The Lost Art of Being Stuck With an Album

Felix Kent, Defector:

My tastes have not changed that much since I was 12, but my understanding and acceptance of them has. If someone gave me Green now, I would probably listen to it once or twice, acknowledge its virtues and move on. But when I was 12 I listened to it over and over and over again; I listened to it so much that I fell in love with it.

After all, I was stuck with it. I had a limited number of cassette tapes and this was one of them. This condition of my youth seems both hugely important and impossible to really convey to anyone whose life postdates the internet. If I wanted to read something I had what was already on my shelves; if I wanted to listen to something I had the radio or the household supply of music. Music could be bought, but the process of finding and buying was subject to a degree of contingency that I can’t really explain. […]

An essay far more thoughtful and worthwhile than you might imagine from a premise that flirts dangerously with back-in-my-day nostalgia. I remember car journeys soundtracked by the maximum number of tapes, first, and then CDs we could cram into the glovebox. But even with the option of choice, there are indications we often prefer the familiar, though a wider assessment shows more exploration.