Music and Internet Porn

Steven Hyden writes about reviewing Radiohead’s King Of Limbs and how opinions on music change over time:

Your opinions as a music fan tend to be instinctual and emotional—in contrast to the self-conscious, intellectual aesthetics of the critic—and you’re under no obligations to justify them beyond your own whims. Besides, there’s a lot of music out there; it can seem like a chore to spend extra time with something that seems unappealing at first contact when there are so many other choices. But one of the many great things about being a music fan is that you have an open invitation to revisit any artist whenever you feel like it; somebody that didn’t strike your fancy today might end up being a new obsession a year from now.

This is something I’ve been thinking of lately. When I was young I didn’t have so much music available to me. I bought maybe a CD or two each month, so I’d listen to albums over and over again and naturally grow fond of them over time even if I disliked them the first time around. But today there are millions and millions of tracks readily available to everybody — it’s tough to rediscover what you love, or find something to love about something you previously disliked, when there’s always something new enticing you.

It’s almost like what John Mayer said about pornography:

PLAYBOY: What’s your point about porn and relationships?

MAYER: Internet pornography has absolutely changed my generation’s expectations. How could you be constantly synthesizing an orgasm based on dozens of shots? You’re looking for the one photo out of 100 you swear is going to be the one you finish to, and you still don’t finish. Twenty seconds ago you thought that photo was the hottest thing you ever saw, but you throw it back and continue your shot hunt and continue to make yourself late for work. How does that not affect the psychology of having a relationship with somebody? It’s got to.

I think the same thing to music is happening in music.