When was the last time you gave an album your full, undivided attention? Last week? Last year? Never? In an age of streaming and social media, smartphones, and a slew of other tools and gadgets, why should a piece of music, let alone an entire album, deserve our exclusive attention?
Unfortunately, I’ve become so accustomed to browsing the internet while listening to a new album that I often never give a piece of music the attention it deserves. The proliferation of music has conveniently coincided with the growth of online blogs and magazines. More and more, I feel myself being sucked into a review and being persuaded to believe that some new release is not only unforgettable and one of the best things put out this year, but also requires my immediate attention and subsequent praise. And the best part is that I usually have instant access to that artist’s new release through streaming services, through a blog that uploads the MP3s, or through torrents. It’s so incredibly easy to read a review, obtain the music, and buy into the hype, but am I really listening to the music? Has it received my full, undivided attention? I sincerely doubt it.
After realizing my somewhat problematic listening behaviors and seeing that I had 1,798 tracks that were released in 2011 sitting in my iTunes library, everything started to make sense. Yes, I listen to a lot of music and I am a DJ, but I really don’t need 1,798 songs from 2011. I recommend taking a look at your play counts — how many times did you actually listen to that Nicolas Jaar album after reading that gushingly indulgent review on your favorite music site? Soon you’ll realize that your library has a lot of extraneous songs that can easily be forgotten and discarded. Be wary of the reviewer. Give albums your full, undivided attention. Limit the amount of music you take into your life. It’s already made me a happier person.