In general, I encourage people to try more new records and go to more concerts.
But if you’re looking for a more specific direction to go in your musical journey through 2014, I have some suggestions.
Following up the past three years, here are more musical New Year’s resolutions.
Find a band you like and listen to its entire discography.
It’s especially rewarding with a group that has released a lot of albums over decades. I once did it with Tom Petty. You’ll learn a lot and gain heaps of respect for the artist — whether or not you love everything he or she made.
Go to the merch booth after a show and buy a T-shirt. Or an album. Or both.
You just supported an artist in probably the best way that you can. And you probably got to meet one of them when you bought something.
Omahans, look at the calendars at Lincoln music venues and head down there for a show.
Lincolnites, do the same up here in Omaha.
Buy an album from a local band.
Try something you’re not normally into.
Love country? Try out Daft Punk. Hate hip-hop? Give Jay Z’s latest a shot. Ask a friend for a suggestion, put the record on, listen to it from start to finish and see what you think. Maybe you’ll still be turned off, but maybe you’ll be intrigued by something you never had a taste for previously.
Read someone’s autobiography.
Just about every famous musician has penned his or her life story (often with help from another writer). Learn something.
Resolve to give new music one more chance.
Too often, we dismiss a song or an album or an artist after one listen. Give it another go. Some music just has to grow on you.
Buy a turntable.
Or borrow one. Or dig one out of your mom’s basement.
Organize your music.
Whether it’s a pile of CDs, a shelf full of vinyl or all the MP3s in your iTunes, you’ll feel better if everything is alphabetized. At the very least, it will be easier to find everything.
Instead of streaming that one song a ton of times on Spotify, just go buy it.
It will sound better, you’ll never have to worry about your Internet connection, and the artist will get more money out of the deal.
Listen to one band from each of the 50 states.
Good luck with that one.
Here’s a look at how I did with my resolution suggestions from last year.
Skip out on acquiring music in a less-than-legal fashion. I didn’t download any music illegally this year.
Collect the entire discography of a band. I have everything ever made by quite a few bands.
Join a record label’s singles club. I didn’t, but I’m looking at Merge Records’ anniversary set that includes one 7-inch split single sent out each month of 2014.
Find a local band you like and go see them several times. Done.
Write a fan letter. Does writing emails to band publicists count?
Go on a music road trip. I drove to Lollapalooza once again.