Categories
Culture Meta Music

The sounds we like

Liked Lubricated social networks, great action movies that work without sound, and other pressing questions by Max Read (Read Max)

Reader Stephen writes:
“My conclusion is music made by 20-year-olds currently comes from a different cultural context I am no longer connected to, so it doesn’t resonate unless it sounds like something I already like (i.e. a garage rock band like Dehd). I can’t imagine getting into, like, hyperpop, but, again, I think it’s because it is responding to social and cultural phenomena I am simply not a part of.”

Max answers:

I think you have to think about it dialectically: itโ€™s not just that cool young people who make cool unlistenable music are emerging out of a different context and responding to different cultural prompts than you (or me), itโ€™s also that they are, to various levels of explicit intent, making music that you (and me) specifically will not like, so they will not be exposed to you (and me) and our fatally wack existences in their cool physical/ digital/ mind spaces. The hidden wholeness here is that by the fact of not โ€œgettingโ€ the music we are participants in making it good and cool.

Haha, I appreciate when others share my weird fear of getting stuck listening to the same thing, this take is a kind thought ๐Ÿ˜‚

I’m totally fine with aging (really life is getting better) and dgaf (probably actively avoid) what’s “cool.” What I do fear is becoming fixed and not giving new things a chance. (Frankly, this is not something I need to worry about ๐Ÿ˜‰)

But maybe this is something to consider: when are you satisfied in your identity and preferences and can just settle deeper into them?

Is my love of newness culturally-acquired or personal? Does it disguise doubt or dissatisfaction with my tastes, an unknowing or resistance of the self? Is the quest for more music simply a reflection of our culture’s endless consumption, channeled to a medium I care about rather than material goods? Or is it a product of my changing in other ways: that my tastes are ever-shifting and need to be constantly re-found and re-formed through new sounds? Is it habitual or truly preferential? Does it not mean anything? Dunno but it’s interesting to consider, especially for a medium as visceral as music.

I have claimed exploration as part of my identity, but sometimes it’s tiring to always be taking in more information. I’m curious what it would look like to maintain a philosophy of openness without putting so much energy into seeking newness.

Categories
Personal Growth Self Care Society

Finding joy by rejecting a scarcity mindset

Liked WHY MISERY LOVES COMPANY (AND HOW TO AVOID BECOMING BITTER) (aestheticsofjoy.com)

When we view our lives through the lens of abundance, we live in a state of flow. Success is not taken from others, but created with others.

Like the idea of “an abundance-based community” — her example is authors, who “realiz[e] that readers are not a scarce resource to be squabbled over, but a community to be cultivated. The goal is not to get people to read one book over another, but to get more people reading period.”

I dig the rising tide lifts all ships idea, even if it’s hard to remember sometimes with my own work.

[S]top saying โ€œIโ€™m so old,โ€ which effectively hides another scarcity statement: โ€œI have so little time left.โ€

Oops, I am guilty of this ๐Ÿ˜… She’s got a point though…

Categories
Music

New music

Bookmarked Bring that beat back: why are people in their 30s giving up on music? (theguardian.com)

There may be more hurdles to committing to cultural discovery but people donโ€™t become fundamentally less curious because they get older. Most people donโ€™t stop discovering new books, films, podcasts or TV. Yet music seems to be something that more commonly slips away โ€“ or is even perceived as something youโ€™re supposed to grow out of. Music is a key part of youthful identity formation: once your idea of yourself becomes fixed, perhaps by distinct markers like marriage and kids, the need for it slips away.

This author might be onto something about music being harder to discover and stay in the loop on as you get older — but is also conflating live music with new music. How much is staying in tune with new music dependant on going to shows? Because I will freely admit I have very little interest in ever being in a mosh pit again ๐Ÿ™„ or sitting out in the hot sun for 12 hours a day at a Festival ๐Ÿ˜‘ sounds like hell. I am still interested in listening to new music, just via other avenues.

I have been finding that a fair bit of new-to-me music that streaming services recommend to me isn’t new, but 5-10 years old, more in line with a lot of my favorites, or new music by artists I already know. Am I hoovering up more of the same style that I already like? How much does new music really resonate? Am I having a harder time with finding new music because Tidal’s algorithm doesn’t grok me yet, or am I growing weary of the unfamiliar? (Is this all in my head given my current year new music playlist has 150 new tracks?)

And, does it really matter what I listen to if I’m just listening for enjoyment? What is the intrinsic value of listening to different music beyond finding more that I’ll enjoy? I describe myself as a neophile, liking new things and trying things just because they’re new, and wonder sometimes how much of that is desire for more music versus my philosophy of pushing myself to explore new things and “collector’s mindset” of adding more songs to my new music playlist. I think I like to challenge myself with new music, but also have very particular tastes (a singing voice I dislike can kill a song for me).

How much is my taste expanding and changing over time? I recently tried listening to some college era playlists and, er, my tastes have definitely evolved since 2007 ๐Ÿ˜‰ (Either that or hearing music on different speakers is enough to make it sound different enough from my memory to lose the nostalgia, an audio uncanny valley of memory. I tried to put on Black Sabbath’s Paranoid yesterday, which I was into in 2005, and I dunno if it was fifteen more years of listening taste, a bad remaster, or different speakers, but I ejected out of that without making it through a whole song ๐Ÿ˜‚) I suspect taste shifts and grows a bit at a time but when you look at a span of years it becomes more apparent.