Monday, November 29, 2010

Looking For Love… In a Music Subscription

It’s been a long time since I fell in love, since I found that heart-fluttering infatuation that leaves you awe-struck, inspired, and feigning for more. In its absence, the landscape seems a little more drab and colorless. And so, with the fear that discovery of my greatest loves are but a thing of the past, I put my 20th century notions of courtship behind me and embraced the modern ways of cyber-searching for love. I go online, create a personal profile, and begin my quest. Wait, I am talking about music… right? YES! Yes I am! I signed up for my first online music subscription with Rdio, and so it begins, a renewed commitment to search for new musical love affairs.

I don’t know what took me so long to get a music subscription, but it might be the best $5 I spend each month. I jokingly compare the search for good music to frustrations of dating, the latter I admit to knowing nothing about. But the fact is that there is a lot of very bad music out there, and sometimes you have to kiss many frogs, so to speak, before you find a prince. Not only that; music is so subjective that even your most trusted tastemakers – friends, bloggers, etc. – will highly recommend music that will not please your personal palette. Therefore, a music subscription offers commitment-free access to explore new music to your hearts content! It is the ultimate tool for the music populist – don’t take other peoples word on what good music is, just look it up using your preferred music subscription service and decide for yourself.

Only a few weeks in to my subscription, I have not yet found any new favorites. However, I have enjoyed getting to know a few of this year’s new releases without shelling out the dough. Here are some of the albums that I have been playing, via my shiny new music subscription.

Pickin’ Up the Pieces, Fitz and the Tantrums
A funkified, modernized Motown sound. Great male and female vocals, vibrant horns, and a lead singer that sounds a bit like Daryl Hall (not that I’m holding that against him). In fact, this album is my favorite find so far, and I will purchase it for my library.

The Lady Killer, Cee-Lo Green
One-half of Gnarls Barkley, Cee-Lo was the vocalist on the catchy Gnarls tune “Crazy.” What is not to like about a whole album containing that soulful vocal? Also, he managed to turn a song called “Fuck You” into a benevolent-sounding and very catchy pop song.

My Beautiful Dark Twisted, Fantasy, Kanye West
This is the most hyped album of the year and ridiculously praised by the music community. Kanye’s inability to pen lyrics that are not a self-indulgent pity party about how misunderstood he is reminds me why I will never understand the allure of hip-hop. But hey, I tried.

Mt. Desolation, Mt. Desolation
Very listenable, country-tinged rock; complete with delicate guitar play, pleasant vocal, and folk storytelling. I can’t say this album blows me away, but I do continue to play it.

Out of Our Minds, Melissa Auf der Maur
The best thing to come out of 90’s alt-rock bands Hole and Smashing Pumpkins is multi-instrumentalist Auf der Maur. Out of Our Minds is a concept album that plays like a graphic novel fantasy. Sounds nerdy, right? The music and production is beautiful, grandiose, and feels destined to be the score for a dark, off-Broadway musical.

With the end of the year rapidly approaching, “Best Of 2010” and “Top 10 Album” lists are popping up all over the web. A music subscription from one of the various providers – Rdio, MOG, Spotify, Ping – is a great alternative to buying artists’ albums you’ve never heard based on recommendations.