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On listening to music and the death of our idols

Someone on the train was listening to “Bohemian Rhapsody” today. I could hear it, thin and tinny, from their headphones. I don’t know how people can do that, listen to music so loud. Or perhaps, their headphones are simply cheap and bleed the sound. I’m feeling my age I suppose, but I’ve never been able to listen to music at high volume. I have fantastic earbuds at the moment. When I put them in, I can barely hear anything else. In some ways that’s what you want, but in others it’s almost disturbing. Am I missing announcements? People asking me to move aside? Telling me that there’s a stampeding rhino heading my way? A couple of weeks ago I could hear the music from the woman next to me. Hear it well enough to recognize the songs: Whitney Houston chirpily singing, ‘How Will I Know?’ followed by Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean.” A playlist of dead people. Would Nirvana be next, or INXS? Joy Division? Or, like today, Queen? Someone newer, Amy Winehouse? I suppose if you live long enough, most of your playlist will be dead people. Unless you cling—desperately—to the cutting edge, listening to music from people further and further from you in age.

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