Friday, 25 January 2013

The view from the afternoon

So James is worried that music is less important in his life than it used to be. I’m not; I’m happy being more selective about how I enjoy it these days, especially as the various demands of adulthood and parenthood compete for my time and energy.

I understand that you can't keep falling in love with new bands, that music (or pop and rock music at least) is a young person’s game. But the biggest reason why I think music starts to lose its lustre is that, after so many years, you’ve heard it all before. Once you know all the frames of reference it kills the fun. Would Franz Ferdinand have sounded so fresh and vital to me if I had already been acquainted with Gang Of Four? I can hear dozens of different bands in the Vaccines which means they hold no excitement for me at all, although I completely understand why a 16-year-old might adore them.

Funny then that there’s never been a better time to consume music. I'll explore this topic in detail later on, but for now let me just say that in my youth it would have been inconceivable to have access to every track in existence at an instant, legally or otherwise.

But music also has to work harder just to stand still. Sure, I could listen to an album during my commute to work, but I could also watch a film, read a book, play countless games, flick through a graphic novel, or write a blog post (ahem), all on the same device. Music doesn’t stand a chance.

And yet, and yet… The fact that I’ve heard it all before means it’s even more thrilling when I do discover a song that gets me. So I’m happy to be more selective, and I’m willing to search harder, to find new music that speaks to me and can hold its own alongside the heroes of yesterday.

- Somik

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