thoughts while listening

what thoughts or visual images do you have in your mind as you listen to various types of music.
Usually think about old David Steinberg & Robert Klein comedy routines, though I assume that this is the boring/norm for most/all.
NO. but given the usual drivel on this site, it didn't seem too out of the norm. just curious. I always think of time and places in my younger days.
I only think of the music unless I slip into a daydream or actually end up dreaming through the whole CD.
Happens a lot lately.
Very therapeutic.
If it's a male singer I think about the recording, the space around the microphone, tonal accuracy and bandwidth. Perhaps even the color and dynamics of the music.

However, Kate Bush, Allison Krauss, Melody Gardot, Taylor Swift and Fiona Apple bring up dreams that began when I was a little boy and first discovered the wonder and beauty of females.

Kate Bush

Allison Krauss

Melody Gardot

Taylor Swift

Fiona Apple
I have considered posting a thread on this same topic.

I have noticed that what I think about changes according to the type of music I listen to. When I listen to jazz or blues vocalists, for example, I usually imagine the singer in front of me. If the recording has enough ambient cues, I also imagine being in the venue. On the other hand, when I listen to classical, I do NOT usually imagine the performers or the venue. I let my mind wander to the "other worlds" that the music evokes.

The better the music, the less I have verbal thoughts and the more I have purely imagistic thoughts and feelings. Personally, I think the absence of verbal thoughts, and the presence of imagistic thoughts and feelings, is part of why listening to music is so restorative and habit forming.


A guy would have to be dead to not respond to that image of Taylor Swift (I don't even have her music :^).

The other girls are all in my library and I sincerely love them for their talent and the images they put in my head.

When I listen to classical music, I am in the audience in the perfect seat. When listening to Jazz I am in the club. But when I listen to pop/rock/soul I am in the MEXICANA BAR in Frankfurt, Germany in 1968! :)
That Joe Henderson sounds like he is trying out a new mouthpiece on Andrew Hill's "Point of Departure".
Good post, music is different for everyone.

Sometimes a recording will transport me back to another time in my life. A certain song might connect me to a specific person or event so long ago that the emotion and the memory form simultaneously as an image.

One old Beatles song instantly puts me in my red Chevrolet Impala with the windows all rolled down, dual exhaust roaring as I pass by the Tower movie theatre in exactly the same spot, even after all these years.

It's almost like the smell of something wonderful cooking that was a favorite when you were a kid. A time when the joy and energy of youth surrounded you and you didn't have a care in the world.

Some of that still persists in my heart today, although my body has lost that youthful energy and joy that we're only blessed with in those early years.

The music of the Doors also do that to me but frequently not so joyful an image of the occasion. Perhaps due to the violent and turbulent times we experienced when their music was popular.

I grew up in the South and frequently a mix of pop, blues and rock played on local radio. I still have a deep love for all those types of music as well as Dave Brubeck who introduced me to Jazz.

I dont have a hot daughter yet, But based on my cousins daughter was runnerup for homecoming queen and the girls I hang out with Im gonna be in serious S*&# later on.

I really like imagining whats going on in Jimi Hendrix Electric Ladyland where you can here everyone chearing but I dont really like studio music myself (Dont dislike it, It just seems sort of cold and over performed and pressed to what some "Engineer wants" Find me a studio zep song that comes close to live)
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"As i get older, this is failing a little bit. So by the time i am senile, i probably will be back to endless mental chatter like most everybody else."

Ha-One more thing to look forward to!
I think about where I was and who I was with when it was new. I get a little melancholic that I can't go back. Then I pour a little more scotch.
Albertporter, time to change the scope of your photography business?

Low resolution: Think about the music. Kind of uninvolving.

High resolution: Over-involving. Enjoyment is not in "playing tunes" but thinking about how high a quality is the recording or performance. Hard to see the music and the music does not matter so much any more.

The trick is to get a balance between the two.
I listen mostly to instrumental jazz from the mid to late 50's so I think about the musicians, how they played, and what was happening at the recording or set.

Albertporter in his post reminds me of Fiona Apple's song "Criminal." In it, she sings, "I've been a bad bad girl." She gets me with that line and I think "now there's a real woman."
I'm mentally 'air-guitaring', regardless of instument or genre. Doesn't matter if it's Hendrix, Coltrane, or Nojima!
Sorry I know what you mean and I agree - there are some very strange threads here at times. Yes, and as Albert pointed out as when I play a certain song / album / disc it sends me right back to that time. There have been times when 40 years gets shoved aside just by one song...and I will recall the day the weather, freinds some now gone, or a girl friend of that time along with many other thoughts. The power of music....and just remember that we are making new memories every day with this stuff. Again sorry
In regards to Albert's post offering his variety of thoughts, my inexcusable male brain automatically, pictured ..... Denyce Graves!!! She's one tough Habanero!! I would either die with a smile, or become deaf from her screaming! me bad
Mine are usually along the lines of... "I hope I can stay awake long enough to get past track two"

As immotive a vehicle as is music, I don’t even recall if I think or not while I’m listening to my fav, or just any old tune. I’d suspect if the music is interesting, involving, and does sound very good, as it normally should, my thoughts are on it. Not elsewhere.

Of course now that I’m all HDD all the time…. I’ve contracted ADD and only play the first minute or so of a tune, or less, then I double click another one, then another, and then another, until one resonates something inside of me. Only by hiding the remote, and using playlists, can I avoid ‘hitting and quitting’ it and letting the music flow naturally..

Only when I’m really bored, havn’t brought in anything new to listen to, and possibly feeling very tired, my mind will drift off to some other current issue which is as yet unresolved.. did I pay so & so? Take out the trash? Put the clothes in the dryer? Turn off the stove?

Was I supposed to say something more profound? Such as ….

“I often return to those days of yore when the air was clean, and the waters were clear and my biggest problems were pimples and gas money?! Or back to those times where the occasional thoughts rested on and pondered whose finger is on the button that will end life as we know it on this planet? Wonder what kind of mood they’re in today?

Perhaps my thoughts were supposed to drift back to the Golden age of Rock & Roll… recalling, Doo wop and it’s various ‘One hit wonders’ and ‘shooting stars’? Or maybe only so far back as to rest them on Jerry Lee, & Elvis… the Beatles, and the first festival at Woodstock… Or to thoughts of how pure and honest the music was then? How it could stir emotions deeply in ones soul if the sticks doing the stirring were electric sticks, like a double neck Gibson, a Les Paul, or a Stratocaster! You are about forced to drift back there if it was being strummed and plucked by the likes of Page, Clapton, Walsh, Beck, Cat, Ted, or J Croce, etc… now and then.

Or should my thoughts wash over to more political climes and it’s pundants…. Men who said things like, Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.

Or this man’s words… “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

Or slip back to the fella who said these words with regularity , "Some men see things as they are and say why. I dream things that never were and say why not."

Or the guy who proclaimed, “I am not a crook!”

Maybe to the guy who said, “I love the smell of Napalm in the morning!”

Might be they ought race back to Odetta, Peter Paul and Mary, Marvin, and Grace Slick and the real Jefferson Airplane. To Dylan, and Arlo. To the riot in Watts back in ’65. Abbie Hoffman and his crew. Patty Hearst. The S.D.S.

While Kruschev was trying to bury us back in the fifties, and later on Castro harbored our own epilogue just 8 minutes away. As the English rockers were invading us, music could remind or remove one from the pressure, but you had to choose carefully the avenue, device, or content to amuse yourself with by some fair degree of premeditation, if you hoped to evade topical interventions in your music..

Music for me then was both a heated voice crying out for change, and a savior of sorts for it ushered me away from the pressures and strife, the contentious times and woeful issues of the day. Even then and there, so tumultuous were those days even music itself could not be spared from the civil and social fall out which were near daily occurrences. Each and every genre of music was either touched enlightened, or violated, to some extent, as were we all.

Maybe instead, I was supposed to be thinking about how young I was… and how fresh and exciting everything unfolding about me seemed? Just how special a time this is in the Age of Rock & Roll? How influential this era will be remembered? About dances, first dates, first anythings, and what I would do with my own life? Or how long is forever?

Or maybe how pitiful and senseless the war in South East Asia was? How some of my friends were lost or affected forever? Or maybe I should have just thought about Country Joe McDonald & The Fish? The unnatural disparity between the pop corn like establishments of communes, and the ill winds sweeping through the fibers of Helter Skelter and how Charles Manson could devolve and twist it’s message? Gurus. And just how much is the cost of freedom anyways? Did anyone ever figure that out? Will they?.

One couldn’t help but ruminate on the times at hand, regardless the music. Back then music and society were fiercely engaged and forged together by a shotgun wedding. Life itself became written in lyrics, and a nation’s loss of innocence was the most notable outcome my generation. experienced.

Or more favorably, better still, how my girl and I made love during the rain inside our pup tent the night before the festival opened it’s gates…. or if Jim Morrison’s show was raided again… if Ozzie was gonna eat a bat or a chicken head this week… or will Alice Kooper’s new show actually have a real decapitation in it? Or where will one of the Rolling Stones O.D. this week?.... Or how unblieveable it was to hear Janis was gone… forever. Mama Cass dieed how? Eating a sandwich? Amazing. I bet back then that Joe Cocker was next to shed the mortal coil… but he sure fooled me.

Or to let them dwell on the new genre clammering for attention and emerging from grass roots America. Southern Rock!! Finally some honest fusion of a few other roots music, but with heart! I bet it will stick around forever! Silly me.

Now for something completely different, like, Take two of these when you go see Pink Floyd… it’ll be a whole new ball game, I guarantee it! Soooo James Taylor actually was in a looney bin? Hmmm… that explains a lot!

To the Dot Com & yahoo explosion, Jonestown, boy George, and Sting? Towards Mandella, the American Hostages, and the oil barons daisy chain that increased the price of gas? Hearing our President Ronald Regan nearly order M Gorbachov, “Tare down that wall!” How drug and alcohol rehab came into Vogue? How the rain could turn Purple? How Guns & Roses could live together? How souls like John Lennon could be wiped away so capriciously and so instantly . How the level of musicianship in the Hereafter is increasing at too rapid a rate!

Nope. I get those sorts of thoughts while watching PBS specials, and while replying to threads like these. When I listen to music, if I ain’t 100% into it, I’m listening for some errors, artifacts, anomalies, etc. Otherwise I’m staying in the moment and digging what is currently flowing out of my speakers.

Otherwise, I’m prone to just think way too much.
Jim, that was a very thought provocating revelation! Alot to ponder. I enjoyed your writing!
JIm, I may never be able to listen to music the same way again. Alberts approach is more conducive to my simple mindset. :)
I'm usually focused on the music and not thinking much really. That's what makes it relaxing.

If something does not sound right, I will start to think about what it is and what might be the cause.

Otherwise, I think we all make associations between what we listen to and our various life experiences with regularity. That is the basis for connecting to music in general I think.

Not much more to say about it really.
I think about how much money I spent on the system, and of new ways of wasting more money on it.

Albert, you are a romantic. Do you still think that way about females?
Elizabeth, what a constant joy you are.
I try to connect to the meaning of what I hear, at the level where there are no words or images, at least in a usual sense.
Good you mentioned Fergie, she's another one that elevates my blood pressure, especially when I see and hear her at the same time.

Fergie, beautiful body and voice
Albert, you are a romantic. Do you still think that way about females?

Absolutely, life would be completely meaningless without them, even if there was another way to perpetuate the human race.
Yes, my thoughts are much different when I see Fergie than when I just hear her.

Thanks for helping me clarify that very important detail!
Albert, you are right, you are right. But this order of things is also a damn problem!
Pssst. Inna, it's Valentines Day...don't hold back telling Elizabeth how you really feel. We all would love an Agon match-up!! Maybe she'll have you...give your best line...




Oddly enough, my 60's collection is not as deep as what I would like it to be. I'd prefer a good bit more Donovan, Dylan, Mott the Hoople, buffalo Springfield, M&P's, Sly Stone, Hendrix, Quicksilver Messenger Service... and some other more folksy stuff.

Most often I play stuff to avoid rumminating over the upheaveal and loss I saw in the 60s... it seldom works though.

even when the sounds of distant thunder fall silent, sometimes.... sometimes for some people, those sounds are no farther from us than are the memories which echo them eternally back.

Gratefully, the positive recollections often outweigh & out number, the poorest.

I suppose that's as best as one can hope for.