Preoccupation is Frail Excuse
I've written about the listening slump I'm enduring. It persists. New albums have been released in the past month that under normal circumstances would've excited responses out of me. I've bought and listened to them, and that they all generated no more than a disinterested shrug is enough to tell me I'm not to trust my judgment now.
What's utterly puzzling to me is why my dose of indifference seems to be affecting only my music gland. My other passions are all pumping prodigious amounts of enthusiasm (sparked in one particular case by a particular team taking 10 out of 12 possible points in the first four games, in another by the recent releases of this novel and this novel and the upcoming release of this novel and upcoming release of this book of poetry, and in a third by the distressingly fascinating and frightening reign of The Decider! and his relentless fucktardedness). It'd be easy to claim that hyperactivity in other spaces of interest are simply crowding out time for music, but it's precisely at times like this in the past that music has meant the most to me. It never suffered from competition.
I've gone back and listened to music that never failed, Roxy and Pere Ubu and XTC and Psychedelic Furs and Talking Heads and Television and The Replacements and Richard Thompson and Nick Drake and The Clash and The Ramones and King Crimson and early (early, mind you) Cure and Madder Rose and The Schramms and Captain Beefheart and Root Boy Slim and Beat Happening and New Order and Sonic Youth and Yo La Tengo and Husker Du and Jane Siberry and Afghan Whigs and Ride and Kitchens of Distinction.... they're still good. Grayer and wrinklier, but....
I accept all responsibility for my slump and recognize I've a vested interest in liking now what I've always liked. I acknowledge that any concrete judgments I'd make now are anchored in the jello of foolishness, but.... at a certain point, listening to new releases, listening to KEXP and other places to new stuff, I have to wonder, in the universe of music I've always lived in, is anybody making anything new? Now that record companies have discovered the profitability of "alternative," flooding the market with instant soundalikes; now that groups that produce a breaththrough single hurry to sell that single to the highest bidding car company (who use it as background on 30 second commercials masquerading as cutting-edge music videos); now that the ubiquity of the internet has made the smug exclusivity so precious to a music's advocates virtually impossible, I'm bored with the music, offended by the business, embarrassed for my naivete and snobbery, worried about my future listens.
But it's a slump. Maybe it's a slump. United hosts FC Dallas this Saturday (FCD also taking 10 out of 12), I'm finishing this novel tonight, and The Worst President Ever is still in power. The Twilight Singers (speaking of Afghan Whigs) release their latest album on May 16. I'll work to not get my hopes up.