I have forgotten every band I ever loved.
Music has become infinite, freed up by the constraints of CDs, hard drives, portable players in our pockets. We have graduated through ten generations of iPods, Microsoft Zunes, iRivers, SanDisks, Sony Discmans, TDK blank CDs scrawled in Sharpie, to ephemera. Music is everywhere, but it is nowhere.
This is a serious problem that is only partially rectified by the fact that David and I have been running a website that documents this relationship for the past decade. Deep in the recesses of the web, in a place no social media algorithm will ever refer you, lives a time capsule of our continued romance with 3 and a half minute compositions. (And you know, some eight minute ones, too.)
Each new generation has their own story of music. Ours is the tale of the song as a file; divested of its relationship to a record, fragmented into bytes, filtered through Napster, Kazaa, Limewire, mp3 blogs and eventually, cut loose of its physical presence entirely.
We were not aware when we began this project a decade ago that we would be engaged in a subtle war against impermanence. One A Day started, hilariously enough, because David and I believed that the smash-and-grab, a la carte culture of blogs was leaving critical appreciation of music as an art form behind. Neither of us would have predicted that this was merely the prelude to what has now become playlist-dominated playing field, in which throwing together anything that takes our fancy without owning, downloading or paying for it has become common practice.
I have forgotten every band that I ever loved. But bizarrely, I remember more lyrics than math formulas, street names, directions or Shakespeare.
I’m ahead of my time, sometimes years out, so that the powers that be won’t let me get my ideas out/and that make me wanna get my advance out/move to Oklohoma and just live in my Aunt’s house
— Kanye West, ‘Gone’ (2009)
I haven’t hated all the same things as somebody else
Since I remember
What’s going on for
What are you doing with your whole life
How about forever
— Father John Misty, ‘Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins)’ (2015)
Even when it’s full to the brim, bursting with pointless trivia, complex 808 rhythms and melodic lines that I won’t ever be able to use at karaoke, music finds a way. It’s found a way to bind two brothers together for ten years, despite dramatic differences in ideology and geography. It’s found a way of transforming our family into one where the arts remains at the top of the dinner table agenda, with every communal event a conversation about new albums or which gig we are going to next.
Fundamentally, though, music has stayed in the foreground for us when it has become the background for so many others. This is a blessing for us, something we fight to maintain and the main reason we continue with a blog some five years after they’ve been declared dead. The active art of listening, of foraging and searching, whether that’s through pages of illegal Russian webservers, Napster user folders, record bins or CD racks, is endangered. We love streaming as much as the next space-restricted Apple user, but it is rewiring how our brains compartmentalise music.
I have forgotten every band that I ever loved. But I remember the first song I ever wrote about on One A Day.
It was about a band called Stars. They are Canadian and they are super-emotional and they wrote a song called ‘Your Ex-Lover Is Dead’. I believe I heard it on the soundtrack to The O.C, but the context doesn’t matter as much as the feeling, the shiver that ran across my shoulders and almost caused me to flinch when that beautiful string arrangement unfurled.
It’s one of the many feelings we’ve been chasing as music lovers our entire lives. We’ve found it, fleetingly, in Lupe Fiasco verses, Jason Isbell ballads and rousing codas from Gang Of Youths. But the search is never over, which is what makes our job that much more wonderful.
Music is nowhere. We have spent the last ten years writing things down, trying to ensure that — even if only briefly — we can actually place it somewhere. That when you read about a new band that reminds you of a group you loved in highschool, a neo-soul revivalist collaborating with a funk legend or a rapper that flips a line from a classic, it stirs something within you; to go and make those links, to play that track, to make it yours and make it real.
Thankyou for reading. Thankyou for listening.
Jonathan and David Seidler
Editors and co-founders,