So yesterday, I went to a concert featuring the New Pornographers. I really like the New Pornographers, but I was also really excited to see their opening band, the Dodos. But I also realized that their other opening band, the Dutchess and the Duke, whom I’d never heard of before, was also really good. I started thinking to myself, “wow, there are so many good bands out there that I’ve never heard of.” Not in a “I like bands so new that they don’t exist yet” sort of way, but in the sense that there are a lot of talented musicians out there that I should spend time listening to. Unfortunately, I realized that I probably have a very large backlog of good music that’s worth listening to.
My calculations go like this: assuming that on average, a new hour of music worth listening to emerges every day, that’s still about 40 minutes too much for me. I like to listen to songs multiple times, because I usually don’t start liking a song until the 3rd or 4th listen. Some songs take even longer (I still don’t understand why Radiohead’s In Rainbows is the greatest thing of all time or whatever). And if I really like a song, I like to listen to it over and over again. So I fall behind catching up at my regular pace. And that’s just counting new music. If I try to think about all of the 1000 albums I have to listen to before I die and the several thousand more that are probably just as good that have been recorded in times past, that’s just depressing.
So I realized that I’ll never be able to listen to all the good music in the world before I die. I probably won’t even get through the most critically acclaimed music either. So what do I do? Well, I could go the Pitchfork ‘sour grapes’ way and hate on all the music that I don’t have the physical time to listen to and outright dismiss the majority of good music out there, or accept that I should be happy that I have the chance to listen to good music, any good music, while there are children in Africa that have no choice but to listen to the BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ of vuvuzelas.