I’m surprising myself by what music I’ve started to like. First, I couldn’t stop playing Walking with Elephants by Ten Walls and now I seem to be liking Disclosure’s album Settle. I didn’t like this stuff when I was seventeen and supposed to be going to Ibiza, clubbing all night. My musical taste is developing backwards; when I was in my teens, I liked Elvis Costello and The Pretenders and even some classical (old people’ s music!) whereas now I’ve started liking the mellow Ibiza club tracks (kids’ music!). It’s all going wrong.
Settle is the debut studio album by English electronic music duo Disclosure, released in 2013. The album includes the singles Latch, White Noise (I’m playing this one over and over and over), You & Me, F for You, Help Me Lose My Mind and Voices. Settle got critical praise and was nominated for the 2013 Mercury Prize, apparently. I read that on Wikipedia but I didn’t know it when I first heard it; I just played it accidentally, the way you do on Spotify. And I’ve been playing it ever since.
Spotify influences people in a way that TV used to in the days when we had a small number of channels. Each channel would show a wide range of contrasting programmes so that you could see a documentary on politics followed by a show about knitting jumpers followed by a sci-fi drama followed by Top of the Pops. You never knew what you were going to get (who said that, was it Forest Gump?). Spotify is like that. Even though it suggests music to you which is broadly of the same type as that to which you’ve just been listening, the variance is enough to lead you down totally unpredictable alleyways. TV isn’t like that any more; we have channels for sport, channels for films, channels for quizzes… You always know exactly what you’re going to get. It’s ghetto-ised (that can’t be a real word!)… over-organised in order to make as much money as possible. There are never any surprises. It leads to entrenchment and stagnation.
I watch less and less TV these days but my musical taste is going bonkers. So what’s happening to me? Not much actually. I still like all the old stuff I used to like but I’ve now seen the light with some of the more clubby music. I think it’s happened since I went on holiday to Ibiza last year and they were playing all that kind of stuff. I wasn’t clubbing; God forbid! I heard it in beach bars and on people’s radios and just circulating in the air as I was sitting in my bath chair, with a scotch blanket over my legs, doing a word search. I was so enthused by it (the music, not the bloody word search) I even considered taking off my duffel coat.
Truth is, there is no old people’s music or kids’ music; there’s just music. The music you like depends on where you’ve been, who you’ve been with, what you’ve felt, who you’ve felt, and an infinite number of other variables that go together to make up the person you are. And it’s always better when you haven’t got a clue what you’re going to get.