Over the past year I have been using Spotify playlists to keep track of the music I have been listening to on a month-to-month basis. I started making a playlist every month in October of 2011. Some playlists have ten or twelve songs and some have two or three, each comprising my favorite tracks from the bands or albums that I was listening to that particular month. These playlists went on a hiatus for a couple of months starting in November of 2012. This hiatus coincided with my obsession with a couple of bands whose music is not available on Spotify. You may have heard of them; they are called Pink Floyd and The Beatles.
I guess there is not anything remarkable about listening to and enjoying these two bands, a lot of people do. I just find it interesting that I have been drawn to music that was made in the two decades previous to my birth, and generally when these things happen I start to wonder why.
Most likely one of the greatest reasons that I have been mining in the past is because 2012 was a fairly uninspiring musical year, at least from my perspective. I needed to find some new things to listen to and the albums coming out at the time were not drawing me in (2013 has started well with excellent releases from My Bloody Valentine and Youth Lagoon and a highly anticipated Vampire Weekend set for release in early summer). Granted Pink Floyd and The Beatles are not the only great bands I have been drawn to over the last couple of months. Some other artists that I have been discovering are Talking Heads, David Bowie, Michael Jackson (yes, I unashamedly bought Thriller a few weeks ago), some Brian Eno here a little Duran Duran there and I felt proud of myself the other day when I could not only pronounce Depeche Mode’s name correctly I could also relate that their three best albums are generally regarded to be Speak and Spell, Violator and Music for the Masses.
What makes my dive into the past interesting to me is the way that I see these bands influence in the artist that I enjoy that are currently making music. It is great to listen to Tears for Fears or Echo and the Bunnymen and realize, “M83 were totally influenced by these guys.” I see the influence of a lot of great bands in the music that is coming out today, I just could not have told you where it was from a few months ago.
Also, my new music discovery method over the past few months has completely flipped, the magnetic field of artist discovery is now pointing to the South Pole, from the way that it usually works. Instead of finding a new artist because they were influenced by Nirvana I find that Nirvana was influenced by Dinosaur Jr. so I should listen to them (actually I have no proof of this particular influence but I feel that it must have existed). I have been exploring many of the past artists whose names have been mentioned by my favorite current artists. It has been an enlightening experience and it might be difficult to pull myself back into the present.