Friday, August 17, 2007

MUSIC: Growing Pains

I will assume for the purposes of this writing that at least a few people who are reading this that collect records (AKA CDs/Tapes/LPs, whatever). The mindset of this kind of person (and I include myself) is that when you find an artist that you like, you will purchase most records that they put out, regardless of any inconsistent critical favour. This habit for me started in high school, at the outset of my first McJob when I realized I could spend all this money I was getting on music. If I liked The Colour and the Shape by the Foo Fighters, I had every reason to buy One By One and every other record by them. (However, that example is perhaps a bit "cooler" than was typically the case, for the purposes of not embarassing myself.)

Since this happened in high school, and I have grown a bit in terms of maturity and taste (as you all have as well). The artists that wrote all of my favourite songs, as strange as it may seem, have also grown, albeit through different life stages (This is not always the case, as Billy Corgan always believed he was a fucking genius.). Consequently, they're going to keep putting out records that reflect their current emotional state. In some unfortunate cases, these emotional states are motivated primarily by money, but this is not the case that I am talking about specifically.

So, you go off to college and a band you liked in high school comes out with a new CD. But since their last CD, you've discovered tons of new material that is much more artistically challenging, and better reflects your current existence. You like this band, but they're not your holy grail.

It's like buying Weezer's Make Believe (Which I haven't yet, partially prompting this writing) after you've gotten into Tom Waits. There's nothing particularly bad about the album, but they no longer occupy the same space on your "My 50 Favourite Bands" list (Come to think of it, I should write one of those, just to satiate my own curiosity in 20 years.).

(Speaking of Weezer, what the hell is with them claiming that they are either breaking up or 'have written and are demoing 8000 new songs' after every album?)

There are however, bands whose output changes drastically with time. Or maybe it doesn't, but you change the point where their current artistic (irony-quotes omitted) output is kind of alienating, and maybe even insulting to your past associations with them. It's like being friends with a quasi-outgoing sort of person who liked intelligent punk rock, and was maybe a little too much into Chomsky.

You meanwhile leave town, and eventually come back for Thanksgiving/Christmas/Etc., and decide to call this person up. They have since stopped reading altogether, don't really listen to anything worth noting and do nothing but smoke pot and play GTA all day in their parent's basement.

I will buy bad records by artists that I love if I think they are going to go somewhere interesting eventually. But there comes a point where you have to sever ties with crappy music from your past. I have a few bands that I'm still toting around in my head, thinking "I still don't have their newest album...", with part of me knowing that it will never happen. It's the equivalent of "taking a break" in a relationship, or falling out of touch with old friends. It's most likely not going to start up again, and I'll probably never buy another Unwritten Law album.

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