Seemed like only yesterday this writer donned that goofy pair of glasses to ring in 2012. Well, we've beat the apocalypse and now look forward to 2013 with a renewed sense of purpose and extremely eager ears. Here are some of our music-related resolutions:
Give unfamiliar artists or genres a greater chance I hope to expand my aural comfort circle this year. Admittedly, I haven't been a real fan of rap or r&b since my Mariah Carey Music Box and Kriss Kross days, so it's time to give those genres a fairer shake. Keeping my fingers inserted into my ear canals could have prevented me from enjoying the silky Miguel record. This goes for country, too. True, today's country is practically pop, but a stroll in the bluegrass wouldn't hurt me.
Listen to at least one album per week, in full, while doing nothing else I have a moral responsibility to stop treating music as just background noise. It's time to once again experience the Album as bands intended: No breaks, in chronological order, with no distractions but whatever pictures your mind paints as you truly listen.
Play guitar at least every other day A tough personal one. As much as I love my ax (a custom Fender Strat) and am super stoked to play around with GarageBand on my new computer, I too often get the "I dunwannas." Won't help if I want to get somewhere with this passion.
No more free rides when it comes to albums This is the most significant and hardest to adhere to. Exceptions will come from press materials, but I've too long relied on streaming services - especially Spotify - to continue to sate my acoustic needs. Confession: I've probably listened to Santigold's Master of My Make Believe a good hundred times but have yet to actually purchase the album. As a music journalist, I can relate to artists' woes about not getting paid for their work (thank you, PhantEye, for being an outlet that does compensate me! You rock!). So it's hypocritical to me to devalue bands' output by not bartering with cash.
Paying for an album these days is actually way less financially stressing than it used to be. Whereas we used to be expected to cough up $18.99 for even the most sub-par music at chain stores, we can now easily sacrifice one cuppa Starbucks for a phenomenal, life-changing collection of tunes. Amazon is especially gracious for its occasional $3.99 MP3 albums sales. I take advantage of this frequently, but that also leads to my next resolution:
Buy directly from the source as often as possible Radiohead, Amanda Palmer and so many others have shifted the paradigm in the artist/fan relation, all but eliminating the middle man of retailers or record companies. In doing so, we can take heart that the funds are going directly to the musicians we so love. True, bands must shift the cost burden to buyers and therefore tend to charge a smidge more than those Amazon sales, but the reward is often personalized gifts (via Kickstarter and other DIY outlets) and the warmth of making sure that, as our homies at Filter magazine put it, good music will prevail.