New music friday

March 31, 2016

Tomorrow is Friday. That’s a good thing for many reasons, but one of my favorite is that Friday is ‘new music day.’ It used to be Tuesday, but now it’s Friday. There’s probably an algorithm or some sort of smart marketing strategy that decided that, but no matter, it’s new music on Friday.

I’ve been thinking about my love for new music, probably too much to be honest, but the thing I can’t quite put my finger on is the psychology of it all. Why do I get sick of music that I’ve heard before. Why can’t I stand it when I hear Adele’s voice say ‘hello’ to me? What makes me literally laugh out loud and crack a huge smile when I hear a 1990’s worship song at a church service? What is it about ‘new’ that makes it better?

Apparently, there is some psychology and physiology behind it. I guess when your brain gets used to something it removes the mystery of it and makes you bored. So new things increase the mystery and make things exciting, and that’s why science says I like new music.

I have a competing theory. We like new things because they represent moving on from the past. I read another article that says that when you listen to a song during a certain ‘season’ of your life, that your brain automatically associates that song with whatever feeling you felt when you heard it first. It reminds us of our past.

This is where things get tricky. Sometimes the past is good – and our favorite songs remind those of us who live in the great white north that eventually we will have the windows rolled down and wind blowing through our hair (or beards I guess) soon enough. But sometimes the past isn’t so sunny. Sometimes it’s filled with stuff we’d rather not remember. Sometimes we wish we could stuff the gift back in the box, wrap it back up and hide it in a closet.

Parts of us get old just like songs. We become unsatisfied and bored with who we are and seek to better ourselves by remaking parts of who we are. After all, new is better. New means a clean slate. New is pretty and shiny and we can pretend like there’s nothing wrong. Until that part too, gets old and boring, or worse, dirty and stained.

I think all of this points to the character of God in us, or at least or desire to be like Him. He makes us new. He helps us to start over. He forgets the past and moves on to the future in a way that no one and nothing else can. We like new because it reminds us of what we were designed to be – pretty, shiny, and clean. New things remind us that at least in some ways, at some times, no matter what we’ve done or what has happened – we can feel like that again.

It may be a leap, all this newness = godliness stuff. It might all be chemicals in brain. But I don’t think so. A new song makes you feel like all is going to be right with the world. There’s something spiritual about hearing your new favorite song for the first time. Maybe I’ll hear mine tomorrow. 

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