I have an idea I think will snap me out of my blog-rut. So I’m going to put it down and send it out into the ether now, before I either forget it or find some reason to weasel out of it.
I recently read a column by John Roderick, frontman of indie band the Long Winters, who made a thought-provoking case against year-end Top Ten album lists.
Among other points, he suggested that albums take time to get to know, and the point is not to race through them just to put another notch in one’s belt. He wrote:
The people making records are still spending months and years on them, while the people buying them are munching through them like corn chips. Slow down.
What I propose to do wouldn’t make Roderick happy; it’s still pretty short-term in nature.
But it might help me discover some new music, rediscover some old stuff — and, most importantly, think critically about it and spend some time letting it soak in. I don’t do very much of that when I acquire new music.
My idea, then:
Take a single recording and listen to nothing else for a week. Literally nothing else, at least not of my own volition. Put it on in the car; spin it at home; listen while I surf the Net.
And then write about it. Did it move me? Why did I choose it? What were the high points or low points? Were there any, even? What does it mean to me? After a full week, I better be able to come up with something to say … though I suppose it would say something if I couldn’t.
By “single recording,” I don’t mean a 45-rpm single. I mean a single bundle of thematically related music.
It could be a conventionally released album. It could be a local performer’s Bandcamp release. (High time I got back to those.) It could be a bootleg concert recording, or a Grateful Dead show, or one of those CDs of the tide rolling in and out.
(I’ve got one or two ideas already for stuff that people might not expect out of me, which I kind of enjoy.)
I think I’ve moved toward writing less frequently, anyway. This seems like a good framework in which to do that, while still assuring I have some grist for the mill.
So let’s see how I do. If I don’t stick to it, feel free to kick me in the ass.