So for the last 93 days I have done a blog entry a day, writing about a song randomly selected by my iPod’s shuffle feature. I currently have a collection of 9075 songs on the iPod, so that equates to just over 1% of the songs on there. I’ve been thinking a lot about what, if anything, I have learned from doing this project. Honestly, I don’t think there have been any great revelations but there are a handful of things worth noting:
1) I DID IT! I’ve never really been a particularly regular writer. Over the years I’ve written zines and essays for random projects, as well as a couple blogs, but ever since leaving college, writing has rarely been a regular part of my life. Over the years I have tried forcing myself into developing a daily writing habit multiple times. Every time I have failed. Usually after two or three days. To have made it through 93 days is a pretty big accomplishment. I’m not really sure about the quality of the writing, but I consistently forced myself to write, which was a big win for me.
2) Speaking to that issue of quality, I know in this particular case this didn’t produce my best quality. Finding out your assignment in the morning and having to finish it that day is something that probably rarely gives off best results, but these were the parameters that I set myself. Many days I felt like if I just had a little bit more time to listen to the song, the album or the entire catalog of a particular artist, if I could have sat down with their lyrics a bit more, I would have written a bit more of a thoughtful piece. But factor in all the other stuff that goes into my regular day – working full-time, cooking meals, band practice, playing and promoting shows, going on bike trips, etc and I realize that most days I was probably willing to only dedicate about an hour to each write-up.
3) Certainly I knew this before I went into this, but I am not a music writer. My ability to write about music is not very good. Contrasting, comparing and discussing the components of different songs and musicians is not a strong point. This was the most difficult part for me. While many days I focused my writings on how I became familiar with a musician/song or a personal story that related to the day’s song, I often found myself wanting to talk about the mechanics of the song itself but I feel like I have a very limited vocabulary there. Hopefully you found my baby-talk attempts to explain different musical elements endearing.
4) I was both surprised and not surprised at how many of the artists I covered I had experienced through Emma. Music was a big part of what brought us together and a big part of what fills our lives to this day, so to that end, it shouldn’t have been surprising. However, many days I would get my song and then the first thing that would pop into my head was “Oh! I know this song because of Emma.” I guess I really don’t think of the last decade or so as a period of a lot of musical discovery (see point #5 below), but the amount of songs/musicians brought into my life by Emma proves otherwise. This can probably be attributed to our 7-year age difference and slightly different musical upbringings, which means that we are both constantly able to bring new parts of our musical past and present into our relationship. 9 times out of 10 this is a good thing as we have generally pretty similar tastes but occasionally there are those things that we have to tell the other “You’ll need to listen to this on your own time.”
5) There was this study that says that people stop listening to new music after they turn 33. I have to admit that so much of what I have on my ipod is music that I was exposed to probably by the time I was in my mid 30’s. I still seek out some new music but the rate of new music consumption has surely slowed down. Most of the new music I purchase these days is by bands that I have already been listening to for quite awhile. That being said, I fucking hate people who say that there is no good music being made anymore or that the stuff being made by younger kids is shit. There’s plenty of good, new stuff out there, just my interest in hunting it down has been diminished over the years.
So, now what? I’m not sure. I want to try to continue writing. I’m not sure what form that would take. I’m not sure to what extent the world needs to hear the voice of another primarily hetero, roughly middle-class, white, cis-male, right? But I like to think that I have some interesting stuff to say. If you’ve ever thought to yourself “I wonder what Q thinks about [insert topic here]?”, please let me know. I’d be glad to talk about it. Otherwise I’ll probably get back to talking about biking adventures and homeowning adventures and i’m gonna try to get back to doing some of the “Communitea Bike Share” video interviews I did last summer (see the ones with Karen Brooks and Steevo).
Thanks to the few of you who consistently read the “Season of Songs” posts. It was nice to see that somebody was checking these things out on a regular basis. Without that, I’m not sure I would have made it all the way through.
PS – I made a playlist of the 93 songs from this project. It is just seconds shy of 5 hours worth of music. I tried uploading it to a shareable place online but the upload kept failing on our shitty internet here at Torley Manor but if anyone would really like that playlist, get in touch and i’ll get it to you.