When Years Of Music Review Start To Take Their Toll…

This is a very difficult piece for me to write, but it needs to be stated. It’s no surprise that things have changed here at The Tower in recent months, and that of course has much to do with lack of an editorial staff, the loss of my colleague and my taxing dayjob as a truck unloader for Walmart. But there are some other reasons for that, one in particular that I didn’t want to admit and have been keeping silent for a while. I’ve overdone it. I’ve really, really, overdone it. First of all, I have slight a case of military neck from headbanging way too much when I was a teenager/young adult and didn’t really realize how bad that could be when I got older, added to the slight scoliosis I already have – but that’s not what I’m getting at here. You see, I’m suffering hearing loss. Yep, it’s come to that.

First of all, let me tell you why I’m suffering hearing loss. When I was very active in this industry, I was listening to upwards of over a hundred pieces of music a month, which more or less was equal to six to eight hours of straight music a day, mostly metal. I’ve been listening to loud music for many years, but after the four years of straight music my ears could only take so much. I listened to well over a thousand records a year, so much to the point that they were just going in one ear and out the other like water. That’s because there’s just too much. Kunal of Transcending Obscurity posted a topic about covering older album reviews and many of the commenters in this industry said the same thing – there’s just too much music. We can’t cover it all, no one on this fucking planet can cover it all. You can’t keep up, you can’t be current, so why try? Now my ears have become extremely sensitive to the point where extremely sharp treble or bass nodes actually hurt them. I actually suffer from a minute bit of ear pain everyday. It’s there, but barely noticeable – sometimes it feels like an itch. If that’s not an issue, than there’s also the fact that I just can’t hear as good as I used to. While at work, I end up saying the word “what?” more than I’d like to count and the other associates that I work with are noticing. I can still pick up some things, but for the most part it is a bit of a struggle. This isn’t normal for me and didn’t really happen until just recently. As much as I love music, some tones can just simply hurt. My ears are more sensitive to certain sounds than they’ve ever been, and it definitely sucks. Due to this, I’ve been lowering my volumes on several devices – my computer, my MP3 player (I’m now told these are outdated, but that’s fine as I am also outdated) my television, you name it – heavy bass seems to do fuck all to me and it’s not cool. On the plus side, I’ve listened to and reviewed thousands of albums during what I’d like to call my heyday, but I just feel out of it these days. I still review, but I just don’t feel as committed anymore. Part of me wants to keep going, the other part wants to back everything up and close shop early to write books again. Especially considering the obvious signs of ear damage that I have. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve loved this work. I’ve enjoyed more albums than I ever could have reviewed, and those who’ve followed me up to this point will understand the sheer size of that statement. I don’t know what I’m at right now, all avenues combined – four thousand? Five thousand? I’ve spent so many years doing this work that I can’t even keep track. I still have at least ten reviews yet to post.

When I first started this stuff, I was committed to getting out more releases than the other guys and really tried to be a one-man army, regardless of who was operating the main site. Now I just don’t care about trying to be the biggest or the best, and I’ve already discussed my distaste for some of the industry practices at large. Again, there’s just too much coming out right now and I can’t keep track of it. Several of the acts are making carbon copies of other records as well, just with a slight variation that sets them apart from no one. To me, there are very few innovators these days, but plenty of music. The age of the internet has seen anyone become a musician, so we have a great deal of music and not so much in the way of quality, no offense to anyone of course – that’s just how I’ve seen it. The sheer influx of artists makes it increasingly difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff, so many great acts are simply just not heard. Everyone does spotify and podcasts and all sorts of stuff now, so there’s just this huge clusterfuck of media and information that I feel buried under, especially with social media which has been a great detriment. The fact of the matter is that several of the emails I receive go unread, and even if I do download and listen to a promo, there’s no telling when I’ll be able to cover it. I’m even having a tough time covering the physicals, but try my best to get those written up. I’m still only looking at a really shitty internet deal because of the city I live in, which I am not fond of and would love to move from. That’s not an option for me right now, but it may be in the future – and should, before things get truly grim as I’ve been told they could be. As of right now, I will maintain a couple of releases every week. Signs are pointing to me getting a new mobile with more memory capabilities, as my phone is so drastically slow with updating WordPress at times that it makes me want to throw it. But I still manage to take half a lunchbreak out of my work period to update when able. At this point in time, that is really all I can do though. To be honest, it’s not even really worth sending me email submissions anymore because I just don’t have the time. Physicals are still getting covered, but once again – I can’t deal with all of these records at one time, especially with the ear issues.

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