In his 1997 book How The Mind Works, scientist Steven Pinker refers to music as ‘auditory cheesecake’. Essentially, something you have for a quick hit but could quite easily do without.
Oi! Pinker! NO!
When it comes to music, I take my inspiration from the opening lines of Matthew Collin’s brilliant 2015 book Pop Grenade: From Public Enemy to Pussy Riot – Dispatches from Musical Frontlines. His opening play is to quote Nigerian musician Fela Kuti:
“Music is the weapon of the future; music is the weapon of the progressives; music is the weapon of the givers of life.”FelA Kuti
No year in recent memory has needed such a prolific ‘giver of life’ and I wager that 2020 has provided some of the finest offerings both in response and as a balm to the year we have just collectively experienced.
I have no genre of choice. I just love, need and crave music. I don’t share Rob’s view in High Fidelity where he just wants something he can ignore. Music isn’t made to be ignored. It is made to inspire, ignite, assist, relax…just add any other active verb.
I made it something of a mission of mine to listen to more music this year, simply because I had more time on my hands. I also wanted to listen to more new music. Not necessarily new as in having just emerged but new to me. That plan paid off in bucketloads.
This isn’t an exhaustive list – yes, there are two Taylor Swift offerings but she knocked out two blinders. It highlights what an incredible year we have had from the world of music and, more importantly, those who make that music. That is something to hold onto, celebrate and support.