I don’t tend to do well with new year’s resolutions. Case in point: I can’t remember what my resolution was for 2014. So my resolutions, the successful ones, anyways, are usually shifts in perspective. For that reason, for 2015, my plan is this: listen to new albums more than once before making an assessment as to whether or not I like them. You see, I have a bad habit of listening to an album once, thinking “hmm, that was pretty good” and just moving on, completely forgetting the album in less than 24 hours. I have a good reason for this (that there is just so much music that comes out that I don’t want to miss) but it really hinders my ability to create relationships with new music.
Leonard Cohen released a new album in 2014 called Popular Problems that, I’ll admit, kind of came and went without much fanfare. (I wonder if part of the reason for this is its amateurishly ugly album cover). I listened to it once and thought, as previously mentioned, “hmm, that was pretty good” and just kind of moved on. Something inside of me, however, said “whoa. Slow down. This is Leonard Cohen we’re talking about! Give it another shot.” I did just that and I fell in love with much of this album. The lyrics are powerful and, although it doesn’t showcase the greatest musicality in the world, the tunes are all very enjoyable. It is a record that, on the strength of the lyrics, I know I will come back to again and again over the years, as I already have with his criminally underrated 2012 album, Old Ideas. I would not have developed this relationship had I not slowed down and let myself absorb this record.
I’m letting 2015 be the year of the re-listen, even in records from 2015 that haven’t officially been released yet. I have acquired a copy of Animal Collective member Panda Bear’s Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper. I’ve liked his solo work in the past, but have never really listened to his records more than one or two times each. From what I understand, I’m doing myself a disservice. Many people see his Person Pitch as an essential record of the 00’s. So for this reason, I’ve been listening to his 2015 album almost exclusively while in my car. I’ve come to really appreciate it’s musical textures and nuances. The first time I listened, I thought “hmm, that was pretty good” but on each subsequent experience with the record, I’ve gotten into it more and more.
So here’s looking to 2015: the year I slow it down.