The Way We Listen Now
Okay, read this: The Decade in Music: The Way We Listen Now, from NPR’s “All Things Considered.”
I know what Sasha Frere-Jones means when he says, “There are days where I don’t know what to do.”
The limitless exposure to new music offered by the Internet is staggering, can be paralyzing, painfully overwhelming. It's as if we can have anything we want. And, of course, we want it all. The decline of physical media has changed our relationship with music. As Maura Johnston says, we no longer struggle to find space for it all; we now struggle to make time.
But, God, there just isn't enough time to devour all of it. And, so, I want to give up: To hell with all of these bands, all of these sounds, all of these cultures, all of this magic and shit. It’s far too much. So much music goes through my head each day, I can barely remember what I’ve heard.
I fight this, of course. I write about music, in part, to remember. At home, I can’t listen to music anymore without taking notes.
As Other Music’s Josh Madell says, people know a lot more about music, in general, but our connections to the artists aren’t as deep.
I would like to avoid this, change this, somehow. This is an extremely important time for music, but I don’t know what it’ll lead to. Madell is right, again, though: The Internet fuels the obsession for those of us who still buy music. It’s a vicious and wonderful cycle: I walk into Other Music to buy one record, but leave with ten. While shopping, I notice at least five others that, at least, look like something I’d enjoy. I go home, find those artists on the internet, listen, and return to Other Music on the following day. I walk into Other Music to buy five records, but leave with ten. While shopping…
For Christmas, I think I’ll take my teenage sister along with me to Other Music, and ask her to pick out some records. Anything she wants.