FREE VERSE: Music Writing Matters, OK?
Much of my life revolves around music. As the Noise Editor at the Sentry and the host of a music radio show, it’s important that I spend my time immersed in music. I must admit, however, that I often second-guess this being my life’s work. “Why not the news?” I wonder. “There are people dying in the world and you spend your days with headphones on reading Fader articles.” But I’ve recently found ways to justify a life dominated by music.
Covering local shows, interviewing new bands, and playing my favorite songs while sitting behind a microphone are what I get paid to do lately. It’s incredible, but in a world where you can never really do quite enough in a day, I often question what I’m contributing to society.
It can seem like New York Times-esque reporters, breaking stories that impact the world in an immediate way, are the only journalists doing work that really matters. Trust me, I think about this fact late at night when I’m feeling particularly insignificant.
Music writing, when done well, offers a reflection of the times.
But other days, when that self-doubt quiets down a bit, I think about how music journalists like Lester Bangs also said immensely important things about the world in their work, too. Music writing, when done well, offers a reflection of the times. It tells us where our society hurts and where we can make it better. Most importantly, it gives us a reason to connect with other human beings.
Spending last weekend packed into a tiny record store with tens of other bodies in the middle of a snow storm rummaging through vinyl in the name of Record Store Day was one example of that. Spending the weekend before that packed into another small room listening to an Israeli band play their take on American rock was another.
I get how cheesy and self-assuring this sounds, but music is one of the most connective things in life. On my best days, I’m happy to make it the thing that my days revolve around.