Essays About

We Love Songs More in Public

Playing my music albums in my car, I hum half-indifferently, too familiar with the melody to be intrigued by it. Why then, if I hear the same song played by a sidewalk musician or coming through department store speakers, do I instantly wake with admiration for it, my ears strangely gaining a new delicacy to feel the contours of every note? Similarly, why do concert-goers scream at the start of every song they recognize, when they never screamed at home? Is this our vanity saying to the world, behold me, I know this? The song we snubbed in solitude is now being honored, and we wish to assert our association, like a man who never desired his wife until his neighbor paid her interest. Our complacency as owners is replaced by our longing as outsiders.