I was invited to take part in a five day music challenge on Facebook by a friend and all I had to do was pick a song a day for five days. Easy hey? Little did I think about how difficult I was actually going to find it.
The thing is, I love music, but my relationship to it has greatly changed.
The friend who tagged me in the challenge shared a lot of my musical tastes and discoveries during my early twenties. We went to see bands all the time and would often buy the same albums and listen to them at the weekend whilst talking about life, work and dreams. The Red Hot Chilli Peppers, My Bloody Valentine, Ride and a whole host of other indie bands were blowing our minds.
It was a fantastic time and music then was an investment and a gamble. You often had to judge an album on its cover and also on the label and the other artists who shared it. There was the Chart Show that had a five minute Indie slot where you might learn about another band.
Buying an album was therefore quite a commitment. You had to listen to the whole album, because you had spent money on it. You paid attention to every song and you would know the song order. If the album was a good one then it would be played over and over becoming the soundtrack to conversations and the explorations of life.
Music and its lyrics expressed my emotions in a way that nothing else did and I found refuge and relief in albums that expressed my feelings about the world and articulated things that I hardly knew anything about.
From vinyl, to CDs to iPods to Pandora, to Spotify and Mixcloud my approach to music has become very different.
There is no commitment to any band when I tap on the discovery button. Some songs don't even get past 30 seconds if they are not able to instantaneously match my mood.
Albums I like and listen to the whole way through get forgotten about when I next look for something. My thirst for newness and my bad memory make it easy to keep clicking and scrolling or just listening to dj sets where the songs are never identified.
If I do actually like an artist and remember their name then they might make it to the 'radio' stage where Spotify will then deliver similar artists and titles in an endless stream that is only interrupted by adverts at increased volume.
I'm not complaining. I think it's pretty amazing. The stuff that dreams are made off. After the years of searching for artists that I like I really appreciate being able to discover new music for free.
It's me that's the problem. I don't spend the time researching and getting to know a band anymore and rely instead on recommendations from an algorithm.
So when I was invited to take part in the challenge my head started to spin as I started to question what music from the past I still liked and what music from the present I could actually remember.
I think I only made it to day 2 of the challenge and I think those two days were Tabitha inspired Disney songs!
I started listening to old albums, some Alanis Morrisette, The Cocteau Twins, Julian Cope, looking for songs that could some how sum up the best of all the music I loved. Even listing those artists now seems really limited and more a result of a transient mood than any real evaluation or judgement of worthiness.
I couldn't pick single songs out of old albums anymore than I could pick single songs out of new ones. The task that looked so simple was actually vast!
I still don't think I could pick five songs... How could I? But it's been quite a fun journey and it's made me think and appreciate the importance of music and the people that I share it with.
I'd love to know your favourite artists, albums or anything musical you'd like to share!
Thank you for reading.
Best wishes and fairy kisses.