Monday 7 August 2017

we built this city on rock and roll...

I don't know what's more troubling: that I find myself completely ignorant of almost all contemporary music, or the fact that I don't seem to actually care all that much and don't have the least desire to rectify the issue.

Perhaps this is a symptom of my age (although I know a few people my age or older who have not lost their musical curiosity), but I seem content to listen to the bands that I've always listened to.  If I purchase some new music, it's likely to be by someone who already has a place in my record collection.  I suppose it could be worse: I did go through that cliche phase last year where I was re-buying on vinyl records that I already own in at least one other format... but I seem to have moved past that now.

Ed Sheeran is a case in point: I know it's fashionable amongst music fans of a certain ilk to dislike him.  Well, he's successful, isn't he... and if there's one thing that a music snob can't abide, it's mainstream success.  I didn't much care for his cameo in Game of Thrones because it seemed a bit forced, but I can't summon up the energy to dislike him because I simply don't know any of his music and can't be bothered to find out.  I have a vague assumption that I won't like him, but this is based on nothing more than a vague dislike of the very green tattoo sleeve he has on one arm (and I *like* tattoos) and on a fifteen second burst of "Galway Girl" that seemed a bit Riverdance to me.

It's all the more ironic then that I seem to have quite happily switched the way I consume music away from physical formats and even away from MP3s towards streaming on Amazon Music.  Never before have I had so much music at my fingertips; there's something ridiculous like 40 million songs available and the only limit to my listening pleasure is my imagination.

...and there's the problem.

If I keep asking Alexa to play me Toto's "Africa" whenever I'm in my kitchen, then I'm never going to hear anything new, am I?  There are dozens of curated playlists available and all I have to do to hear something new that might rock my world is to have a go, skipping past anything that doesn't take my fancy.  And have I done it? No.  To be honest, I'm just as likely to ask Alexa to play BBC Radio 5 as to listen to some music.. so I haven't even really had the time to listen to the new album by Lorde or the Fleet Foxes.

This will not stand.  I don't want to become that guy, do I? You know, the one who simply refuses to believe that any new music by a new artist could be as interesting as the old classics and therefore isn't worth the effort (unless it's already too late for me on that score).

Must. Try. Harder.

...Not least because the new season at choir starts in a month, and from then until Christmas it will likely be rehearsal tracks all the way. I think we're doing some Starship!


  1. I think Alexa just added 'mood' playlists so that might help? I fall into the same habits though, but having streamed music makes it much easier to hit Pitchfork, read a review (ok, skim read) and then play a few tracks (snippets of tracks, whatever!) and occasionally I find new stuff.

    Also, Spotify Discovery has unearthed a few new ones for me too.

  2. Just following related artists or related videos on Spotify and YouTube has led me to more artists and record labels than I can remember, nevermind actually afford to buy.