Saturday, April 19, 2008

Musical Independence

Today was Independent Music Store Day, but I sincerely hope you've been supporting your local shop more than once this year. Music doesn't exist in an electronic vacuum: it's as much about what you bring to it as what it brings to you. Obtaining music only through one medium-quality downloaded song at a time devalues the work and neuters the creative process, in that it fosters the thinking that art is an unimportant, disposable commodity. It also cheapens our individual lives by isolating us from the world at large. Good music should be as much about communication with each other as it is about instant gratification for your ears. Music is the language of life: how can songs about love, fear, drugs, God and politics mean anything to you if you avoid interacting with the world around you?

So get out there to your shop. Give a spin to something new on the listening station. Find someone looking for a disc in the section of a band you're familiar with and recommend something to them (to the guy I recommended The Cure's "Head On The Door" 2-disc reissue to -- I hope you love it!). Ask an employee what their favorite record is and try it out; maybe even consider breaking out of your comfortable bubble of familiarity and get them to recommend something in a genre you're interested in but know nothing about. (I'll be giving Lee "Scratch" Perry a whirl for the first time this week, myself, courtesy of Portland's own Music Millennium).

Talk to people about which music excites you, and why, then have them share their own picks. You might be pleasantly surprised at what you find out about yourself and others if you only take the time to truly listen. Besides, it's not as if you can't be selective in who you talk to; if you decide not to chat up the strangeling doing the pee-pee dance at the front counter and asking when the next New Kids On The Block cd is coming out, no one will hold it against you.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Some favorite Record Store Day quotes:


"You can't roll a joint on an iPod - buy vinyl!"


"Yes, yes, I know. It's easier to download music, and probably cheaper. But what's playing on your favourite download store when you walk into it?

Nothing, that's what. Who are you going to meet in there? Nobody. Where are the notice boards offering flatshares and vacant slots in bands destined for superstardom? Who's going to tell you to stop listening to that and start listening to this? Go ahead and save yourself a couple of quid. The saving will cost you a career, a set of cool friends, musical taste and, eventually, your soul. Record stores can't save your life. But they can give you a better one."