I listen to music on my MP3 player as I travel to and from work every day. The music helps me to drown out the other passenger’s annoying one-sided mobile phone conversations and the tired, brief encounter flirting that seems to occur from time to time just over my shoulder (line actually heard on the tram last year - Yeah, I try to get to India at least twice a year. I just find it so… spiritual). I catch the tram near the start of the route during both the morning and evening legs of my trip so I normally get a seat and while I usually read a book, I’ll occasionally just listen to the music while watching the traffic flow by.
I set up my playlist for the rest of my day on the walk from home to the train station. I pick a handful of albums and then slot individual songs between them. I find this stops the different albums from melding into one. ‘A Rush of Blood to the Head’ or the new Arctic Monkeys are one great song after another but something like ‘the Bends’ or Beck’s ‘Odelay’ just have that little bit extra because of the way that the songs play off one another and combine so well in the particular order they were put into; you get an experience rather than a collection of music. So that’s why I like to an album from start to finish, I’ve even been known to walk slowly from the tram stop to work in an attempt to give the album a chance to finish.
Like I said, I divide it all up with singles. I just thumb through the songs until I come across something I haven’t listened to for a while. Today I was scrolling through by artist and I came across Norwegian synth sensations a-ha. So I threw them in between ‘Liquid Skin’ and ‘The Three E.P.’s’ and went on my way to work. As Gomez faded out I suddenly got a couple of strong chords and the song ‘The Living Daylights’ came over my headphones. This completely threw me as I was expecting ‘Take on Me’ and not the theme from one of the worst Bond films. It was like I had fallen through the cracks into an alternate universe and the rest of the day was just slightly off, like when you miss one of the belt loops on your jeans; I couldn’t tell what was wrong but something definitely wasn’t right.