| "Do You Fools Listen To Music Or Do You Just Skim Through It?" |
I’ve decided to occasionally write blog posts about issues and topics that are relevant to many people of my generation. I’ll address these issues and topics from my perspective and, if we’re lucky, my experience can help others in dealing with these issues. For us, by us.
The fear of missing out, or FOMO, is something that plagues a lot of people, especially in my generation. It affects me too, especially when it comes to music. It was pretty bad a few years ago. I was always scrolling through blogs looking for new music. The result was that I never really listened to anything. Then, in the summer of 2013, I watched the then new Jay Z interview he did with The Breakfast Club. At some point during the interview, Charlamagne, one of the hosts, addressed the fact that so many amazing pieces of music are being lost in the shuffle because so many albums are being released. Jay responded with the following:
“It’s up to the individual to figure out how to slow it down because, you know, it’s just going faster and faster, everything moving quicker, information is going quicker. [...] These great things are fleeting, they’re going faster and faster, and it’s up to the individual to slow it down and be like ‘okay, I’m living with this album, this is what I choose to ride to, this is gonna be the soundtrack to my life for the next couple of months’”.
Damn, Jay. Over the next couple of weeks after watching that interview, I tried to implement his advice. It worked. I started to really contact with music again, ironically by paying less attention to it. Don’t get me wrong, I still look at Pitchfork, I still follow all the blogs on Facebook, but I have stopped looking for new music constantly. Instead, I give releases that I think might be interested me a listen, and if they connect with me I buy them and put them on heavy rotation. I also let other people do the searching for me by listening to some good radio stations, most notably Beats1 (#AnimalNoises).
The result of all this is that I now sometimes go weeks, even months listening to the same three or four albums. It feels great, because it allows me to connect with albums in ways I hadn’t since I was a teenager, when all I had was a Discman and CDs. YG’s "My Krazy Life”, Transit’s “Joyride”, Kacey Musgraves’ “Pageant Material”, The Lawrence Arms’ “Metropole”, August Alsina’s “This Thing Called Life” - all albums that meant a lot to me that came out in the last two years. I know them front to back. I have specific memories, good and bad, linked to these albums. That is something that would have been largely impossible for me in 2011, 2012, when all I did was skim through the hot new releases and blog bangers in my frantic attempt to know it all.
I’m not saying I’m completely "cured". I still relapse from time to time. I still have sealed albums I bought in 2014. But it has gotten better and, as a result, I feel better. Of course music isn't the only thing in my life that has been invaded by FOMO. I still struggle with it when it comes to games, though I am getting better. I also wish I would spend less time on social media, though that has become even harder now that it is part of my job. And don’t even get me started on my crippling podcast addiction. I also realize that my case is harmless compared to what a lot of other people are going through. This blog post was largely focused on music because it allowed me to illustrate my point: it’s up to you to break the FOMO cycle. If you’re having troubles, start with one FOMO-infested area of your life and just, for a while, choose one thing “to ride to”. Trust me, and if not me, trust Jay Z ("Hov did that, so hopefully you won't have to go through that" ~ Jay Z).
M | 1520