nostalgia of another era – one less digital, less fragmented, slower, and more immersive

The best time to listen to full albums is on a road trip. Otherwise, when is our attention captive long enough to immerse ourselves into 10, 18, or 24 tracks from start to end? Albums, in theory, are themselves a singular concept, made of smaller cohesive components or layers (songs). I had never really listened to a full album other than Beyonce, followed a few years later by Beyonce’s full visual album for Lemonade. I listen to singles as an experience and Spotify playlists as background music. I’m 25 – this could be generational. I have this nostalgic haze of a vision that things were different decades ago, that in the 70s we used to really listen to an artist’s album from start to end; to stop somewhere in between would be miss something from the story.

When iTunes was created in 2001, some artists pushed back against the idea of their albums being fragmented, cherry-picked, and sold for 99 cents a single. And yet, these fragmented singles are all I’ve ever known of music. So when hipsters started buying record players and playing vinyl, it seemed like a novel concept (to me, and the other hipsters, presumably around my age). “It sounds better” is the reason given, though I think it’s more to do with the nostalgia of another era – one less digital, less fragmented, slower, and more immersive. I just looked this word up: anemoia – nostalgia for a time you’ve never known. That’s what I believe those vinyl records are offering to the under 30s.

I recently took a road trip where I experienced one album all the way through, twice. To listen to the high points and low points, cohesive mixing of genres and paces, is a hobby I want to start – a form of meditation if you will. I’m curious now, are most artists still making albums with the album concept in mind or are they mostly collections of singles? I have no familiarity with the evolution of the music industry at all – I just have Spotify premium and some Bose headphones. Now, I could try to answer my question, but first I’m going to kick my feet up and put on a record.

looking for a word.

It might be meditation, though I don’t really like the synonyms if I Google it: contemplation, thought, thinking, musing, pondering, consideration, reflection. Instead, I’m looking for a word that encompasses the exact opposite of that.

Today, I hiked Mount Quandary in Colorado. I’ve only done one other *real* hike before and nothing over 14,000 feet. It was hard – at a certain point, my whole world was reduced to the step in front of me, one at a time. Even on the descent, though physically less exhausting, my only thought was, “what rock should I step on?” a thousand times over.

Meditation must not be my word it if it encompasses grandiose reflections or is something that can only be done with incense, folded legs, and absolute silence. Instead, I’m looking for a word that includes anything (healthy) that pulls us out of the routine, the productivity, the responsibilities, or the ambitions of life (i.e. cooking a chana masala (mostly) from scratch, playing fetch with a German Shepard, summiting Mount Quandry, etc.) The state of being immersed in one simple thing, breathing or otherwise – can this be meditation?