New Music Resolutions for 2012

Time to change up this rut we're in, music lovers

When the calendar flips from December to January, people hoping to better themselves make lists and check them twice—not of gifts to return, but of resolutions, those seemingly impossible-to-attain goals that allow for a light to flicker at the end of a 52-week-long tunnel. In the spirit of the season, I've come up with a few ideas to make my musical life a happier one in 2012; feel free to co-opt them for your own usage.

Get off the Internet

The first, and probably most important, resolution involves taking a breather from the always-on Internet and its pressure to keep up. When I interviewed musician and composer Gabriel Kahane last year, a large chunk of our conversation focused on the online realm; among his many projects is a piece about Alcoholics Anonymous, and he noted the similarities between Googling and Twitter-searching for something—a life-changing song, a ridiculously witty comment, a band that has yet to be discovered by the blogs—and gambling. "It's like a selective high," he told me. "If you check your e-mail, you don't know that you're going to get high because you might not get an e-mail, which makes it even more insidious. . . . You don't know whether or not you're going to get the result that you want." This might explain why so many anonymous commenters have pH levels rivaling that of hydrochloric acid; quests that are both aimless and fruitless are the most soul-killing kind, and my nights spent aimlessly surfing for a new thing to obsess over can attest to that. In 2012, it's time to close the laptop, put the phone on airplane mode, and maybe do some searching via the tried-and-true method of getting out of the house, whether for crate-digging purposes or taking a chance on a bottom-of-the-bill band at 285 Kent. (As a bonus, the people I run into won't be nearly as nasty in real life as they might be on Brooklyn Vegan.)

Being nicer to Katy Perry: Why not?
Emma Summerton
Being nicer to Katy Perry: Why not?

Exit the cloud

A corollary of the first resolution, though with a slightly different spin. The online music-listening service Spotify is great on its surface—millions of songs just waiting to be played, a seemingly endless library that can have its targets zeroed in on faster than you can say "Tower Records." But there's a certain illusion of completeness provided by Spotify and its streaming-music ilk that comes crashing down when searching out, say, Caramel's "My Tailor Is Rich," a song that appeared on a 7-inch put out by the microlabel Harriet Records in 1996. It is nowhere to be found on Spotify or eMusic, so according to the Internet, it doesn't exist; quite a few artifacts of the recent past are similarly lost to the digital dustbin, which doesn't store lost items inside for later treasure-hunting as much as it obliterates them. And this problem doesn't just exist for musicians from the old days; there are bands now that are holding their music back from the cloud as well, for reasons ranging from the crappy payouts these services offer to their being staunchly anti-digital. While I probably won't give up Spotify as my primary digital-music player—I really love the way it melds the cloud with my existent digital-music collection—being mindful that there are artists and songs existing (and thriving) beyond its search function is important.

Resist retromania

The earlier note about artifacts digitally going out of print doesn't do much to deter people (well, me) from riding the cloud deep into the past, whether through crafting a playlist of bands spotted during the last half-hour of old Headbanger's Ball episodes or spinning through the entire collected works of the Canadian blooze-rock outfit Babe Ruth. But all that rearview-mirror watching means missing new and exciting developments that might shock the system in even more satisfying ways; if nothing else, 36 is way too young to get all Vaseline-lensed about The Way Things Were. (I hope that 72 will be, too.)

Throw out the one-sheets and skip to the songs

How often does the way a piece of music is described by someone else—whether journalist, PR person, blogger, or pal—affect the way that music gets consumed? The endless, wearying debate about Lana Del Rey is probably the best example of this, though so many other subjects of debate in 2011 (Lulu, Kreayshawn, Tyler) can just as easily be swapped in. In 2012, even though it's hard to do in the era of endless commentary, I'm simply going to listen to the music that comes across my transom as if it had landed on my desk like a brick from the sky, saving the context-making and debate-stoking and comment-rubbernecking until after the first (if not the 10th) spin.

Try to say something nice about Katy Perry, even if it's just a compliment about her hair or her outfits or her choice of collaborators

A list of resolutions wouldn't be complete without that one brass-ring goal—the impossible dream that, if achieved, will prove that the person who set out to better herself in this matter succeeded in such a way as to become one of the most impeccable human beings in existence. To that end, I'm going to temper my ire toward the burlesque-lite antics of Katy Perry, the Christian pop singer turned girl-kisser turned perpetual presence atop the Billboard Hot 100 who has served as a thorn in my pop-loving side for nearly four years. All bets are off, though, if she tries to hit No. 1 by releasing a rhinestone-spangled cover of "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)" with a tamed Yelawolf in the role of George Michael.

mjohnston@villagevoice.com

 
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14 comments
DDB9000
DDB9000

Be nice to Katy Perry? Are you effing kidding. She is vapid, usless crap and should be consigned to the dustbin of history. Why do you feel the need to kowtow to her?

JUST SAY NO TO KATY PERRY IN ALL FORMS!!!!

P.S.: Jill Sobule's "I KIssed A Girl" is SO much better - it's actually music!

P.P.S: There was also a British band called Babe Ruth in the 70s. A fairly decent heavy band.

imspinningaround
imspinningaround

All bets are off, though, if she tries to hit No. 1 by releasing a rhinestone-spangled cover of "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)" with a tamed Yelawolf in the role of George Michael.

But Maura...that sounds awesome.

maura
maura

I'm not saying I'll kowtow to her! Just that I'll be less reflexively "ugggh" when I come across her. Life's too short to spend that much energy on annoying things.

anonymous
anonymous

ASIANS CAN ACTUALLY READ MINDS!!!!!!!!!!!!they can hear and see what your visually thinkingthis is the complete truth

The reason a lot of Asians have completely expressionless faces, only associate with Asians and don't associate with non Asians that much, and are very unfriendly in general is to avoid accidentally revealing that they can read minds. If all over a billion Asians where to show facial expressions all the time just as much as non Asians, associate with non Asians much more, and be much more friendly and talkative, then a lot of them might accidentally reveal that they can read minds by accidentally showing a facial expression or dirty look when someone thinks, or visually pictures something in their mind they don't like, find astonishing, or funny etc because those people might see that and and really wonder what that was that just happened there and see the connection, if they all associated with non Asians a lot more then there would be a lot more people around for them to accidentally show facial expressions when those people think things they don't like etc, so they only associate with Asians so there won't be anyone around for them to see that and have any accidents happen in the first place.

Think about it, it's not normal how a lot of them act, it's not normal human behavior! and the entire way they act is all to hid their mind reading abilities, it makes perfect sense to do all of that to hide that they can read minds, because all of that is the perfect way to do it!Every single Asian alive is hiding their mind reading abilities, they will always deny that they can read minds, they will lie about having mind reading abilities forever!!!Because they value hiding their mind reading abilities more then their own lives! That's why nobody knows about it!

Try thinking, best yet visually picturing in your mind something absolutely crazy as you possibly can when you are around Asians, and try looking for Asians who give people particular looks, especially dirty looks for what appears to be for completely no reason, that is them giving people looks when they hear and visually see someone thinking something they don't like, find astonishing, or funny etc.It still happens spite a large percentage of Asians having completely expressionless faces all the time, it would just happen a lot more if none of them had completely expressionless faces all the time, it's still not uncommon!

I know this sounds crazy, impossible and completely unbelievable, BUT IT ISN'T CRAZY WHEN ITS TRUE

The reason you think this truly is crazy, impossible, and unbelievable is because our society as propagandized us into believing that nothing extra ordinary is real, and that it is impossible that people can read minds, and that it is crazy to think that it's true that people can read minds, all just to cover up that Asians can read minds! who says that can't exist? the people who have mind reading abilities who are trying to cover it up!

You all have to spread the message!!!!!The world has to know about this!!!!!

maura
maura

Why on earth would I lie about that?

Ryan
Ryan

Fefe Dobson and brostep is one thing...the erstwhile Mrs. Brand is quite another

maura
maura

SAVE YELAWOLF

RealAmerican
RealAmerican

Too many FUCKING CHINKS in America ! Deport All of Them

CJ Strongbow
CJ Strongbow

The issue of the writer's age seems irrelevant, particularly now, when we are faced with a calamity of epidemic proportions. I am speaking of course of...ASIAN MIND CONTROL!

HAH!

maura
maura

You had an answer for whatever disappointment I'd express, didn't you. Fess up.

Dyspeptic skeptic
Dyspeptic skeptic

In other words, you want to be reassured you're still youngish.

maura
maura

And here I was hoping you'd make a slam against my immaturity. Oh well.

 
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