A slow musical death by iPod

It happened slowly. I found myself logging into iTunes less and less, my playlists becoming stagnant and dull. In the car, I shuffled between the same few CDs or idly scanned a random selection of radio stations, choosing one and letting the same boring Top 40 sounds fill my Toyota.

I haven’t purchased music in forever — months, even. The last album I bought was The Script’s “Science and Faith,” and that was only because I was so in love with their last record. I never find myself cranking up a new tune or Googling the lyrics of a song I heard and loved, but can’t identify. Nothing interests me.

I didn’t even bring my iPod to England. When I wasn’t reading on the plane, I sat in silence.

Silence.

I’ve reached a point where I prefer silence over music.

There was a time when Music was my constant companion, a fellow and important traveler on the road of life. As a teen, Hanson, ‘NSYNC or Jimmy Eat World comprised the background noise of my days. Music was a way of bonding with friends and classmates; it was a simple way of launching a conversation with the cute guy from math class. As soon as I got a glimpse of a dude’s band T-shirt, I would scurry home and look up the object of his attention — then try to convince my parents I needed their album. I got into Dashboard Confessional that way. When I found out a crush liked a certain band and had a favorite song, I would find it and listen to it on repeat; it was like getting a glimpse into their soul.

Back when AOL Instant Messenger was still big (and Facebook didn’t exist), folks would use song lyrics in their profiles or “away” messages as a thinly-veiled way of conveying how they were feeling — and I still spot people doing that on Facebook, too. (Case in point, an acquaintance’s recent status update: “You find out who your friends are… somebody’s gonna drop everything, run out and crank up their car, hit the gas, get there fast and never stop to think, ‘What’s in it for me?'”)

It’s been a while since I was emotional enough to need to post song lyrics on a public profile rather than tell someone how I feel, but I can easily remember emotions that would stir up and provoke such an action. Music is a great way of confronting, expressing or dealing with our emotions. Songs appeal to us on a personal level because they resonate with us — for whatever reason. For personal reasons.

Not everyone listens to tunes because they want their perspectives altered or their minds blown. Maybe they’ve had a bad day, want to get a beer and just dance — and there’s nothing wrong with that.

But me? Well, I’m all about the lyrics.

And nothing appeals to me anymore.

So much of the music I’ve loved in the past — like Death Cab For Cutie, say — was because it clicked with me at a specific point in my life. The Killers are that way, too; though I love them intensely, listening to their songs brings me back to a time when I was nursing a heartbreak, in a period of transition and desperately seeking direction and support.

I don’t feel that way anymore.

Listening to Death Cab now just makes my stomach flip uncomfortably, remembering the times I listened to “We Looked Like Giants” until I thought my ears would bleed. I still listen to The Fray, The Killers and John Mayer, my main man, but it just . . . isn’t the same. Putting my iPod on shuffle, I find myself constantly scrolling through songs without settling on a single one. Then I give up and toss the thing back in my purse, annoyed that I ever bothered to listen to anything at all.

I’m in a total music rut.

I don’t want to think that I’ve completely lost my mojo when it comes to tunes, because I’ll be honest: I think being completely out of touch with the music scene is a sure sign of aging, and I want to still be hip. I can’t accept that my best years are behind me and that, at 25, I’m doomed to live a life void of anything contemporary. I don’t want to be the woman so stuck in the ’00s that she can’t pronounce “Bieber” or recognize a new artist — however silly — on sight.

I don’t want to be old.

So hit me with your best shot, friends: what music are you listening to now or can’t live without? It doesn’t have to be something current — just something new to me. I’ve heard good things about Mumford & Sons but haven’t bothered to check them out. Who am I missing?

Save me from a slow death by iPod. Send me some musical inspiration — I’ll take anything.