Stand up to your slump: Tips and tricks to find your new favorite band

Category:  Music
Thursday, February 14th, 2019 at 9:04 AM

Do you ever find yourself stuck on the same album or artist for months, until you’re sick of it? Are you a music junkie on a quest to listen to every great song ever written? If so, this article is for you. As someone who was raised listening to nearly every genre under the sun, I am willing to listen to anything as long as it resonates with me. On my own journey, I have gathered quite a collection of different artists, as well as techniques for discovering a new favorite bop at least a few times a month. 

Here are those techniques.

1. Check out related artists. When you’re scrolling to the bottom of a page and similar artists pop up, check them out. Sometimes, I go down a rabbit hole of similar artists until I find one that’s close enough, but brings something unique to that style of music. I found one of my favorite artists, Elliott Smith, by traversing the downhearted indie landscape that Bright Eyes wanders. 

2. Try a playlist or artist radio station. This is especially handy for those who use streaming services such as Apple Music, Spotify or Pandora. Many times, you can type in a word, and a playlist will come up. You can also look up playlists according to a certain genre. 

3. In a similar vein, something I do often when giving new music a try is create a playlist. This will have some songs or an album I already love, while I’ll then throw different albums that I want to check out in that playlist. This way, I have something that keeps me anchored in the new music.

4. Take all music suggestions given to you and compile them in a list to reference if you are not able to start listening right away. This is probably one of the best ways I discover new music. Anytime I’m talking with someone about music, I always jot down their suggestions in the note app on my phone. That way, when I find myself ready to break out of my musical monotony, I have a variety of artists to choose from. If you’re as picky as I am about what you put into your ears, you may not like everything, but at least you have something to talk about next time you’re with that person.

5. Do a music swap with a friend! Have them make you a playlist, a good old fashioned mixtape CD, or even swap MP3s on a flashdrive. The flashdrive method was frequented by my old schoolyard chums and I in high school. Although I don’t talk to any of them anymore, I owe at least 20 gigs of my music collection to them, as well as some of my favorite artists. This method not only offers you more personalized picks from people who know you, but a variety of artists and songs for you to sample.

6. Perform a musical 180 and try a genre that you’ve never listened to before, or one that’s the opposite of something you love. Maybe you’re really into metalcore, but you feel like you need a break. Try delving into the abundant world of acoustic singer-songwriters. If you aren’t feeling that adventurous, identify what you like about a certain genre and try to find that in others. For example, on the outside, funk and prog-rock are very different genres, but when you examine two artists such as James Brown and Frank Zappa, you’ll find that both share a very disciplined approach in the performance of their music. Although the sounds are completely different, their technical skills and mastery of live performance could really appeal to someone. 

7. I always advocate going back in time and listening to those who influenced modern artists. Watch some interviews with your favorite artists and listen to those who helped them develop their sounds. If there’s a genre you enjoy, where are the roots of it? Just like the similar artist method, I encourage you to go down the rabbit hole until you dig up some of the earliest recordings in music. You could also ask parents, grandparents or other elders what they boogied to when they were your age. 

8. Pick an album to listen to based on the cover. I’m guilty as charged; I often look to the cover of an album to get a feel for what the music might sound like. This is a way to experience music through another sense without having synesthesia. 

9. For those who collect records, CDs, tapes or other prehistoric forms of physical music, go to your local thrift store and pick up something you’ve never heard of, or never thought you’d listen to. Even if string arrangements or a compilation of the greatest bebop hits of the ‘50s aren’t something you’d listen to everyday, it’s fun to have in your collection and listen to on a whim. 

Livia Homerski | ae.spectator@gmail.com

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