As we move towards being born with white cords coming out of our ears, I wonder—has listening to our music easier made our music too easy?
Music used to have to be earned—you’d have to actually leave your house to go to a concert hall, just to hear the newest concerto performed. Eventually phonograph & vinyl came into play, & brought music into the home. The intimacy of cozying up to your speakers & investing time into letting a new music piece wash over you became a sort of ritual. *I am going to sit HERE & take in ALL of this work.* It truly became an exchange between artist & listener, & both parties trusted the other to fulfill their end of the bargain…even though that bargain was the only thing for sale.
Nowadays, we can pack a million songs into a tic-tac, & access sounds & expressions to our whims. Music in the past often seemed to mirror our struggle & journey as humans. To me, a clean, portable listening device would seem to almost dictate a clean, portable listening experience in the music itself. No way does 60’s & 70’s rock & roll take off on an ipod. If the very vibe of an ipod is living ease & a certain conquering of all that effort to invest in an artist…will music become as light the mode it’s played in?
Since I’ve gotten my ipod (yes, 3 months ago…yes, I was late with cds & cell phones too), I find myself veering towards move groove-oriented music. I’m “lucky” enough to have a job that allows me to listen to the ipod all day, but I since I have to do somewhat tedious & mind-numbing work…a good, light groove seems to often be in order (though, buffeted by intelligent podcasts). & is the drive home truly enough time to really dive into the crux of an album? Sure, since I’m old, I know about the classics, be it symphonies or the 70’s…but if I was a 13 year old kid, & I only listened to music on the way to my next thing—is a simple dance or rap song more in order? & how does that order my 13 year old brain cells?
The sheer fact that the entirety of recorded music is just ready & available @ any time is goddamn brilliant. But with no real money going towards investment of mass scale art in music (because this portable utopia also is often illegal & free)…is meaningful music going the way of the record player?
Maybe with information so readily available, as well as humans getting smarter about human relationships, we don’t need an artist to “instruct” us, or even inspire us as often. Small, complex indie movie dramas also seem to be getting crowded out by superhero tales, with simple, righteous morals & clearly delineated characters. The modern world seems be a cacophony, & global events seem to be getting more complicated by the day—so maybe a fun, tasty groove, or an eye-bending movie journey is the medicine for a growing brain that has to deal with it all.
Hopefully the brilliant ease of enveloping mp3s, 3d, & video games…doesn’t just make us soft all around.