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  • Joshua J. Hamilton

Which Day Did The Music Die? A Monday, Probably.

Author's note: I wrote this in July of 2017. I'm still open to music recommendations.

There was a time when music was the basis of my existence. I played in rock bands. I ingested albums and songs with a voracious appetite. It was an insatiable hunger to hear the next thing, discover the old thing, to bury myself in biography and liner notes, song lyrics, writing credits. I’d have long conversations about the validity of Paste Magazine’s album of the year award (who was more deserving of it and who cared what Paste thought anyway), and hold court over the importance of certain television show soundtracks. And while I was never an expert in any one thing, I was always striving to be knowledgeable about all of it. Because music was the fabric of the universe, and without it we’d all drift away from each other, into the ether. There could be no other common thing, no shared experience strong enough to bond us to the people music introduced us to in the first place.

Many of my most enduring friendships began over conversations about music, or because we were always at the same shows in college. We were part of a scene, though I might not have realized it at the time. I played music with friends, made friends by playing music, both in bands and on living room stereos. We were all curating the soundtrack of our young existence, accentuating the highs and lows. Whatever we did, there was a song for the occasion that someone picked. And now I choose autoplay.

When did I stop caring about music? Was there a certain song that lulled me into a scoreless sleep ? Or did I switch off the stereo in an effort to organize all of the chaotic, conflicting thoughts delivered by full-on adulthood? Have I chosen a silent, music-less existence in order to check off boxes on a list of mundane daily tasks? It’s as if I hit the mute button and I now feel deaf to all joyful noise.

But, is this just nostalgia? Am I romanticizing a time when the stakes were so much lower? Time was cheap, and responsibilities limited. What else did we have to do besides get lost in the obscurities of some punk rock history and practice guitar scales for a couple of hours a day?

I used to write songs about never becoming the type of person who’d be writing something like this. If I still knew everything, I’d ask myself what I should be listening to.

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