Friday, June 19, 2009

I've noticed that at least three times now, I've been unable to summarize my preference in music. Not because it's amazingly eclectic or anything, but because (a) I don't really listen to that much of it, and (b) I don't detect a coherent thread connecting most of my library, which, aside from a few outliers whose catalogues I am deeply familiar with, is a slew of artists where I have at most two or three albums. Now that I have time to mull over the question, I'd call my library by and large the tried and true branch of rock music; "classic rock" without the connotations that that term carries. (I'm really not completely familiar with the Who & Floyd, say.) Reason (a) I've already discussed several times. What of (b)?

As I pointed out at the start, I instinctively don't want to call (b) eclecticism as much as I do laze. Yet, while laze might play some part, I think the relative lack of depth is best explained by my extreme propensity to saturation. With that claim in place, why is it the case? Certainly a quirk of personality to an extent. But what vexes me is the following: could it also be the relative lack of quality in the artists I pursue? Are most of them just worth two good albums? If so, we might all be doomed. I naturally think the things I like are objectively pretty good, and I can say that most have been received fairly favourably among the critics. But somehow, I haven't managed to find more than a handful whose catalogues have provided a slew of satisfying albums. My hope is that the fact that I know about relatively little music, and have been operating on a small section of it, means that I might be missing out on some artists who have released, say, five or six good albums. Off the top of my head, I can think of two artists immediately whom I would never have guessed, prior to listening to them, were capable of as much good material as I've discovered. My personal inferiority complex might be transferring to the music I listen to, then.

I suppose the tiny drops of classical fall outside, and remain unscathed. But I still wonder if I will ever be able to fully appreciate the genre. I am fairly confident that popular song, and its "emotional complexity", will be the primary form of music for me; classical provides a nice foil, a sense of scale and balance. I hope I can continue to find resonant music in popular song.

By the way, what I really don't want to say my catalogue is, although I hate to admit it might be as good a description as there is: Starostin's music. Although, if I think about it, there are worse things for a catalogue to be than a subset of a reliable reviewer's recommendations. The uncertainty I have is whether it means I display sufficient individual thought when it comes to music, but then I start wondering about the objective quality of music, and all that. Let me quit while I'm ahead and think about how good my last 3 non-Starostin albums are.

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