Friday, 2 April 2010

Are we falling madly OUT of love with music?

These days, everybody's music collection is huge. My own personal collection is almost 30GB worth, and iTunes tells me that its about 2 weeks long if I listened to absolutely everything, back to back.

But does having all the music in the world at our fingertips take away the personal relationship we have with it?

I remember when I first fell madly in love with music. You will snigger, but it was during the Nu Metal era; I was a young teenager, and Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park, Papa Roach and all of that rubbish was the greatest thing in the world to me.

I didn't have access to the gazillions of songs anywhere, anytime, like we do today. I had access to what HMV had on its shelves, and at a typical price of £12.99 - £14.99, I could only buy one at a time, every so often. So when I bought a CD, I came home and sat on the bed, put the CD into my CD player and pressed play whilst flicking through the liner notes. I'd look at all the art, front and back, absorbing the colours and how they melded with the music. Sometimes I'd read the lyrics whilst listening to the music, but most times I'd just let the lyrics and the music wash over me as I sat and absorbed.

Most of the time, this new CD was just the greatest thing I'd ever heard, so It'd be on repeat for the next few days, maybe even the next week. I'd know each song front to back, after hearing the end of a song I'd know what song was coming up next. Even though they weren't designed as concept albums where the songs tell a story and blend one into the other, I still preferred to listen to them as an album, start to finish, with no jumping to the next song or shuffling the order around.

Fast forward to today, and none of this occurs. Partly because I study music way too deeply when I hear it, picking it apart and tearing it to pieces. Its a natural thing I do now, and I can't say I don't enjoy it. I do miss the naivety of when I didn't know anything and music was music, but thats beside the point.

I can pretty much buy any album, at any time, and listen to it right now. Sometimes I even stumble across a leaked album, and I can listen to it before its released (but I do buy it when it does come out. Especially if its in a nice box!). And I just carry on consuming. Its sometimes background music.

A lot of this can be put down to the fact that I'm a lot older, and I have more things to do. Responsibilities, life, things get in the way. Also, I have so much music that even when I do have time to sit down and just listen, sometimes with a glass of wine or a joint, I can't really just pick one. I have to spend at least ten minutes scrolling through my entire library.

And that is my biggest problem. I love too much music! There's too much of it and its hard to choose. When I was younger I had about 10 CDs, so choosing was easy. Normally I'd already know what I was in the mood for listening to. Now, moods are a lot more specific and music is even more specific.

But I still buy my absolute most favourite albums on Vinyl, because the very process of listening to a Vinyl is interactive and away from your computer. And theres nothing like the charm of clicks, pops, scratching and other stuff that the mp3 generation put down to why vinyl just "sucks". But it sounds so lovely! At least to people like me who claim they can hear a difference.

What are those albums? Mostly prog albums, and mostly Porcupine Tree. I still try to track down the rare pressings of In Absentia and Deadwing, the two albums I want the most. I also have Mastodon's most recent, Crack The Skye, on a gorgeous limited edition double gatefold, as well as the staple Dark Side Of The Moon, Steven Wilson's solo album Insurgentes, Bass Communion's Ghosts On Magnetic Tape and a couple of Godspeed! You Black Emperor.

So what say you? Do you remember a time when music was a lot more personal? Or am I just spewing a load of old nonsense.

Keep loving music,

1 comment:

  1. I think you make a valid point, but i do still believe that people buy CDs and listen to them as intently as they did before, i certainly know that I do.

    I don't think it's wrong to love ALOT of music, in fact in my humble opinion it's more a blessing then a curse.

    And also the large scope of always discovering new sounds, exploring new musical landscapes and creative talent is an addictive thing for me.

    I still take music in a very personal way, and I do think that you do as well, just the way of hearing it and digesting it has changed.

    keep up the blog vin. is a good read.