where's the value in logging, literally, HUNDREDS of hours listening to the same -- and, frequently, decades-old -- music?

This is the same question I ask of people who have classic rock stations bookmarked on their radio dials. Have you NOT heard Dark Side of the Moon enough in your lifetime? Do you have any idea how much new information you're NOT taking in as a result?

I also find certain music (like all art) elicits a specific response in me, which can help with brainstorming, motivation and mood control -- but only for so long. The more I listen to the same music, the less of an impact it has on me.

If we overplay it, the magic is gone. And what are we doing then but listening to familiar noises?

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