We live in a great era for music. At the touch of a few keystrokes, the Internet opens up myriads of options to listen and acquire music. Whether you’re into physical formats like vinyl and CDs, or prefer to stream your tunes via Spotify and Apple Music, or if like me, you prefer to download your music as MP3 files through Bandcamp and iTunes, there’s something for everyone. That being said, there’s also more music than ever before being offered to us. It’s a double-edged sword for bands and artists: on one hand their music is easily accessible, but on the other hand, their EP or LP can easily get lost in the sea of releases. Trying to sift through the staggering amount of weekly releases can become a bit tiring these days. It’s what’s commonly known as “new release fatigue” and I’ve got a pretty bad case of it. On Metal Twitter, my place of choice to hang out to discuss and discover music, folks seem to love acquiring stacks of new music, whatever the format may be, every week. I think I’m in the minority who feels that it’s just too much music over time and I’d rather have less.
Let me explain. I’ve been running this blog for a little over two years now and it’s made me discover some of my favourite bands of recent years. I’ve interacted with many purveyors of music and it’s always a lot of fun. It also comes with some perks of having access to a lot of free music before it’s released to the general public and that too, is a ton of fun. I receive lots of review submissions on a monthly basis, so that as well is a source of new music. The thing is, I feel like I’ve been spreading myself thin more and more as the months went by this year. How can you fully appreciate an album if you constantly consume new records, one after the other, akin to chain smoking? I see some people’s posts on Twitter, for instance, and I can’t wrap my head around the idea of picking up anywhere between five to a dozen new albums every week! Honestly, how many times will they actually spin this “new” record over the next few months? Not only that, but financially, that’s got to add up at the end of the year. I’ve made it a point to diminish my intake of new music in the last couple of months and will continue to do so in the future. Whether it be for reviewing purposes or for my personal pleasure, I just don’t have the time nor the money to support all the good bands out there. I’m a minimalist, so while I seldom buy physical albums (an average of two or three CDs a year at the most), I practice minimalism digitally as well. I tend to only keep albums that I absolutely love otherwise I’ll just hold on to one or two songs from it and make compilations with strictly the cream of the crop.
Remember the days when we were young and buying tapes or CDs was a special thing and you had to save up your allowance/minimum wage job/part-time job to afford buying that precious album from a band you really got into? That’s what I miss. Back when I could tell you the song titles of any of my albums, where I would know my favourite songs by heart and every album had a special meaning to me. Nowadays, it all seems to get lost somehow. Too much of a good thing, as they say. I wanna go back to consuming less new music and appreciating and listening to the albums I do own/buy/receive more so that they can become those gems that I cherish over time. As usual, I’m probably in the minority and this is most likely the unpopular opinion, but I’ve noticed in the past two months that I’ve enjoyed spending more time with my “new” albums a lot more when I don’t try to sample a lot of the stuff that’s available at the salad bar. Going forward, I’ll be writing much less musings columns, but what I’ll talk about will be albums that have left their mark on me, the special kind of records that you wanna listen to for a lifetime and take with you wherever you go. I’ll continue to shine a spotlight on up-and-coming bands and do my best to support new talent, but I’ll focus on a smaller sample. Less is more. Quality over quantity. How do you feel about the weekly onslaught of music being offered through the various platforms? I’d love to hear/read your thoughts here in the comments section or at my Twitter account.