How do we hear “new” music?

Mar 13, 2014

Blog time again, which means I have sat around for the last couple of days with my palms sweating and wondering “what do I tell people about?” I never really had an idea of what a blog was until a few months ago (honestly), and although I enjoy the creative aspects of writing, it is something I struggle to do day in and day out for an informative purpose. Mostly I wonder “which part of this is interesting,” and my reaction to worrying about whether or not something is interesting is just to not post, or in many cases, not finish writing at all. Consistent inspiration is always the hardest part for me about writing. Writing records is a better suit for my attention span, as I can allow myself to go through all the “cycles” of writing, and pick and choose the best times to write. Blogs are not as suited to me though, as I’m supposed to be constantly thinking of the next clever entry (Maybe I’m not that clever?).

But alas, I have chosen to take on this blog writing, and so in an effort to not let you down, I will persevere. I was reading a study the other day about music taste and personality, and how when forming new relationships, music is one of the first topics of conversation to come up, and one of the most thoroughly discussed. While it seems superficial on the surface, I suppose that there is a lot that can be read into a persons personality by the music they like. Many times that personality stigma can sort of take over the music itself, at least from the outsider (meaning one who doesn’t listen to that music regularly) perspective. I always think of Dave Matthews being immediately associated with the “frat crowd” when i was growing up. To admit to listening to Dave Matthews was sort of like a curse word, or an instant fraternal bond, depending on who you were talking to.

With that example, it leads me to wonder about the balance between being attached to the music itself, and being attached to the “image” of the music as it is packaged and sold to us. Personally, I often let my nostalgia influence my attachment to new music that I’m introduced to. For example, it is much easier for me to attach myself emotionally to music that was made in the 40’s-70’s than it is for me to attach myself to something new on the market. It is difficult to put into words why exactly this is. I could argue that music made in that technological era “sounds” better to me, but the subjective nature of music is such that it is easy for me to justify liking or not liking pretty much anything within a given context. I’ve probably spent an embarrassing amount of time in conversations with friends, debating a certain musician, trying to objectively define the music as “good” or “bad”. I have probably done this to the point that the parameters for defining “good” and “bad” music are blurred. Still, discretion is inevitable, and it is still easy, upon hearing something “new”, for me to lump it into one of those two categories almost immediately. I have found ways to be more mindful of this behavior, and remind myself to keep listening, and even make a conscious effort to connect myself to it beyond just the surface level of sensory perception.

Knowing this about myself and assuming I’m not alone, to me as a new and independent artist, it poses an intriguing challenge. When independent artists come to your town to play a show, we are constantly battling the listeners initial reaction to it. I doubt that there exists a performer in the world who has not thought to himself while on stage “is anyone listening?” As we are all seeking most any venue that will have us, there are certainly times that we have all landed in front of a crowd that may not be interested in listening. The most recurring post show compliment I will get is “Good job man, you really remind me of….” In most cases, the reasons for this association are legitimate, if not intentional on my part (which is certainly the other half of this discussion), but it is still interesting to me that people’s attachment to music seems to come from an association with other music they know and have already attached themselves to, or at least that is the way many people choose to communicate it.

With all that said, I have gone another week without posting a new song. I struggle with much of the same questions when choosing a song that I do when choosing a blog topic. Part of me says, “just do something and post it” while the other part of me over thinks it, wondering if it’s the right song to post. I would be happy to get some feedback from you, the audience, about which songwriters you think I would represent well. In the meantime, I hope that you may share something about your favorite music, and why you relate to it. Music is, to most of us, so important in accompanying our presentation of ourselves. It serves in many aspects as a window into our perception of ourselves beyond a surface level. It can be a soundtrack to the story our lives tell, or at least how we want them to be told to others. I will have a new song next week.

 

Luke

3 comments

    • admin says: March 14, 2014
  1. Denise says: March 28, 2014

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