Hope, Part 1
On February 7, 2023, I made a commitment to myself and a small group of friends. For the rest of February, the only music I would listen to would be within the “drain gang”. For anyone who doesn’t know, drain gang includes a plethora of artists including Bladee, Ecco2k, Thaiboy Digital, and Yung Lean. The genre is a blend of hyperpop and trap, which many seem to enjoy.
I had never listened to any of these artists prior to that day. Naively, I assumed that this challenge, called “Drainuary” would be a good introduction to the genre. However, drain gang would soon take its toll on my mental health.
The Demise, Part 1
For context, I listen to approximately 6 hours of music every day. It gets me through both the good times and the bad. Music hypes me up for the gym and puts me to sleep. The issue with listening to this much music arises when I can no longer listen to a diverse music palette. Over the first 24 hours of Drainuary, I listened to about six hours of Bladee alone.
This statistic alone broke me. Exactly at that 24 hour mark, I decided to abandon the challenge, knowing that my mental state would only further deteriorate from there. I wasn’t enjoying the music that much, and I only listened to drain gang out of spite. But, this journey was not yet finished.
Hope, Part 2
One friend of mine suggested that I should instead listen to an artist that I actually enjoyed. After searching through my playlists for artists starting with an F (for February), I finally landed on Fiona Apple. Now, I would listen to no music except for that in which Fiona Apple played a part in creating. Although I hadn’t listened to all of her catalogue, I adored her latest album “Fetch The Bolt Cutters”.
Compared to Drainuary, “Fiona February” was a breath of fresh air. Her music spanned a far greater range of emotions than someone like Bladee, and I could assign an identity to each of her albums. As a result, cycling through her music felt far more natural, allowing me to keep with Fiona February for longer into the month.
The Demise, Part 2
Longer is a bit misleading of a term though. After five days of listening to nothing except Fiona Apple, I started having a mental breakdown and needed to use other artists to ground myself again. Granted, I was also dealing with other issues at the time, but Fiona February certainly didn’t help.
What I Learned
Despite what I had expected, intentionally limiting my listening to just one type of music is extremely difficult. I was unable to complete many tasks I can normally do just fine, because I felt like I didn’t have the “right” music playing. Additionally, I found out just how heavily I tend to lean into music as a coping mechanism for whatever I’m dealing with at a given time.
As a result, I felt like I couldn’t process things that arose in my life well, if at all. I don’t know if there’s really a moral or anything of the sort to gleam from this situation. All I know is that I can never actively limit my music listening to one or a couple of artists.