Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Rediscovering music, again.

So I realized, late last night, that I had been avoiding a lot of local music recently. For a music freak like me, this was a bit of a stunner. Naturally this re-evalulation necessitated an immediate set-down and personal re-evaluation. Why would someone like me avoid music of any sort?

And then it came to me; I had been avoiding a lot of local stuff primarily because I love music so much. This isn't as contradictory as it sounds. You see, when you are constantly submerged within one source of musical output, or another, your perspective begins to become warped and any sort of actual evaluation becomes impossible. Here, let me expand the example to the larger blogging world in order to maybe make this a little easier to understand.

Nowadays, when one band seems to carry the merest hint of possible success, the bloggeratti are all over them. Suddenly that band is everywhere. Their songs are available for download, everyone is writing about how great they are, and everyone sort of gets caught up in the frenzy. The end result is a band championed by all for a while, but then is abandoned by most shortly thereafter.

The local scene is no different. In Chicago, most folks that write about, promote, and create music know each other. One of our primary currencies is knowledge of what's coming next, and one of the risks of that knowledge is the needless hyping of certain bands that might not really deserve it. This truism is especially glaring when a few of our more recent high profile acts are compared to a handful of bands that receive a fraction (if that) of the press and none of the acclaim.

My Id must've grokked this (and yes, Chuck, those five words are just for you) a while ago and instructed my critical facilities to start blocking out the bad influences. More to the point, it was about a year or so ago that I began to learn to not believe the hype (for probably the eighth time in my writing career -- we writers can be an impressionable lot, and don't let anyone else tell you other wise (impressionability is a necessary evil, trust me, because otherwise we would be too guarded to write anything honestly) and I began discounting more direct attempts to influence who I should and shouldn't write about.

Now, a funny thing happened while I was trying to avoid local music ... I ended up becoming even more open to local bands and I began appreciating what Chicago has to offer even more! You see, when everyone is writing about "The Next Big Thing" and a few of those "Big Things" have been "Big Things" for four or five years, you begin to doubt your local scene's abilities. Once you discount the hype, and really listen, you realize what a fool you, and most other music critics, can be at times.

The next step in my re-evaluation process? I've been watching a lot of Fuse and reconnecting with my inner seventeen year-old. Let's see where this takes us...

No comments: