what "is" this thing? (state of the blog, on its one year blogiversary)

what "is" this thing? (state of the blog, on its one year blogiversary)

One year of I Enjoy Music in the books!! Wow! I wanted to write something to celebrate this 12-month milestone, and to look at what I'm trying to do with this internet publication going forward. You cannot escape my metablogging.

A year ago I published a couple of posts on the website without telling anyone about it—"soft-launching," like throwing a photo of yourself at a restaurant table with an unfamiliar forearm in the frame up on Instagram Stories with no commentary...two plates of spaghetti and meatballs...what's going on here? Then that nutty show The Idol came out on HBO and I hard-launched, letting 'er rip just as Lily-Rose Depp ripped many, many cigs on that critically unloved show.

Since then I have reviewed peoples' playlists, asked a lot of artists about three thingz that contribute to their music, written a full-on musician profile that I am really proud of (shout out Nora Nygard!!!), talked to artists who make album art, video editors who make fancams, producers who plan music festivals, show bookers who book shows, directors who make music videos, people who own record stores...I have posted about a band that had their song played at an NHL game, and the IMAX movie intro music, and a crypto-fueled music platform that James Blake is trying to make happen, and a dance music radio station in New Zealand. And I have published guest posts about video game music and Willie Nelson and New Wave and listening to trance music while driving for a delivery app. Oh and I've published interviews with three keytar players.

Even writing this now, I see there are so many musical and music-adjacent topics I need to hit and people I need to talk to. Like, I would like to interview someone who wears light-up gloves and does shows for people at raves...know anyone who does that??

The fewer music writing jobs there are, the more writing seems to be getting published about what music writing is, whether it matters, and what music writers should be doing differently. Even yesterday there was a Defector article about how music critics should be getting meaner about pop music, which is great advice if you want a thousand anonymous accounts with black-and-white profile pictures to hop into your mentions and tell you to "unalive yourself" or whatever. There is not much left in the way of paid music writing out there (and frankly I am not convinced there were an astonishing amount of people getting paid a decent living to write about music in the past couple of decades anyway) which is all the more reason to write about whatever you want, which is what I am doing Here, on this Blog.

what it feels like to have a blog

Let me tell you, it is an incredibly freeing and fun thing to have your own website. This has been one of the most delightful aspects of having a blog that I take seriously and treat as a real thing: this is my internet zone, my literal domain. I am not beholden to any secret algorithms and I don't have to pollute this space with annoying pop-up ads. I don't have to pitch anyone and I don't have to "peg" my writing to any "news." If I have an idea, I write about it.

And something that more people should probably know about is that most people who do creative things want to talk about them with other people. I don't think it's ever been easier to connect with artists and learn about how they do what they do. One one side of the internet are the robots who are beating curiosity to death with hammers; on the other, I can talk to people who play music—miracle workers, basically—and share it in a way that hopefully makes people care about it.

You can do this too, if you want to. In fact, I hope you do. Hop on the blogroll, baby.

As I've been blogging, I've been trying to figure out how to narrow down what the niche / theme for I Enjoy Music should be. With such a blank canvas to work with—enjoying potentially all of the breadth and depth of every piece of recorded and performed music—it makes sense to get specific. The areas that I've found the most fruitful and interesting that I really want to dig into going forward are these:

  • blogging about new music by artists that deserve more attention, ideally by talking to those artists directly (that's the Three Music Thingz thing)
  • blogging about the work that goes into music, ideally by talking to those workers directly: yr producers, engineers, recording studio operators, runners of record labels, artists who work on album art and music videos, tour photographers, show bookers, festival organizers...
  • blogging about music as a means of connection—connecting audiences thru live shows, connecting musicians who collaborate on projects, connecting two music enjoyers through a heartfelt song recommendation, connecting various artists on a playlist you make for your beloved, whatever.
  • blogging about music on a personal level...XOJane's "It Happened To Me" but the "It" is just...music
okay not THIS nutty...jk...unless

The other thing I want to try to do with the blog going forward is to lean into a style of music writing that isn't J.D. Power and Associates consumer reports, and isn't "revolutionizing our perception of bodies and spaces," but a secret third thing. Less agonizing about how to exactly describe a band's genre, more 'having fun' and 'getting weird.' When I contributed to Dirt's state of music criticism piece, I quoted one of my favorite pieces of music writing of all time, The Manual (How to Have a Number One the Easy Way) by The KLF, aka The Timelords, aka the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu:

"...why don't all songs sound the same? Why are some artists great, write dozens of classics that move you to tears, say it like it's never been said before, make you laugh, dance, blow your mind, fall in love, take to the streets and riot? Well, it's because although the chords, notes, harmonies, beats and words have all been used before their own soul shines through; their personality demands attention...if you have anything in you, anything unique, what others might term as originality, it will come through whatever the component parts used in your future Number One are made up from."

So yah. All I would like to do is lean into whatever originality I possess, let my personality demand attention, and get my very own Number One (Blog). And you can join me!

dear god, i can't think of another word for "angular"...

To be frank, this has been a particularly weird and tense time for people who like music and spend a lot of time talking about it online in one format or another. I don't know if it's the pressures of a contracting industry, the continued deterioration of our social networks into total chaos, or something else I don't understand, but clearly there's the potential for a lot of damage to be done in a field that is supposed to inspire us and create good, interesting art for everyone. The only thing I can do is commit to honesty, transparency, measured consideration, and overall generosity of spirit. I don't believe in clout, I don't believe in ego, I just believe in you.

I am very grateful for everyone who has talked to me for the blog, sent over their music, said something nice about I Enjoy Music, etc. I have been flinging my ass around the internet for many years—I think I created my first blog as a seventh grader in 2003, a Blogspot site upon which I expressed my displeasure with the United States' invasion of Iraq, ha, ha—and this is the first time I feel like I'm going in a direction that feels right. THANK YOU. LET'S KEEP GOING

yr corresp.