OA: Samantha Stiles Column April 10, 2009

What? Music too loud? Now I get it

Pinpointing an exact time or moment is difficult, but somewhere along the line, I aged 20 years in one.

I have come to this conclusion after hearing my own mouth formulate the statement “this music is too loud” on several recent occasions.

What’s even more disappointing is that the volume of the music detracted in many ways from my enjoyment of said music. There was a time in my life when loud music was a plus, because let’s face it, some music is just better played loud.

My opinion has changed.

It’s like honking your car horn, sometimes it improves the situation and sometimes it just makes people angry.

Loud music is necessary when A) the audience is loud, or B) there’s a big audience, or C) you want the police to show up. In some cases, loud music is also acceptable if it’s ironic.

I don’t like to yell at old people, it’s not polite. So, at my cousin’s wedding recently, I took issue when the DJ pumped obnoxious dance tunes so loud I had to yell out the obvious.

“Boy, Grandpa, this music is loud.”

My grandfather flashed me a look that said, “you’re telling me.”

In the car ride home from the wedding with my parents, I was the only one who made the loud music observation. I questioned myself for days.

If the bride had thought the music was too loud, wouldn’t she have had it turned down?

Then, earlier this week I went to a show at Quincy’s.

The music was so loud everyone resorted to hand motions to communicate because someone repeating “I can’t hear you” over and over gets annoying.

I used the “so-so” hand motion (which is difficult to describe in words) to show my lack of interest in the music.

Other people probably did thumbs up or thumbs down, danced in appreciation or sat on bar stools as far as possible from the stereo speakers.

It wasn’t until I was driving home from the show that I really had to reprimand myself for tolerating such loud music.

My ears were ringing so bad it was hard to sleep.

All of this ties in to my interview with Bill Powers, the subject of this week’s cover story. He told me he’s not fond of loud music. He appreciates space in songs, room to move.

I totally get it.


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