I’m like a woman who stands in front of her wardrobe to conclude that she has nothing to wear, even though she has hundreds of dresses and just as many matching shoes. When it comes to music I understand the feeling and the sentiment. It is not really about having nothing to wear, or nothing to listen to, it’s about not having exactly what you need for that exact moment. I have a pretty substantial music collection; I think I can play different songs for 6 months in a row, 24 hours a day, not repeating a single one, and yet there are many moments I absolutely cannot find anything I want to listen to.
Music is addictive, and I have an addictive personality. The effect of a piece of music diminishes over time, and I need the constant thrill of something new. Sometimes I feel lucky it is just music I’m addicted to. It’s not that expensive and the absence of it only produces mild discomfort, so I don’t have to go around begging for money for my fix and I don’t make myself and others around me suffer that much. Still, not reading album reviews for a couple of weeks and not downloading new music regularly makes me feel bad, makes me feel out of touch with reality, and ultimately makes me grumpy and ill-tempered.
But here’s the thing; much of what I download I never listen to. Many great albums never knock on my door to let me know they now live in the neighbourhood, and when my Ipod shuffles me past these new treasures I’m either pleasantly surprised or I quickly move on for not knowing them at all. I own a graveyard of unknown and unappreciated songs. People like me need a salvation army to pass unwanted (but otherwise good) music on to the needy, to those who cannot afford good music.