Anonymous On: Music Discovery


Here’s the cycle OP:

You never really cared about music, though you of course have bands and albums you really like, even love. But when you really think about it, you haven’t actually even listened to that many albums. You see lists like “Top 50 Albums 2014” and you think, “have I listened to 50 albums in my life?”

So you discover places like /mu/ and Pitchfork or The Needle Drop, and you think to yourself. Hm, these guys have listened to so much music, they must surely be music experts. Naturally, their knowledge and experience must mean that they have good taste, and know better than I do.

You have always known about big names in music like Bob Dylan and The Smiths, but you didn’t necessarily think about there being a cannon of so-called “classic” albums. So you turn to these sources and scour them for said records thinking, “I’m going to listen to all of these and educate myself / develop good taste.”

You start to look down on the music you used to listen to, and are proud of your new eclectic, “underground” taste. Who knew there was this treasure trove of great music that never gets any play on the radio!

There’s nothing wrong with this, but after a while you realize that you don’t exactly love or even like some of these albums. “But surely since they’re classics, it must be me who’s mistaken,” you think to yourself.

Then something unexpected happens, you hear an album that isn’t praised as a classic album or even universally praised to any extent, and yet you love it.

In a reactionary knee jerk, you dismiss the albums you earlier praised as being “entry-level” — musical training wheels. You become almost consciously devoted to solely seeking out more obscure artists / albums, thinking that will somehow purify your taste and give you an intellectual one leg up on the casual Pitchfork-drones.
This is a crucial point. You either pull out of it and become a confident, well-informed, self confident music listener, or you become a cynical dickhead that uses music as a social elevator to feed your ego.

Hopefully you reach the conclusion that music is entirely subjective and that something is only good if you think it is. You will be uninhibited by others’ superimposed musical rankings and unafraid to enjoy the music that positively affects your sensibilities.

Hopefully you don’t fall into this cycle in the first place. My advice to you would be this: make a list or a chart of your favorite albums and ask other music listeners to recommend you music based on your selections. Listen to their recommendations, keep what you like, discard what you don’t. Soon you’ll find that your original list has changed drastically, because you have. You realize that what was once a very uniformed list has transformed into a beautiful, eclectic, honest collection of vaporwave tapes.

I wish you well on your musical journey.

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