Why I don’t always listen to as much new music as I should

Why I don’t always listen to as much new music as I should

I’m a hifi reviewer, with an excellent music system at my disposal and thanks to Tidal, Qobuz and Roon, I pretty much have the world’s biggest record store available 24/7. That’s better than the flying cars they promised me when I was in high school – really, it is.

So why don’t I explore new music every minute of the day?

In all fairness, I am still sampling as much as I have time for, but at this point in my life, day to day can get in the way more than I’d like. Flipping through the updated copy of Robert Dimery’s 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, I bookmarked 8 titles that I hadn’t heard, and about 20 that I didn’t own, or have in my Roon library. Not bad.

But there’s great music being released every day. I’m not one of those crabby old men that thinks all of today’s music suuuuucks (though I do find some of it a little derivative at times), but it boils down to this:


I usually get unglued with a vengeance when people make the blanket “everybody/nobody” statements, so I’ll refrain from it here. I don’t know what everybody my age is doing or thinking, but based on my limited experience, it boils down to hours in the day.

Think about it, you’ve got that keep the bills paid app spinning all the time. Maybe you’ve got the future college fund, future wedding fund (maybe future divorce fund), retirement, vacation, health insurance, and fitness apps running all the time, along with a few special interest apps. If you’re a hifi enthusiast on top of that, you’re probably thinking about the system a bit as well.

All of these apps are eating up bandwidth. And battery power. While I’d like to think I’m pretty perky (and relatively immature) for 60, there are days I still feel like an iPhone 7 that’s had it’s performance limited because of an aging battery.

Which brings us back to the initial question.

Whenever you try something new, you are taking a 50% risk that it’s going to suck. Experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want, but as a function of time, when you are on the downhill to EOL (end of life, as my perky 42-year old primary health care physician is fond of saying) there’s only so much time left.

You’ve got three hours to listen to music. How much of it do you devote to potential bad experiences? Do you play it safe and listen to Mahler V, or Led Zeppelin II, or take a risk, knowing that if you don’t get what you want, that’s 40 minutes of your remaining battery life you won’t get back. Excitement versus stability, the age old question.

Those of you that are more on the adventuresome side of the risk avoidance spectrum no doubt are still jumping off the cliff every chance you get. And I salute you. Further, you’re the ones I follow on Facebook and when you’re excited about a new album, I go to Roon and usually stream it right away. This has actually bumped the success rate with trying new things to about 80% positive, which I appreciate more than you know. As Lyle Lovett said once, “If it’s not too late, make it a cheeseburger.”

Some days I just want comfort food instead of the latest fusion cuisine. And sometimes, Van Halen II is just what the doctor ordered. But again, I encourage you to sample as much music as you can make time for, it’s never been easier. That’s one of the things that keeps me going every day. And please, keep sharing those new albums on social media. It’s always nice to be surprised.