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There are millions of ways one can listen to music. It’s quite literally everywhere: in elevators, drifting through an open window, or knifing to the center of your cerebral cortex when you’re on hold with a cable company. Bucket drummers and concert violinists alike force their tunes on you in the subway.

We hear music in our headphones if we want to, or hear it blasting through the headphones of someone else even if we don’t want to. Music is all around us all the time, and we’re hearing it in different ways every day.

So what are the best ways to have your eardrums filled? Here are the best ways of listening to music, definitively ranked.

2,091. While someone is actively watching your reaction to a song they’re playing you for the first time (21)

2,090. Through the walls while you’re trying to sleep

This is bad enough if they’re playing horrible music, but one could argue that hearing a song you like is even worse. It’s hard to sleep if you hear “Pyramids” bumping next door. Might as well stay awake to hear that beat switch.

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1,842. While you’re sleeping and the sweet sounds of Joe Baker are the only thing that will block out your neighbors that scream at each other every night.

A slightly more active variation of the “Pyramids” conundrum. Luckily, Joe can block out even the most vicious domestic disturbances.

1,001. On a plane, to one of their default radio stations

905. In a car when you’re not controlling the aux


732. From a car stereo, when you’re drinking moonshine in the middle of a wheat field at sunset but a fight breaks out just as the playlist is peaking and the whole thing is ruined.

540. Really loudly on your phone on public transport. Bonus points if it’s rush hour and you’re taking up two seats to yourself

400. At work

Cool because you’re listening to music while at work, but not cool because you’re at work.

399. While studying for a test or writing a list about ways of listening to music

247. Underground.

There’s a whole spectrum here, from legit jazz trios and bucket drummers with crazy skills all the way down to the homeless divas who decided today’s the day to share their voice with the world.

15. On vinyl

Because the music quality is like, so much better.

14. In a waiting room

Completely depends on what you’re waiting for, and what song comes on. Waiting to pick up your new puppy and “Solisbury Hill” comes on? Great. Waiting for STD test results and Damien Rice’s “Cold Water” comes on?


13.   At a wedding reception

True story: The DJ was missing at the start of my sister’s wedding reception. There was some initial panic, but she said she trusted me and wanted me to control the music. I told her not to worry and that I already had a playlist ready for this exact situation.

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Luckily the DJ showed up about 20 minutes later and took over, though, because I was 10 songs and 2 whiskey-gingers away from putting 56 Nights on repeat.

12.   After fighting with the squad

When you’re arguing over what food place to stop at, but then a hit comes on the radio.


 11.   Walking on a sidewalk while a car nearby is bumping your song.

The excitement of hearing someone blaring your favorite new song is by all means “lit.”

10.   As you’re dying

If you just got shot in the heart and you’re bleeding out, what’s the one final song you would want to hear? “The Sounds of Silence” is up there.


9.   After accomplishing anything

No matter how cliche and corny the song, hearing it after accomplishing any sort of task makes it so much better. Whether it’s a Masters or a GED, hearing Vitamin C “Graduation (Friends Forever)” is still rewarding. Win a social volleyball league? Got to throw on “We Are The Champions.” You and your friend disagree on whether or not this new bar down the street is open yet? So you walk all the way there? And it’s closed like you said? Play “Pop Bottles” out of your phone so it’s real.

8.   During sex


7.   While looking out a window pretending to be in a music video

Preferably on a train or in a car, and if it’s raining that’s always a bonus.

6.   At a concert

Could be #1 on this list, but there are too many variables. Live music isn’t always consistent. From seeing a band live that fails to live up to expectations, to getting elbowed in the head by a seapunk. Live music can be the dopest, but can also let you down just as bad.

5.   After a breakup

Sometimes you catch an early flight home from San Diego and nothing is the same. Then there’s nothing else to do but dive into some 808s & Heartbreak or Either/Or and let the healing begin.

4.   In a car

Whether it’s a full blown road trip or a quick run to the gas station, being in a car with jams is top notch.


3.   At a bar with equally hype strangers

When No Malice Palace plays some Fetty that is literally seven hours old and you see someone else that already knows it too.

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2.   Sitting outside with the squad and beer

Chilling with your friends or family, on a porch, stoop, patio, rooftop, boat, deck, lawn, or balcony, listening to jams, is near the pinnacle.

1.   Alone in your bedroom with headphones

What if friends and family don’t share a sudden urge to listen to Live.Love.A$AP in its entirety and count how many times Rocky mentions gold teeth? Head to the sanctuary.