After a long day of work she liked to unwind with a glass of wine and a steady stream of music videos on YouTube. She liked how the site seemed to have a conversation with her. It was a friend really. The kind she would have exchanged mix tapes with in a prior era or maybe tagged along with to live shows, get drunk or high with and dance with an abandon only possible when exploring the deep reaches of the city within the safety of a tight knit relationship or group dynamic.
She liked how the site created a variety of playlists built on songs she would search for and play on a loop. It expanded the range of music she’d listen to with gentle nudges. Suggestions that sent her down rabbit holes of exploration, going further and deeper from one song to the next, searching for the perfect song to suit the moment. Over time it was trained to provide the perfect aural medicine to her every need and mood, there at her fingertips, ready to engage her in ways that didn’t require her to be fully present in response. She could get lost in it, and she liked it.
When this became a habit then post-work routine she would close her eyes and drift, maybe do a few chores around the house or dance with herself. Over time she committed more attention to the thing. She started to read the comments and it changed her perception of some music. It was a portal to shared experiences, anonymous but also sometimes raw. There was something about how personal their connections were. Some mourned the passing of a loved one with a song serving as the reminder of that person. Others lost loved ones to time and chance but found a way to access the feeling of that lost time in a special number. Some just plain felt young again in a song or it reminded them of a happy or sad moment. She was struck by the power of the emotional attachments, and the will of people to give voice to their nostalgia across the internet ether. She wondered if she would ever feel inspired enough to be one of them – a disembodied voice telling the world a secret they only feel comfortable sharing with strangers; capturing their thoughts for posterity; a record of their emotional existence. The song she was listening to ended just as the thought entered her head. A new song came on and she nodded her head slowly, watching the video like it was the first time, and scrolling through the comments.