N ot so long ago, I announced that I’d made an important psychological breakthrough, allowing me to outline the stages of concert excitement.

Well, in just 10 short months, I managed to deduce that people might experience a series of predictable stages in a relationship with an album as well. But while I compared the progression of emotions leading up to a concert to the stages of grief, this is more accurately compared to phases in a romantic relationship.

Allow me to explain, and hopefully you can better understand and navigate your next record relationship.

The Build-Up

It generally starts in one of two ways. Maybe the band is new to you — a friend introduces you, or you happen to see them out at a bar — and you’re thinking, “I could be into that.” Or maybe you’ve known the band for years and have long harbored a crush. Either way, you want more. The announcement of a new album sets off butterflies in your stomach while you eagerly await the release date.

The Date

EEP! The big day is here. The record drops, you’ve got it in-hand and after an hour or so of listening, you’ve had some feelings solidify. Some of what you heard might not have totally impressed you, but you’re head over heels.

The Honeymoon Phase

Ugh. You don’t want to be one of those people, but you are. You’re totally obsessed with this album and you can’t think or talk about anything else. You’re spending all of your spare time with it, and when you’re not, you’re telling anyone who listen how it’s just, like, so right, you know? Certain favorite songs get played on repeat, excessively. Your friends might be a little annoyed, but you’re sure that once they hear the album, they’ll understand.

The Cool-Down

Those great songs are wearing out. You’ve listened to them so much that you can’t really appreciate why you loved them in the first place anymore. What was once new and exciting is now old and mundane. Then there are those less-great tracks. “How did I just ignore them before?” you wonder.

The Breakup

Flame-out might be a better description than breakup. When relationships start out this intense, they’re destined for an abrupt end. But the thing is, you’re sick of it and you just don’t care that it can’t be fixed.

The Reconnection

Months, maybe even years later, the album pops back into your life. A song comes up on shuffle or a friend happens to be playing it. Suddenly you’re thinking back fondly on the good times, not the crap that made you leave it. For old time’s sake, you start listening again. You probably won’t recapture that intense love you once had for it, but there’s a chance you will…

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