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Grayscale Photography of Music Instrument

It’s not always about being on the cutting edge. Sometimes, as hard as it can be to slow yourself down, it’s just about living in the moment and taking it all in.

An interesting thing happened to my perception of music over time. If you were to go back to my heyday on this website – let’s say 2010-2012 just for argument’s sake – everything changed my life. That heartfelt guitar solo. The lyric about overcoming depression. The slow burner that paralleled my own rage boiling beneath the surface. Everything was so relatable. Every moment within the music mattered.

Now, I can barely feel it.

The music plays, and I can discern (certainly to a debatable extent among some of you) the quality albums from the poor ones. Occasionally I’ll get wrapped up in a moment, but then that moment passes and I move on to the next one. Gone are the days where an album would imprint itself upon my life; there’s no Southern Air that defines my marriage the way that pop-punk slice of summer originally did for my most meaningful relationship. There is no The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me that makes me question my faith in 2020. I’ve tried in vain to find an album to emotionally attach to the birth of my son, but I keep coming up empty-handed. Maybe I’m burned out, or maybe I’m just getting way too old for this shit.

I was listening to Band of Horses for the first time in…uh, maybe eight years…tonight, and I got a shiver up my spine during “The Funeral”.  Not the figure of speech – a real, actual spine-tingling sensation that extended from my back up to my neck that caused my hairs to stand on-end. That gross image notwithstanding, I miss that feeling – and I got it from a band I haven’t even paid any attention to for damn close to a decade.

My mortality crosses my mind a lot for someone who is, relatively speaking, still very young. I think about the existential aspect of it of course, but then there’s all the dumb stuff: what random items laying around my house is some stranger going to find and wonder what I was doing with my life? Oh god, will someone delete my internet search history? A lot of it is humorous and anecdotal, but I do often wonder when the last time I’ll listen to an artist is. My library can be measured in terabytes. Had I not been in a particularly nostalgic mood, would I have ever heard “The Funeral” again? At some point, we’ve all heard a song for the last time. It’s something to think about.

Since thinking is something I can’t help but overdo, I spent about an hour before writing this article taking a trip down memory lane. The cool thing about iTunes besides the fact that it’s practically vintage at this point is that it stores your music chronologically. For the first time I can remember, I looked back at my entire library just for the sake of evaluating my musical timeline. I encountered so many wonderful releases that I used to hail in reviews: 2019 – Low Roar’s Ross. 2018 – Shakey Graves’ Can’t Wake Up. 2017 – Benjamin Clementine’s I Tell a Fly. 2016 – Racing Glaciers’ Caught In The Strange. This continued all the way back until the beginning of my musical library in 2006 (Annuals’ Be He Me, for those who care). The unifying theme? I’ve barely listened to any of them.

As I’d scroll through, I’d stop to let a song play and then keep scrolling. I could barely finish a single track before I’d encounter yet another song/album that I just had to hear again because it’s been years – and then I realized that’s how I’ve been approaching music since at least 2015. It’s been an onslaught of new material; a thirst for staying current that could never possibly be quenched. This week alone I reviewed four albums, and all I could think of was a way to fit reviewing the new Anchor & Braille into my schedule. I love writing, and reviews are my passion. But it’s not always about being on the cutting edge. Sometimes, as hard as it can be to slow yourself down, it’s just about living in the moment and taking it all in. That’s something I haven’t done in a decade – possibly longer – and I intend to start caring about music again. That’s why I’ll be taking an indefinite hiatus from reviewing after my 500th submission.

To be clear, this isn’t a retirement announcement – I’m still going to be here in all the same capacities and functions, probably abusing the hell out of the blog to satisfy my writing fix – the output just won’t be in the form of reviews. The itch to get reviews out on a regular basis has gotten in the way of my ability to naturally absorb, break down, and remember music. I’m tired of taking up the front page in what has got to appear to others as a vanity complex. I’m tired of spending hours writing reviews that I don’t even read myself more than a few times before they cycle out of sight and mind. The time has come for me to evolve. Where that will take me is uncertain, although I do know that it will be for the best.  I have enough projects to keep me occupied, and I expect to let that creativity unfurl following the punctuation of my active reviewing career. If and when I do return with an album review, I expect it to be a rarer occurrence – one that will hopefully be full of the passion and zest for life that I used to extract from music all the time, back when it meant the world to me. I hope it’s still possible for me to relate to music like that. If so, I can’t wait to share that feeling again.





SowingSeason
05.28.20
I've said this before, but I mean it this time. Life is moving fast, and sitting down to churn out 40-50 reviews a year just isn't realistic anymore...even though my passion for writing hasn't waned. I have a lot of exciting ideas for the blog that I plan on implementing, and the rest of the time I'll continue supporting the site in whatever ways I can from an administrative standpoint. Thanks to those of you who have followed along with my reviews all these years. It's been a wild ride, and I have some exciting prospects for my last 14. Hopefully #500 will be a legacy-sealer. ;)

DrGonzo1937
05.28.20
I was going to comment on your Woods review on Sunday but forgot to, saying how I admire your reviewing output -- it's really something else. It would be a real shame to see a dip in the number of reviews you do, but I totally get what you're saying. Reviewing constantly (at least for me) can make everything a little hazy at times, and it's not always possible to really absorb and appreciate music the same way if you are constantly reviewing all the time -- at least imo anyway.

TheNotrap
05.28.20
Sometimes we need a break to come back stronger and clear-headed. I sincerely hope that you remain active on the site, as you are a relevant part of this community.

SowingSeason
05.28.20
Thanks guys, hopefully this doesn't seem dramatic, I've just gotten to a point where my reviews feel more like going through the motions than actively adding something of value to the site. I'm definitely not leaving, just redirecting my interests. Hopefully the blog will come alive in the next few years, and I have some other plans as well.

Ray91
05.28.20
To be honest, I can clearly identify with what your expressing here. In the past I basically used to connect with everything and enjoyed a lot more music for just kicking my gears. may it be on a deeply emotional level or just for being fun, bobbing your head or whatever. Nowadays it gets kinda hard to really find something that gives you some kind of relieve that certain albums you discovered during your growing up phase give you. I think that has to do with over saturation in the modern age and the fact that you kind of get in an autopilot mode when listening to music. Maybe some over-analyzing on top of that. It's really hard to point out the exact reasons but I'm really feeling you. Even the existential aspects of your thoughts you're expressing. Never had such thoughts before but lately I've been thinking a lot about death itself and how others perceive me. Hitting my 30's next year and I wonder if this is normal all the time. But reading that same mindspace from someone I don't know in person leads me to believe it somehow is. Sorry for that lengthy post but I'm feeling you man

JesusCage
05.28.20
Yeah, this crossed my mind and I dont even do reviews! You got my simpathy Sowing! But keep content domingo. cheers!

JesusCage
05.28.20
Sorry for the double post. And where it's written domingo it should be coming! Sorry :D

garas
05.28.20
You gotta spare some time to re-visit old albums as well. Having those "shiver up my spine"-type of feelings are most precious.

DrGonzo1937
05.28.20
"Hitting my 30's next year and I wonder if this is normal all the time."

can confirm, living in your 30s brings a consistent flow of intense, existential musings

osmark86
05.28.20
haha yeah, the 30s are strange times indeed. not quite young, not quite old. just somewhere in limbo.

Ray91
05.28.20
yeah it really is. I think slowly becoming a real adult and reflecting on where you wanted to be during your early 20's and where you are when you hit the 30 can be really frustrating. Especially since comparisons to other friends or acquaintances are unevitable and become a sport somehow

Dewinged
05.28.20
Wait til your hit the 40s. That's when the I'm gonna die tomorrow fun really starts.

500 reviews is quite the milestone Sow but nothing has to be definitive. Do what you feel is right when you feel is right.

SowingSeason
05.28.20
I'm only a little over 30 but can also confirm. In my 20s I still felt like everything was in front of me. Now, life is somewhat figured out and I feel pretty blessed in that regard - but in the same sense, taking "me time" is becoming more and more a thing of the past. These reviews take up a lot of time, and approaching the site from less of a clinical perspective (digest new release, write about it, move on) and more of a free one (blog when I want to, write about whatever) feels like the right way to ease into a more mature stage where I won't always have hours on-end to obsess over music. Plus, I can devote more time to the back-end like fixing botched artwork, which has become a perpetual thorn in everyone's side.

SowingSeason
05.28.20
And yeah nothing is definitive per se, I wanted to leave the door open to review again should something really affect/motivate me. It just won't be my primary focus, I guess. I'm looking at 500 as a nice milestone to effectively hang up the keyboard should I, for whatever reason, not return to reviews.

osmark86
05.28.20
I get what you mean. 20s is the age where eveyrthing is ahead of you and the 30s is more of a place where you contemplate decisions and where you are etc. I must say that overall I've been more comfortable in my own skin in my 30s than overall in my 20s. still kind of miss the reckless abandom of the younger years but also...no hahahah. it's what it is.

SowingSeason
05.28.20
Oh I definitely miss it. I really don't party anymore or do much that garners a "rush", and when I do, it just isn't the same when everyone is married and you all go home afterwards to put your kids to bed or whatever. Of course, I've reached almost all my family/relational goals - whereas in my early 20s there was always the underlying worry/discontent that I wouldn't ever meet that person. It's a tradeoff, but that's growing up.

Ray91
05.28.20
i found myself changing a lot during my 20's actually. I think over time you really look at possible decisions and surroundings more carefully be it persons you let or not let into your life or music. You become more digestive with the time you have while you get older, mainly caused by the circumstance that you acknowledge the fact that the time you have really is precious and numbered. I think the same goes goes for music and can also be transferred to writing somehow. But maybe we should just stop overthinking and blast some Death metal, write a review or take a nap, what do i know

ChoccyPhilly
05.28.20
More blogs like this pls

I always wonder how you guys get through so many albums so quickly. If i really want an album to leave a sizeable impression, I will listen to it on and off for a week but then I only get through at best 4-5 a week. Sometimes I also feel like I'm forcing myself to find the next best thing without fully appreciating and imprinting albums I'm listening to now

SowingSeason
05.28.20
Yeah I started to feel different in my mid-20s, but getting married and having a kid is what changed my lifestyle the most. I don't think the average person would overthink music and writing to this extent, but it's admittedly a pretty big part of my life. After putting 12 years into this place with no end in sight, I just want to shift how I contribute towards a style that is more conducive to someone in my situation. That's really all this is.

SowingSeason
05.28.20
@Choccy I think everyone here including myself likes to pretend they listen to more music than they do. I've never reviewed an album I haven't heard in full, but I've definitely written about releases before giving them a chance to fully sink in. I do think that's part of being a competitive music publication (if you can still call us that), but it comes with the downside of looking back in regret at some of your opinions.

ChoccyPhilly
05.28.20
Did you do the same in your early 20s when things left a larger emotional impression? Or did you put more brain power in your listens then? Not to say you don't now but in your 30s, it's understandable where your priorities lie

SowingSeason
05.28.20
I wouldn't say I put less effort into my reviews now, I'd say they're hopefully even better than they were in my 20s, but I think it's just a matter of IRL conflicts. I've always felt an obligation to keep up with new releases, and it's almost obsessive at this point. I end up discarding releases that I've loved by the next week's batch of albums. My senses are inundated with new sounds constantly to the point that I'm questioning what I'm even retaining. I just want to slow down, ditch the sense of obligation, and shift my priorities.

Relinquished
05.28.20
nothing wrong with switching gears. burn-outs come and go. I was on a huge electronic kick and since the pandemic there was no reason to turn-up and I reverted back to filthy metal. my marriage is about to turn 9 and the kid's at 5. I built some neurotic habit of having my headphones with and on me at most times in between windows of opportunity, which are enough in my day-to-day missions. It's been fun cratediggin the internet with the site but life moves on and responsibilities shift. ya gotta change it up for the soul. Sometimes I gotta go from Meshuggah's Destroy Erase Improve to Wolfe's Dine Exercise Invent-some-shit.

WatchItExplode
05.28.20
I hit 40 in a couple months. It's an odd mix of worrying about my imminent death and trying to get my affairs in order so I can enjoy my "golden years". That said, last year was incredibly impactful musically, after half a dozen humdrum years, so you can get it back! Maybe some us can pick up the slack while you sort things out Sowing, wish you well.

SowingSeason
05.28.20
I think a lot of it too is just not seeing a point in going beyond 500. Not that there has to be an official milestone to end reviews on, but if not 500, then when? 1000? I know myself well enough that I won't be able to help myself, and it'll end up being an off-number like 507 or 513. Maybe I'm just being OCD about it. Regardless, 500 is a nice round number to at least approach with good intentions of slowing down. I have all kinds of blog ideas that I can't wait to unleash; hopefully they'll take off in a way that actually invites participation.

Atari
05.28.20
Thanks for sharing, Sowing. I can relate to a lot of this. I've never been as prolific as you with my writing but I've also been taking time to try to recharge my battery lately. I'll try to write a review but it ends up feeling forced so I just don't post it if the passion isn't there. I've also been enjoying a lot of older music as well and as you know Paper Walls really clicked with me suddenly and that album's 13 years old, haha. There's definitely a lot of great music we don't take the time to fully digest and appreciate when our focus is to hear as many new releases as possible every week. been trying to find a better balance. good luck with everything!!

SowingSeason
05.28.20
Thanks Atari! I think that's a good way to put it - a battery recharge. Seems right around every 4 years I feel this way. Only difference now is certain life circumstances, but even in the future I still expect to be contributing actively albeit via different formats.

TheSpirit
05.28.20
this post breaks down the same thoughts and feelings i've had towards reviewing/listening to music for awhile now... the race to review the next big new thing absolutely kills any true appreciation for the music

osmark86
05.28.20
Maybe it's us lazy enjoyers of the community who should pick up some slack then ^^

EoinCofa
05.29.20
Sowing, I hope you keep contributing. There are a lot of talented writers on here but your reviews have been some of my favorites ever (even better than most of the reviews from Pitchfork, Q, Fader, and Under the Radar)

PistolPete
05.29.20
I’m almost 30 now and this same exact thing is happening when I listen to music too. Nothing imprints itself on me anymore.

Willie
05.29.20
Sowing, you know I totally understand where you're coming from. My 2019 Year End List talked about all of this kind of stuff. I basically 'quit' new music for the year except for from bands that I really liked and already had a history with. No new bands, no new albums from bands I didn't grow up with. It was 90% my favorites that I could just sit down and listen to without feeling like I needed to be writing the review in my head at the same time. It really helped cleanse the pallet and remind me why I loved music in the first place.

AsleepInTheBack
05.29.20
Interesting piece, Sowing. I have wondered how you manage to churn out so many reviews so quickly, and it wouldn't surprise me at all that it could take some of the joy out of the process of engaging with new music. There is an odd disconnect between the speed with which one has to assess a new release in order to make the write up timely and relevant vs. how most of us (I think) naturally enjoy getting to know a piece of music much more slowly, as and when the feeling takes us. Jamming the same record incessantly over a short period for the sake of forming a coherent take on it as quickly as possible (even if all it could ever really achieve is a first impressions piece) does frustrate me, yet I still do it from time to time.

In terms of the 'barely feeling it' aspect, I also relate, though more to my old favourites, which I'm starting to lose touch with. I don't get that 'feeling' anymore when I listen to (what I have regarded for years as) my favourite record. I guess I need to find a new fave.

SowingSeason
05.29.20
@EoinCofa: That's awesome of you to say and I'm humbled, even if I doubt they're on par with some of those publications you mentioned. I'll continue contributing just in a different way and using different site platforms other than reviews. You might see the occasional review beyond 500 but it'll be rare.

@Pistol: Must be an age 30 thing, seems to be a theme haha

@Willie: It's funny because halfway through writing this I remembered that post and realized how much the ideas paralleled. I'll be doing something similar, not necessarily eliminating new artists from the menu, but definitely spending a lot of time on one release and attempting to develop a bond with the music. I'm definitely not quitting so much as just shifting priorities. Hope to light up the blog and news sections in the coming years.

@Asleep: You summarized it pretty well. A lot of the time I'm listening to an album trying to think of what I'll say about it rather than just experiencing it for what it is. Willie said the same thing and you're both right - it's exactly how I feel and what I do right now. That combined with the ease of access to streams has made it much more difficult for any one album to actually impact me in a meaningful way.

AsleepInTheBack
05.29.20
I do think it cuts both ways though, because reviewing a record can force you to focus your mind on what it is that makes the record tick, or what grounds your opinion (obviously), which can be rewarding if you're able to remove the time pressure / overthinking element.

SowingSeason
05.29.20
That's very true. There's some records I never would have fallen for had I not committed to reviewing them.

taylormemer
05.29.20
I relate to this. I remember when I actively sought new music seeking that feeling of new discovery it was like a drug. This site and reviewing was instrumental in that. But, nowadays I tend to just stick with what's safe, what I know. Occasionally something will pass by, but damn. I did not expect to get to this point so quickly. Maybe its kids, maybe its age. It's sort of sad. I miss it in some ways, but often its nice to experience a strong sense of nostalgia putting an old album that imprinted its soul on you. You still remember the initial feeling and you can still relive it, albeit somewhat tempered.

SowingSeason
05.29.20
Yup I know exactly what you mean. It'll never quite feel like it did initially. The answer is probably just to step away for a while and come back. I basically didn't listen to any music in 2013 for example, and then in 2014 I got back into it again and everything sounded great.

luci
05.29.20
whoever said "college is when music means the most" was on-point. we all latched onto music then to understand ourselves and our place in the world. something is lost when we sink into the routines of adulthood, but I don't think the period of excitement and discovery needs to be mourned. there are benefits to a temperate mindset over taking everything as high stakes. right now i just want freedom from obligation when it comes to music, not chasing new releases or listening to anything i'm not enthusiastic about. i'll dive back in when it feels right

AsleepInTheBack
05.29.20
Your 'freedom of obligation' point is interesting, totally get that. I'm definitely liable to get caught up in frantically attempting to keep up with new releases whilst continuing to check out 'essential'/'classic' records whilst also just digging deeper into some of my favourite genres. Attempting to do all at once is dizzying and tiring. Deep Cuts did an interesting video on musical fatigue that kind of covers the point, though from a different angle.

DaveyBoy
05.29.20
This sounds familiar! Sowing, you did well for this feeling to hit so far down the track. It happens to all of us mate. I also recommend some variation on what Trey suggests. It would have also worked for me had other crap not struck during that time.

Although, there could be another cause: I see you've started listening to country music. WTF man!? That will depress anyone. ;-)

SowingSeason
05.29.20
Hope you're doing OK Davey. Miss you around these parts. Country was a very gradual thing. It started with country pop on the radio but has turned into much more. I have to credit Sturgill Simpson's A Sailor's Guide to Earth as the primary turning point, I'd recommend it to you if you feel like there is even a 1% chance of you coming over to the dark side ;-)

BenThatsMyJamin
05.30.20
Woah I really relate to this, thank you Sowing for expressing that feeling in words. I'm sorry you've been feeling that way and I hope your hiatus helps you to reconnect. Whilst sputnik has certainly helped me continue to find innumerable new bands I adore, it has also encouraged me to consume music faster than I can truly enjoy it. With a large userbase of diverse taste, expansive underground knowledge, and listening rates that are much faster than me, I struggle to keep up. By far the biggest offender for this though has been streaming sites. I used to order CDs and upload them onto my ipod classic, and because of the price only ever really bought 3/4 per month. However, the majority of those are now ingrained onto my subconscious and I could recite note-for-note. Sometimes I would listen to a single album for months on end as I would become so obsessed. Now I will listen to tens of albums per month (some of which I almost certainly won't like), usually once before swiftly moving onto the next 'big new release', because there is no incentive in giving stuff a second chance or picking apart a really challenging release when you haven't really paid for it (except for vanity's sake/online 'respect'). Overall, I've heard a lot more music and probably enjoyed a lot less (not just percentage wise, but in absolute terms) since the CD days when I was jamming one album per week/fortnight, during which I could also read the liner notes of and get an in-depth view into the lyrics and mindset behind the music. I think once my Spotify student discount expires next year I'm going to cancel, dust off the old ipod and continue being an old man who hasn't heard half the stuff that's hyped on here but is completely cool with that.

BenThatsMyJamin
05.30.20
Lol sorry that ended up being far lengthier than I realised

MercySeat
05.30.20
Gonna sting to see less, or at least different, output from you but this was a beautifully written and extremely compelling self-examination that already got me thinking only a few minutes after I've finished reading it. If you ever put out a review again, I'll definitely be rushing to read it, but for now, thank you so much for all the work you've put in writing on this site. You've definitely changed the way I think about music on more than one occasion.

BallsToTheWall
05.31.20
Shit, man, it’s my goal to pit out two reviews a year at this point. I don’t know how you’ve managed to keep on keepin On but do it, brother.

FR33L0RD
05.31.20
From a 54 years old music enthousiaste perspective, thats the kind of deep respectful candid emotional exchange that i like to read from the younger generations. Kudos to all of you.

BallsToTheWall
05.31.20
Fr33, you’re 54, damn I didn’t know that. Hope all is well with you bud.

FR33L0RD
05.31.20
Yep, thanks man! :]

Voivod
05.31.20
Sowing has opened an excellent discussion thread.

As a youngster - currently in "too old to rock n' roll, too young to die" status - I've musically grown in an environment that allowed the nominal knowledge of about 50 albums, a mix of mainstream and underground stuff. From those 50 albums, I would be totally enthralled if I could listen to a couple of them. Since there was no internet stream, no radio, I had to trust whatever hardcopy reviews were available and buy that couple of albums, because tape trading was not really an option, due to temporal and logistical constraints.

We need to understand that with this yield being presented from hardcopy media and Headbanger's Ball, interesting stuff was simply falling through the cracks. For example, I found out about the excellent, early '90s tech thrash of Russian outfit Aspid, from Sputnikmusic in the '10s!

This site, this database is a luxury I could only dream of in the '90s and '00s but there a huge catch that comes with it, and it has everything to do with the binge culture that has settled along with the proliferation of the digital world.

The abundance of new and interesting releases announced in the news and reviewed places an indirect but powerful prompt to check/absorb/review them all; those are the caveats that come along with all the infinite good this site has to offer.

But we really don't "need" to check/absorb/review everything at once, in my humble opinion, what we do "need" to do is to tabulate as much as we can during our search for new stuff and let our increasingly limited free time "decide" about the music that's worth checking/absorbing/reviewing in the future.

I conclude this note with something I've read a long time ago that more than fits the occasion and sort of forms an oxymoron regarding what I wrote beforehand: "At the end of the day, music has been made for us to listen to it, and not necessarily for reviewing it".

SowingSeason
05.31.20
@BenThatsMyJamin: You summed it up. I used to do the same thing with CD's and uploading them to my computer. And when I'd download music I'd burn it to a blank CD to listen to in my car. There's something about owning the music files and physically holding an album in your hand that imbues a sense of pride and ownership, and also leads to more purposeful digestion. I'd be interested in a psychological survey that illustrates various case studies of those who buy a CD/vinyl versus those who stream it - how long will each person listen to the album? How will each person relate to it? It's like you said, it's a matter of depth versus breadth. I'm betting the streamer will still enjoy it, maybe at 70%, and then in the same time find 3 more albums they enjoy - also at 70%. The physical album holder will enjoy it 90-100% and go far more in-depth with the lyrics, but miss out on the other releases.

@MercySeat: Very kind of you to say - it's gonna be tough to stay away at times as I'm big into "new release hype", but there are other outlets I can use to satisfy that rush of euphoria without writing a review. If a band I'm immensely attached to releases something there's always the chance that I come back to write about it, but otherwise I'd really like to slow things down. There's enough moderator-y stuff to do and the blog has always been one of my areas of expertise, so as my personal/family life continues to push any semblance of free time out the window, I should still have plenty to do here.

@BallsToTheWall: Thanks, I don't know how I did either...it's honestly closer to an addiction than anything healthy, lol. Maybe this approach will give me more time to watch the Panthers tank for Lawrence this year ;-)

SowingSeason
05.31.20
@FR33L0RD: Agreed, this has been a refreshing change of pace.

@Voivod: Agree with everything you wrote. So much of the current binge culture is a product of the internet age, which ultimately is a wonderful thing. Sometimes I feel silly "complaining" about having too much music at my fingertips, ha. It's a luxury. It boils down to me not having the self-discipline to resist checking out every interesting-sounding thing I encounter, which leads to me abandoning the time commitment to something I otherwise would have developed a deep connection with. I've always been slightly behind the curve with what's new in terms of music consumption (found out about LimeWire after it was cool, got iTunes when everyone started streaming, and started streaming when Vinyl was making a comeback). I think my perspective boils down to "how I grew up" on music - which I'm using as a figurative term because I really latched onto music in my late teens/early twenties - but at that time CDs and MP3's were how it was done. I'd only hear 3-4 albums per month if I was lucky, and even the ones I didn't like, I'd at least remember distinctly. I think that's what I miss the most, is the remembering. The disappointment was real back then when an album sucked - now it's all too easy to discard and move on. I suppose that's the upside though - the ability to quickly overcome disappointment with other stuff more worthwhile. The downside is that nothing is ever worthwhile enough because another album is already knocking on the door.

SowingSeason
05.31.20
Damn character limits on comments -

Anyway, I also just wanted to add as a side note to the folks wishing well and saying they feel bad I'm "going through" this, that I'm actually very excited about this new direction and to see what it yields. There's something fulfilling about going out on your own terms instead of just gradually fading. I'd rather make an unnecessary spectacle, true to my time here, out of #500 and then continue on my merry way with selective music consumption and diverse blogging. Should lead to some very interesting pieces (I'm hoping, at various points, to revive user interviews, review competitions, sputnik soundtracks, track reviews, and a number of other things that I've abandoned over my 12 years here in order to keep the focus on reviews). There's so many ways to discuss music and reviews are just the most standard of said formats. There'll be plenty of stuff on the horizon and I can't wait. So don't feel bad for me, this is my choice and I want to do it.

luci
05.31.20
The purpose of a "review" needs to catch up with the shift in listening habits. Back when you had to purchase an album or expend moderate effort to download it, it made sense to "sell" a reader on an album. I could understand the focus on music description to compel them to seek it out. But in the streaming era, the press release mindset is pointless when an album is mere clicks away. I'd rather read analytical and philosophical takes, write-ups that aim for more than just convincing me to listen (make that a secondary goal!)

AsleepInTheBack
05.31.20
Preach

AsleepInTheBack
05.31.20
Loving this thread, thanks all

Voivod
05.31.20
— But in the streaming era, the press release mindset is pointless when an album is mere clicks away.

The stake for a review nowadays is to encourage someone to prefer listening to a stream over hundreds of other streams out there, and buy the album if he/she liked it.


— I’d rather read analytical and philosophical takes, write-ups that aim for more than just convincing me to listen

That is what I go for whenever an album permits it (my Forgjord review for instance), but this kind of writing takes forever to make it right, when the free time margins, raw information and attention span, are getting narrower and narrower.

Voivod
05.31.20
over time.

SowingSeason
05.31.20
I know what you mean about the philosophical takes. Like, sometimes I'm feeling it and have the abundant spare time, but most of my reviews are a 1-2 hour window of spare time for an album I've heard only recently.

ChoccyPhilly
05.31.20
Out of curiosity, how many listens do you give an album before you start writing/finish your review?

SowingSeason
05.31.20
Depends. Usually no less than 2 but typically 3-4. More in depth albums usually get more listens because I can't competently review an album like that on the surface. Radio pop kinda stuff like Taylor Swift I might fire up a review after just 2 spins.

ChoccyPhilly
05.31.20
Interesting you say that you're not engaging with it all that much then. Normally takes about 3-4 listens for something to resonate with me. Maybe you're so used to putting on your critique hat you're forgetting to get lost in the music, but then I guess that's exactly what you wrote about above

SowingSeason
05.31.20
I think you nailed it. It's never been about a lack of time or effort spent to comprehend a release, it's just that I listen, 95% of the time, with an intent to review. So I'm always in that headspace. I don't think I always used to be that way, either. It might have started midway through the decade. And yes I guess that was sort of my roundabout point. As long as reviewing is on the table, it's going to continue to dominate my thought process about music. I think stopping at 500 is a nice milestone to sort of hang my hat on. In time, I may come back to review an album here or there on the rarest occasion, but another thing I didn't really bother to elaborate on in the blog was that being a husband and dad is starting to take up more time than it used to, so freeing myself of the sense of obligation will be a weight lifted.

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