A theory of mine is that as you get older you gradually start to lose interest in music. Passion for music never goes away, but it certainly fades and starts to take a backseat to the craziness that adult life is.
I used to have a very strong passion for music. I would spend a good chunk of my commute during my early 20s to not only listen to whatever was popular back then, but also build these awesome playlists in my head on what would be the background for my work day. Keep in mind that this was the late 2000s, early 2010s — meaning no Spotify, no Apple Music and all these ubiquitous streaming services we’ve come so used to. I used to do this on my old-school Apple iPod with its seemingly 100GB of glorious endless possibilities.
For a few years now, I noticed I no longer have this passion for discovering new music, nor I have the patience to endure several new albums a day. I even had an album review blog around that time, which surprisingly is still up a decade later. I would only use my expensive Spotify premium subscription to play the same Pink Floyd albums and some playlists I built over time. Lame, I know.
Lately, however, something changed. Not because I suddenly discovered this surge of renewed interest on music but because I decided that I will not spend the next decade listening to the same old songs over and over again. Not sure what triggered it but I’m sure I couldn’t stomach listening to the same Daft Punk album for the 100th time this year (nothing wrong with Daft Punk though). I have to mention here that one of my stronger personality traits is to stick with routine and at one point music became this security blanket I could always come back to.
A new album each day
Just as if I was in my mid-20s again, I embarked in this small journey thinking of a strategy on how to pick a new album to listen each day. At first I thought Spotify’s Discover Weekly playlist would be a good starting point — however I quickly discovered that it was too random for my taste. I know it is supposed to be based on your listening history and taste but something about this recommendation algorithm (at least for this auto generated playlist) is not clicking for me.
I decided that I needed at least some anchoring point to something I’m familiar with, so I went to my library and filtered by artist.
Sure, someone might argue that this beats the purpose of listening to something completely new but I realized there are artists I’ve been following for years because I used to listen to them regularly or at least one of their albums was on heavy rotation back in the day. I thought listening to a new album by any of these artists would still accomplish my goal without straying too far away from familiar waters.
And that’s exactly what I did. Here are my thoughts:
Monday — Lana Del Rey’s Blue Banisters
I lost track of Del Rey’s iconic vocals at least 10 years ago now. Listening to this felt like a familiar intoxicating cocktail of strong female vocals with a mysterious lingering déjà vu for old movies I’m sure I never watched.
Tuesday — Switchfoot’s interrobang
Switchfoot played a seminal role in reshaping my musical taste after attending a live concert they did in Guatemala City around 2006/2007. I can confidently say The Beautiful Letdown and Nothing is Sound are in my top 20 albums of all time, and yet I lost track of any new releases after 2011’s Vice Verses. interrobang feels and sounds familiar, someone would say almost too much like the sound you would expect from a Switchfoot album.
Wednesday — Flunk’s History of Everything Ever
My fixation with this quirky Norwegian electronic band comes from my long hours listening to SomaFM during work hours. Dream pop used to be one of my go-to genres back in the day and I will always have a soft spot for these dreamy landscapes filled almost always with lush female vocals. I don’t have the imagination and the ability to abstract myself into these albums as I used to but it’s nice every now and then I guess.
Thursday — Belanova’s Cocktail
Another album that can easily fall into the dream pop/electronic category and I have no shame in admitting my admiration for this well known Mexican electronic act. This album isn’t as popular as their later albums but it manages to capture my imagination in a way that I forgot was possible. Easily my favorite album from this week’s experiment.
Friday — Tame Impala’s The Slow Rush
Tame Impala is a throwback to some of my more experimental, intoxicated years. I will not go as far as saying that these albums can’t be fully enjoyed without a little help but for some reason I feel like there’s more than meets the eye, like I’m only scratching the surface. It was an enjoyable listen though, and it’s very likely I will catch up with the rest of the albums I have yet to listen from this delightful Aussie musician.
So it’s Friday. I wasn’t planning on sharing this small journey but I have to say, I’ve been missing out. Not only I have expanded my musical horizon a little bit, I feel like I cheered up a little bit and feeling somewhat more creative coming out of this experiment.
I’ll wrap this up with one more question though. If after only one week of making the time to do something I used to enjoy I feel my motivation has improved, how many things we stopped doing at one point over the years that we don’t even know we are missing?