As I deal with fatherhood, a career shift and various and other sundry things dealing with the existence of a man settling into life, I've started to look back on my past and think about how I interact with life differently than I used to. Or, I saw Everybody Wants Some! and the dreaded nostalgia is sweeping into my brain (great fun btw, go see it). Either way, I figured it was time to contemplate how I listen to music and how its changed over the last, let's say 20 years, or so. Some of these are because I've become a victim of my career and the volume of music I receive, others are because we view music differently.
1. THEN: I would buy a CD and the first thing I would do after pressing play would be to analyze every word of the liner notes; who was thanked, who played on the record, any funny dedications (Shoutout to Tim Quirk and Too Much Joy for the best liner notes ever), etc.
NOW: I note who the publicist is, maybe find out where they are from and read about the first 2 lines of the press release.
2. THEN: I'd put on headphone and try to listen to every instrument I could figure out in the mix. I'd try to ascertain if these guys were good players, or if they were just going fast and loose, sloppy and raw. I'd analyze the production and really dig down into what I was hearing and how it affected the song
NOW: Is it a good song? Does it echo in my brain after I hear it? Does it stay with me after I hit stop or leave my office to grab a drink of water?
3. THEN: I'd try to buy tickets to a show as soon as it was announced and count down the days until it was here. I'd listen to every note the band every put out to memorize the words so I could sing them back to the band.
NOW: This one won't win me any friends, but I wait to see if I can get on the list and if I can, I usually ask about a week prior to tickets. Obnoxious I realize, but one of the perks of doing what I do.
4. THEN: Stay to the very very very very end, no matter how late, hoping I hear 3 encores and get home a hoarse-throated, sweaty mess
NOW: I usually won't even go if i find out the band goes on after 10pm. Hey, I got a 21 month old at home. Waking up with ringing in your ears, and whiskey on your brain to go grab a bottle isn't fun. When I do go, if I'm not entertained by the first half hour, unless its a band that I truly know every word, I may head home, or catch up with a friend at the bar. Part of this is my fault, but I also think a lot of bands don't road test themselves anymore. They go from bedroom laptop to putting together an act for a festival. They're not focusing on the live craft. And I don't care if you think its hard to entertain with hazy, dreamy, lap-pop, go look at Chvrches. That's basically all electronic and those kids SLAY it live.
5. THEN: Focused on who the artist was associated with. Did they have cool acts they toured with or were they just another piece of corporate crap. Who was guesting on their albums. Were they "COOL" and did they receive a great review in Rolling Stone or Mojo or Q.
NOW: See #2. Is it a good song?