It's official: I can't listen to new music in the car.
Last summer a friend painstakingly crafted a Gomez mix CD. I put it on in the car on my way home, and just didn't like it that much. I tossed it into a pile of stuff when I got home, and promptly forgot about it until she asked me about it a few months later. I tried to give it another listen, but that didn't go so hot either . . . until I brought it into the office with me and put it on while I was working. It kind of grew on me then, and it turns out I like them. Not as much as she does, but who could, really. I didn't realize that I knew the songs almost by heart until the other week when I put in the soundtrack to Catch and Release, set it to shuffle, and started humming along when "These 3 Sins" came up. Surprise! It's by Gomez!
A few posts ago I mentioned listening to the new Shins album. That was another thing I tried listening to in the car. I didn't like it at all while I was driving, but when I listened to it at work, I loved it. Odd. Is it a factor of the music? Is it too wispy for the wide open spaces of the car, but just right for an intimate headphones setting? Or is it an issue of familiarity? I don't have to pay attention to the lyrics or instrumentation in familiar songs, which allows me to concentrate on traffic. Conversely, if I'm paying attention to traffic, I can't focus on figuring out the music. People tend to reject what they can't understand, so I conclude that I don't like the songs. Apparently I don't need to pay attention to much while I'm working, though, so I have plenty of brainpower available for dissecting new songs. Come to think of it, I'll probably enjoy anything that blots out office conversations about the weather, so maybe that's the real answer. Mystery solved!