Once upon a time, many years ago, I was in love with new music, and finding new artists to fall in love with. On Tuesdays I would rush to the local record store to buy albums by random bands because I had read a review in CMJ or Spin. Aside from how the reviewer described the band in the review, I rarely had any idea what these bands sounded like. I discovered some of my favorite bands this way, bands like Pavement, Teenage Fanclub, Slowdive, Stone Roses, The Jesus and Mary Chain, and Saint Etienne to name but a few. These bands spoke to me, not just in the lyrics, but in the way they approached songwriting and sound.
I kept up with new music into my early to mid-30s. Then one day I woke up feeling old. I started to find new music and artists to be a bore. That's not to say that I wouldn't be blown away by a killer new album or two or three a year, but new music stopped speaking to me.
I'd listen to a new band on iTunes and more often than not I would think that I'd heard this sound before and better. I don't need a new band to sound like New Order or Echo and the Bunnymen. I'd rather listen to those bands that I grew up listening to versus the new bands that were derivative of some of my favorite bands.
These days it's harder to impress me with new music. I'd rather reach into my crate (increasingly digital these days) and listen to my favorite bands versus whatever kinds of noise the kids are making these day. However, every so often I'm blown away or moved by a song or a band.
That's what happened today.
When I woke I decided that I was going to run out to Mackworth Island to do a seven mile loop. It had been more than a few weeks since I last ran to Mackworth. Before heading out I downloaded the latest album by Shearwater, called Jet Plane and Oxbow. I've always liked Shearwater. They're an odd band, probably a somewhat acquired taste. Dense. Literary. Back in the day they would have been described as college rock. I'd read a few very positive reviews of the newest album and figured it would probably be a good soundtrack to my run to the ocean.
At around mile three I was starting to feel tired. I didn't sleep well the night before and was questioning my decision to run seven miles. I was thinking that I should turn back and cut my run short. But I pushed on because of a line that came over my headphones just before I came up to Mackworth Island via the causeway, "Sometimes you're so tired of the country you could run to the ocean and surrender your life." That line stopped me in my tracks. I looked up and Mackworth and the Atlantic Ocean were ahead of me.
That line stuck with me for the rest of my run. It resonates now as I type.
Thank god for music and the simple joys music can bring.