I've been mentally exhausted for the past couple of weeks, so I apologize for the lack of updates and work on the site. I'm beginning to lose track of time and wondering where it even all is going. Luckily, I haven't let my thoughts dwindle. A lot of things have been popping up around a thought I've been having for some time now and I finally have some musings hitting me one by one to put some sort of entry together for it.
What is the point of an RIYL?
Now, before you all start shooting off obvious answers (seriously, who reads this blog anyway?), I want you to really think about the question I'm asking. Think about the reason for a "recommended if you like" and why it has been implemented by so many publications including our own on the reg. Now, I want to go back to a blog that Jason wrote this week. Read it. I want you to think about not only what Jason is saying, but the lengthy, heartfelt way he has written it. To me, if Jason were to write a review on the new Transit record tomorrow, his RIYL would be absolutely useless. He's not telling you about the record - he's telling you how it courses through his veins, what memories he relates it to and how an album can completely overwhelm your senses where there is no means of detachment.
This past week I got to spend a good two days with friends in Aficionado while they were in town with Tim Kasher on tour. We were discussing the whole Taking Back Sunday relationship that some people were connecting the band to. Now, for myself, hearing their album made me think more of later Piebald than TBS, and the band still kind of isn't putting two and two together on it. That's their opinion, and you have yours. The subjectivity of music is wonderful that way. Then there's Kasher himself. An artist that just keeps dipping his talents into project after project. His solo doesn't sound like The Good Life and that's all far from the operas that Cursive have been writing since Domestica. But the headspace Tim Kasher puts you in is usually the same: drunk, looking for love, wondering what the previous two all means in the long run. Seeing his solo show further proves that - and everyone in the room is generally held by his honesty. It's a feeling that has captured fans like us all.
So when I originally asked you the point of a RIYL, I wanted you to think about how you really would recommend an album to someone else. How does that album move you? What about the record can you describe past relating them to another band? Music has the ability to let us drain itself through us like we were hooked up to an IV as means of some sort of life support. We don't relate bands to other bands or albums to other songs, etc. - no, we're just using all of that as a front to describe how those bands' albums made us feel and continue to make us live. Music is an art, and no matter the medium of art, it has the ultimate way of marking some sort of relationship with the individual making a varied range of connection to it. So in that sense, RIYL are kind of deemed useless because each individuals' relationship to the piece of work will differ gradually based on their past knowledge of relatable art and "perfect timing" one will gain from each individual experience. So sure, Breathe Carolina got you through a horrible break-up? Why should I be the asshole who bashes that down?
This is what I want you to do this week. I want you to take an album that's near and dear to you, and I want you to pass it onto someone. Instead of just passing on the album because you think the person will enjoy it, I want you to pass it along because you think it might mean something to them depending on what they're currently going through, the age and discovery of their life and/or how it relates to other music that they're currently cooking down and shooting up with. Don't tell them it sounds like something else - tell them about how it made or still makes you feel alive, depressed, motivated and/or gives a basis of closure to your life. Don't recommend it to them - offer it up on the silver platter you have held it on.