Happy New Year, everyone. I hope you all had a fantastic 2011. As I alluded to a few weeks ago, I have every intention of sharing my “Best Of 2011” lists with you, but I got sidetracked because of the holidays, travel and utter laziness. I still maintain said original intentions of sharing my favorites from the previous year, even if they slightly bleed into 2012.
Most music award shows have a Best New Artist Category which usually recognizes an individual or band who isn’t that new and is already reasonably popular like Arcade Fire, Wiz Khalifa or Adele. Fucking Adele…
Anyway, I took a spin on the category and decided to share new discoveries in general – a few things I discovered in 2011 that improved my life significantly. A few of these probably don’t constitute as new discoveries to the general population, but they were still firsts for me in 2011 and I’m never going back to the dark days of 2010.
I never bought into the Netflix or Hulu craze. I don’t like Pandora much either. But I wouldn’t say that I don’t stream content – that would be a fallacy. I use Youtube, Hype Machine, SoundCloud and even Myspace quite frequently, but I never saw a need to subscribe to a streaming service for my entertainment needs. Then I discovered Spotify and I was instantly addicted – cloud-based social music has dramatically bettered my standard of living, working, exercising and driving.
I’m a huge proponent of compiling playlists; and sadly, mixed tapes and burned CDs are becoming increasingly obsolete in the current digital landscape. But Spotify lets you create as many playlists as you want and share them with peers. Conversely, subscribing to playlists created by your friends, favorite celebrities and media critics is a wonderful way of discovering new music. It’s like having everyone’s media libraries at your fingertips! (which was actually possible, yet highly illegal, in my college dormitory).
I also feel strongly about purchasing music, but it’s obviously an expensive habit. Spotify enables me to preview new tracks and albums before pulling the trigger. Plus, what an effective way to pick music for an event – like an office holiday party or something. I am a Premium subscriber or whatever it’s called (the $9.99/month version) because I think having unlimited listens and the mobile app is completely worth the money. It would be interesting to learn how many hours I’m plugged into this streaming service; I’d estimate at least 5 hours a day.
2. The Dan Patrick Show
I’m the kind of person who needs noise while I’m working because I find deafening quiet terribly distracting. Also, there are two very talkative colleagues who have conference calls all day that sit in earshot of my cubicle. Therefore, when I don’t feel like listening to music at the office, I opt for podcasts and upon my roommate’s strong recommendation, I started listening to The Dan Patrick Show.
Wrapping up the best and worst sports performances of the weekend has made my Mondays exponentially more enjoyable. The personalities on the show are also the perfect anecdote to those post-lunch afternoon slumps. I would say my overall knowledge of sports is a 6, probably an 8 or 9 for girls and The DP Show is an unassuming, funny way for me to stay updated on my teams, other teams and the industry in general. The show is also great for long distance drives, fantasy football planning and conversation-starting with boys.
3. Lana Del Rey
Lana Del Rey is probably the most interesting new artist that I discovered in 2011. Most music blogs and magazines would probably agree to some extent. She’s odd in that Katy Perry kind of way – started off with a different name and a failed music career – then somehow became sexier, controversial and very popular.
Lana Del Rey is really talented and unlike any artist I’ve heard in a while. I’ve liked all of her singles and really look forward to what she comes up with in 2012. However, I’m annoyed by her in the same way I’m annoyed by Tim Tebow – the media just loves talking about them incessantly for no apparent reason. A ton of blogs love to hate on Lana, but that’s really no fault of her own – she’s making good music and people like it. Kind of like how Tim Tebow wins football games even though he’s not that good. But for whatever reason, people dislike them, which kind of sucks because they’re not necessarily unlikable people. They’re just the subject of a ton of media chatter. I hope her new record just knocks it out of the park and shuts people up.
What were your favorite discoveries of 2011?