my friend christyn does this thing called a first listen. basically, she makes an event out of the first time she listens to an album from start to finish. she sets aside a good portion of time, picks a spot, and listens. "there's something about music that has the ability to draw us back into a single instant," she writes. so why not hand-pick the moment? at the very least, i gives you the time and space to listen fully and thoroughly enjoy it.
i think this is a very neat approach that i have yet to experience myself. usually because i forget to plan ahead, and then lack the self control to wait for a better moment. but that is how i listen to music: by albums, from front to back. whether or not i intentionally plan how it happens, i am making those first listen memories with every album i listen to.
needtobreathe's new album, HARD LOVE, is a perfect example of one that deserves a first listen experience. but i didn't really think about it until i was half way through, and tearing up during "testify" while trying to apply mascara, as i had my accidental first listen in the bathroom as i got ready for work the morning it was released.
i've been a fan of needtobreathe, not since the beginning, but for a good seven years. they're one of those bands i feel really passionately about and could excitedly talk about for hours. i just recently counted, and the number of times i've seen them perform is in the double digits.
i've written about most of it here, which you can find if you really search hard enough. about the first handful of shows i went to, where meet and greets were still free. about that time i paid over $100 to watch them, from the tenth row, play only six songs when they opened for taylor swift. about how, since moving to nashville, i've had multiple opportunities to work with them, directly and indirectly.
it's crazy to think back on all of the places i've been throughout those years, and how needtobreathe has been a significant part of the soundtrack to them. if you had told me then, when i first saw them in 2009, where i'd be now, i never would've believed you.