By Alexandre Darche
My resolution for 2017 isn’t to get to the gym more often to work off that turkey belly. Nor is it to spend less and save more. Nor is it any other of those cliché motives that fade come early February. My resolution (on top of trying to write more) is to listen to a new song, album or artist every single day.
I spent the holidays at my grandparent’s place in rural Quebec. My grandfather has hauls of CDs hidden throughout the nooks of their home. They aren’t organized in the slightest, and when he wants to hear a specific track, he runs through the house looking for that album. Most of these are obscure titles I’ve never heard before, so I’d bug him to tell me the song’s name when I heard something I liked. By the time I headed back to Montreal, I had a note on my phone with a handful of artists to check out. While I consider myself someone who listens to a vast amount of music, I realized that there is too much music out there to listen to the same dozen songs on repeat.
It’s also never been easier to access new music. With Spotify, Apple Music or Tidal (if anyone still uses it), you have access to enough music to last you a lifetime. On Spotify alone, over 4 million songs have never even been played! That crazy treasure trove of music awaiting to be explored motivated me to go out of my comfort zone and into the unknown.
Since I’ve begun my challenge, I’ll admit, a lot of what I’ve heard hasn’t been good. Some of it’s been really bad, actually. But some of it has come into my rotation and has even become some of my favorite. On a handful of occasions, I’ve had people overhear some of that music and ask me about it, spreading one of the few joys all humans share: good music.
January may be coming to an end, but I recommend to everyone to start actively exploring this untapped music. Just put something on during your commute or while you’re cooking. If you’re using a streaming service, check out the suggested artists of someone you enjoy or try a new playlists. If you use Youtube, go through some of the stuff on that sidebar. If you want to make a hobby out of it, get yourself an old record player and empty the dollar record bins at your local shop. I promise, you’ll get addicted to the thrill of finding your next favorite band, ballad or banger.
Here’s a small list of stuff I’ve found so far to get you inspired
Various Artists – Roots of Chica: Psychedelic Cumbias From Peru
It’s funky, it’s soulful and will get rid of your winter blues immediately.
Pierre Citron – Jazz.Eau.Citron
As a posthumous album, it’s filled with remixes of some of his earlier songs. This Belgian has the smoothest voice imaginable as he performs spoken word over laid-back instrumentals.
Urban Thermo Dynamics – Manifest Destiny
Talented group composed of a young Mos Def alongside his brother and sister. Crazy lyricism over dirty 90s hiphop beats.
Edgar Varese – Complete Works
I’m not a big classical music guy but this stuff is outstanding. He’s more experimental than your average composer. This is the kind of stuff that will get me through midterms and finals this semester.