I dunno what rock I’ve been living under, but until I saw this article, I didn’t realize that listening to songs on repeat in order to focus your attention was a thing. I read once that Stephen King does it (he subjected his poor wife to Mambo Number 5 until she nearly lost her mind, as I recall), but I didn’t know of anyone else who employs such an annoying (without earbuds, anyway) habit. Turns out I’m not as unique as I thought I was. But when am I ever?
However, I’m guessing that, while I may not be the only one who uses musical repetition as white noise, it’s certainly not a common practice. Recently, someone posed the question to a Facebook editor’s group I’m a part of: What do you do when you can’t concentrate? The responses were pretty standard: Listen to white noise. Or classical music. Or nature sounds. Treat myself (sweets, reading time, video games, what have you). Go for a walk. Sip hot tea. Do yoga. Meditate. Power nap. Of all the answers I read, nobody else said “Listen to Maroon 5’s Payphone on repeat for 6 hours straight.”
Thing is, I don’t even like Maroon 5.
I’m also not a fan of Kesha, or Lady Gaga. In fact, many of the songs I listen to in these binges aren’t songs I particularly care for. But they get the job done.
Maybe it’s because I don’t care for them. Could it be that listening to music that repulses me causes my attention to retreat screaming into whatever is handy — say, the task before me? It’s an interesting hypothesis. And if I’m right, how fortunate for me: Annoying pop abounds. I will never run out of concentration juice.
But I should probably stock up on earbuds. My kids love pop music. Their father? Not so much.