Musical Resolutions: Don’t let Old You let New You down in 2018 with shitty music choices

By on January 4, 2018

It’s always struck me as interesting that most songs I’ve heard about New Years Day were kind of depressing. Whether it’s Death Cab For Cutie almost sighing through the line “so this is the New Year/and I don’t feel any different” to Motion City Soundtrack’s night of wishing to disappear, rarely do people write about the chance for new beginnings under a different year number. I suppose hoping for better is less dramatic.

But you know what? We’re going to leave those sad sacks crying in their corner until December rolls back around.

The new year is here, and it doesn’t matter if you feel different or exactly the same; time marches on for us all, no matter how we try to drag our feet. Just because boys with guitars don’t want to focus on a new chance to make the most of things doesn’t mean we have to throw in the towel too.

By now, you’ve probably got your New Year’s resolutions pretty well locked in, and have all sorts of options for how Future You is going to let down Current You. Don’t take that comment personally; we’re pretty much all guilty of setting ourselves up to fail. So maybe you won’t end up walking a mile every day or keeping your bullet journal up to date or cutting back on your butter usage, but that’s okay. If 2017 taught us anything, sometimes the most important thing we can do is make it to the next day.

But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t aim to do better. So, this year, in addition to all your other goals, I want you to consider some options for becoming a better music fan. By no means should you try and do all of these things, because there’s only so much time you can dedicate to music while also learning soap carving and making sure you keep your pantry organized. But any of these options will make your year a little better, and the little things matter more than ever.

Spend More Money On Music

Getting free music is easy. Ever since Napster, technology has continued to evolve to make owning a music collection without paying easier and faster. It’s part of the reality of modern society and something artists have to keep in mind when choosing music as a career path. I can’t stop you from stealing music, but I can encourage you spend what you can. If your favorite artist is selling their stuff via Bandcamp, just pay them the $10. Buy a shirt when you see them live. Ask them if they take donations. Make sure that they’re in a position to keep making your life better with their art.

If you think buying a record is a bad investment, consider actually subscribing to a streaming music service rather than creating fake emails so you can keep trying out the free trial. Having a Spotify/Apple Music/Tidal account will change your life. The ability to listen to certain songs at the drop of a hat is the type of game changer you can’t really appreciate it until you can actually do it.

Dig Deep To Find New Artists

The artists you know about, the ones you hear on the radio and see on TV, don’t need your help. They’ve got teams of people behind them handling their marketing and PR, getting their name to the right people and making sure they’re getting press coverage. Listen to them, love them, but don’t go around doing unpaid labor for them. Instead, find some newer acts that don’t have millions of Twitter followers. Pick a genre on Bandcamp and start exploring. Click on a record with a strange album cover in Spotify. Start reading music blogs for genres you care about. Get on Reddit. Discover something new and then let the world know about it. Your new favorite song is out there waiting for you.

Actually Engage With Music

There’s nothing wrong with music as background noise, but what’s equally as rewarding is sitting down with records and really spending time with them. Read the liner notes, see what artists have to say in interviews, go to Genius.com and see what other people are saying about it. Listen to more podcasts about music, especially podcasts like Dissected and Song Exploder, to learn more about how certain albums/songs came to be and how just because a song bangs doesn’t mean that it’s vapid. Being an active listener is one of the most rewarding things you can do as a music fan. The end result is that you’ll feel more connected to your favorite music and you’ll be able to say more than just “it sounds pretty” when someone asks you why you like a certain song. PJH

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