Dear readers, musicians, producers, venues owners, fellow writers, PR reps, HUMAN BEINGS,
You’ve made it.
Regardless of what’s going on around you, you made it to the end of another year and even better still another decade. Music made in this time has zigged, zagged, been cause for celebration, rage, sadness, frustration, love, support, inspiration, and every emotion in-between. This isn’t new. Every decade we as a collective of music lovers, look back with a combination of delight, nostalgia, and a touch of “good riddance!” at what songs and musicians came along with this ten year flow of time. The arrival of 2020 will be no different in that regard.
What is different however, is the way we as people have now chosen to look at and listen (or not) to one another over the course of our everyday lives. There is a palpable air of tension rising up in the world and it has permeated even what is typically the most commercially unflappable material of the last five or so years. Tempos have slowed, dynamics have risen, adjectives have gotten dark, instruments have been made to stomp, drag, and skulk – likely a response to the overall sense of stress and anxiety that has managed to grab onto us in every facet of living outside of listening to music.
This isn’t a political website. What it is though, is a place in the web that has always been, and will continue to be, dedicated to exploring sounds and messages less heard and-or understood, in an effort to then share those under appreciated aspects of the industry with a broader audience worldwide. To that end, one can imagine that if the core aspiration for music found here is one rooted in open-mindedness, that it stands to reason open-mindedness and patience for what’s different, would be two qualities I would strive to highlight as a member of the music community even in non-musical contexts. And so, I look back the last ten years and in noticing the shift from happy, interconnected optimism to angry, immovable cynicism and hope that as the calendar flips to a new year and new decade, we can all be reminded of the good of which we all are capable. Musicians after all, so often write and create from personal experience and from behind their personal emotional lenses. Thus, the more heavy and unrelenting negativity that swirled around public discourse, the more those painful sentiments risk dragging down one of the precious few activities that can cross boundaries, languages, cultures, and human experiences.
What we put into the world comes back around eventually so perhaps as 2020 begins, if you are a songwriter, maybe try writing a song that looks out from behind someone else’s lens. See if that can inspire an understanding of perspective. Notice I didn’t say “inspire agreement” but “understanding.” If you’re instead a listener and fan of music, perhaps consider listening with the perspective of someone who says they absolutely LOVE a new song. Ask them why they love it. Then listen to that new song again, with those reasons in mind. Doing so might not affect your own reaction to the song at all but if nothing else, you might be able to understand why someone else is moved by it in an enjoyable way.
Humanity needs to get back outside: outside and away from social media, outside of our own heads when we’re having a conversation, and outside of the idea that the world is an us or them, pop or classical, old or young, Spotify or Bandcamp (Okay no, that’s still “only Bandcamp, not Spotify”)…[Insert dry sarcasm here]
Mind you, neither of these small gestures is going to change the world. But it can’t hurt to start injecting more patience, positivity, and perspective into things that aren’t giant international political movements or life-and-death decisions. If we all start small and within ourselves with little introspective acts like these, that extra bit of awareness could eventually move into the larger aspects of our lives and our shared world.
And who wouldn’t love to consider that one day, music could SAVE THE WORLD?
Here’s to more years of music, musicians, new places, new stories, and new personal journeys within the world. May all sides of the human condition come to shine through song and may this one spot on the web be so lucky as to find and share these things with a better connected.
Happy New Year to all of you out there!!
Be safe, be happy, be healthy, and turn up a song that warms your heart as you ring in January 1st.