Music You’ve Been Missing the Point

Posts by Alex

Let’s talk about how this whole boyfriend’s music post thing has been going.

A Brief History
of the Boyworm’s Musical Life

So I’m pretty sure in a previous
MYBM post
I discussed my background with regards to music, but I’m going to
go into a bit more detail here and talk about who I am as a musician and a
music enthusiast, and why it is I love talking about music so much.
So, I mentioned how growing up I played a lot of music,
and almost considered doing it as a career/college pursuit but for various
reasons I dropped that idea. Music has always been a big passion of mine. Back
in high school when I had time to devote to music I was playing in a band that
played clubs in the Baltimore and Towson area of MD, as well as various
all-state and honors orchestras. But, as I was almost entirely self-taught and
had no formal instructor, I had no way to prepare for college auditions and no
money to acquire the necessary resources. So I abandoned that idea.
Instead, I pursued physics in college and as a result
destroyed all free time that would have been devoted to musical pursuits. These
days, I still make music, but I realize that I don’t have the time to devote to
it that I once had. I realize that most of my time is spend listening to music
instead of making it. In that way, I’ve become more of a music nerd and enthusiast
than an artist. But, with the background that I have, I find that I can go a
little overboard in listening to music and spend entire nights with my best
headphones on, dissecting all the little details of an album from the
composition to the mix, which brings me to my next point…

The Album as an
Art Form
Let’s be honest, you wouldn’t purchase single chapters
of a book. I remember when I was in eighth grade we read Romeo and Juliet. My teacher made us skip the entirety of the
fourth act. I was livid! How could you leave out a fifth of the play and hope
for it to make sense?!
Likewise, I can’t just pick a few songs from an album
and be content. I need to hear the full story, even if the album doesn’t have a
unifying story. Context is everything, and the order of tunes on an album can
make or break the entire thing. In my opinion, the flow of an album is a very
real thing, and the best ones follow a pacing that you can apply to a plot
diagram you would use for fiction.
Remember these things?
A good example of this would be Laura Stevenson’s Wheel.
Give it another listen with this in mind and you’ll see what I mean. A counter
example worth checking out is Neil Young’s After
the Gold Rush
. While I love the album and think it’s full of most of Young’s
best work, it has a terrible flow, and is one of the rare examples of an album
that is better thought of as a collection of individual pieces of greatness,
rather than a unified masterpiece.
To me, albums are the way music is meant to be heard.
Over the years, I’ve compiled a list of the albums that I find have been most
important to me. An album’s importance might come from an emotional connection,
the influence it had on me musically, or just an aural beauty it possesses. I’ve
begun collecting these albums on vinyl, a trend that I’m certainly not the only
follower of.

Why I decided to
collect vinyl
Everybody has their reason. The elitists will all say
that “analog is the purest form of music” and it’s “the way music was intended
to be enjoyed” and many other things. I honestly couldn’t disagree more. There
are albums that just do not hold up on vinyl and, as a matter of fact, I own
some of them. I’ve found that for the most part hip-hop and metal don’t translate
well because of certain elements that are integral to their mix. Vinyl is not a
bass-heavy medium so these mixes don’t hold up and, if you’re as interested in
album mixes as I am, this is a big problem. Still, I own several of these
albums and I bought them knowing this. Why?
As I said, the album is an art form in my eyes, and I’ve
started to become a collector. Everyone has that one thing they’re a nerd
about. Mine is albums. For the most part, my (fairly small) collection
translates well to vinyl. But that’s not why I buy albums. I’d rather hear a
high quality digital audio file than a record, but having a collection of those
looks something like this:

Eighth wonder of the world right here.
So, I’ve started building what I call my shrine to music. I don’t have a
picture of it, because right now the shrine is just a small shelf of albums,
but the potential is there!

Why am I telling
you this?
Seriously. Why could you possibly care? Well I’ve
decided that “Music You’ve Been Missing” is a little narrow-sighted and it’s
forced me to forego writing about some really great albums that I know nobody
missed. So I’m shifting focus to better suit the reasons I wanted to start the
series. I’m going to write about albums that I think are worthy of my shrine!
There will be a few changes to the series, but nothing to serious. I might
switch the release date segment to “Do I own it on vinyl yet” or something like
that. So really that’s it. This longwinded, self-indulgent post was really just
to let you know about a small change. Feel free to leave your anger in the
comments. But while you’re there, let’s discuss!

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How do you feel about the album as an art form? Are you
more of a single song “shuffle” type of person? Everyone’s a nerd about
something, what do you have a “shrine” to? What are some of your favorite
albums? How do you feel about vinyl? Are there any albums you’d like to see
here? Suggest them to me and I’ll either nerd out about them with you, or go
listen so I can see for myself!

By Jess

A bookworm since the tender age of whenever I stopped chewing on books and started actually reading them. A cat-mom, graphic designer, and introvert originally from Pittsburgh, but now resides in the humid, hot, state of Texas. Cheers!

  • What a great post! I loved reading it. I've collected vinyl for a few years not and it is mostly to support the artist at their shows, have a nice memory of said show and to have something tangible. Mp3s are great, but if I REALLY love an album I want to hold it in my hands. I cannot wait to read where you go in your musical journey this year! xx

  • I have debated to collect vinyl – perhaps it will happen 1 day when I have a permanent home. I agree with an album being an art form – a few songs may be great but all the songs have to beautifully work together to appreciate an entire album – such as Adele. I have actually been buying full albums just to get a feel of it and support artists. I do think we miss out on great music because it doesn't become mainstream. I miss the days when I knew more about underground artists! Looking forward to your series!