Originally published on https://www.varsity.co.uk
The Christmas tree is down, your New Year’s hangover is long gone and the multiple boxes of Quality Street you acquired are now being used to store excess stationery. It is officially the season of resolution and in keeping with the atmosphere of self- improvement, I’ve decided to do a bit of musical preening myself.
Over the holidays I came to the realisation that there are tonnes of ‘classic’ albums I still haven’t properly listened to. We’re talking The Beach Boys: Pet Sounds, Nirvana: Nevermind, The Velvet Underground, the list goes on. True I probably know the few famous tunes everybody else does, but it seems almost fraudulent to listen to such brilliant music in such a shallow way. Therefore, this year I am going to attempt to listen to music in a more traditional way, before the rise of streaming sites made shuffling through an album so easy. Recently, my trigger finger for skipping tracks has been incredibly quick, so hopefully by instilling a bit more patience into my listening habits I will have a more fulfilling experience. In the New Year, I am making it my resolution to listen to a different classic album every week from cover to cover and to write a mini review on how I found the experience. Hopefully by the end of the year I will feel much more musically informed!
Hand in hand with this resolution is an exciting new purchase I have made to kickstart 2018. After years of research and desperately watching scenes from High Fidelity, I have finally taken the plunge and bought my first record player. For me 2018 should all about appreciating the present a lot more, what is going on right now with your friends, your family and in general the world around us rather than giving into digital temptations. My aim is to appreciate music more this year and the physical presence of owning and buying vinyl is something that lends itself to this.
A resolution I’m sure many of you will share, is to go and see much more live music. I absolutely love going to gigs but with the price of them being fairly high and often down to my own lack of organisation, I tend to leave a lot of my gig-going to Summer time. However, having seen how thriving the live music scene in Cambridge is and with such quick links to London, there really isn’t any excuse. This year I am pledging to go and watch as many Artists as I possibly can, after all live music encompasses so much it would be a crime not to soak up as much as possible. Two particularly exciting bands playing Cambridge Junction in February are Marmozets and The Amazons, both bold and exciting performers, now staples of the festival calendar, so be sure to snap up tickets whilst you still can! The same goes for general culture as live theatre, comedy events and art exhibitions are equally as numerous. If comedy is your thing, be sure to catch some of your favourite comedians at Corn Exchange this term as the venue will be host to an absolutely star-studded line up including Katherine Ryan, Joel Dommett, Jimmy Carr, Ed Byrne and Jon Richardson!
Another resolution I have for 2018 is to give some new musical genres a go. I have always considered myself as having fairly eclectic taste, being able to skip from indie/alternative to Jazz, through Classical and then into anything from electro-funk to contemporary. However, despite my best efforts I have never quite been able to get my head around grime/hip-hop/rap… to be honest I don’t even know if there is a difference between the genres or if they are all the same thing! So, as I am on a musical journey of self-improvement I think it is about time I at least make an attempt to understand the style!
This year is certain to be an absolutely great one for the music scene. With many well-known favourites making long awaited returns and plenty of exciting up and coming Artists proving their worth, we are in for a year of brilliant new records and a whole host of great performers. Just as Vinyl is returning and bringing quality music to a new generation, a personal resolution of mine for this column is to bring as much attention as possible to the brilliant new Artists breaking into the industry at the moment. There is so much great talent out there I look forward to meeting as many of them as possible and showcasing their work. So, in the spirit of turning over a new leaf and looking ahead to a brilliant term, let’s raise the last dregs of New Year’s bubbly to a newly enriched lease of musical life!