Right, January, then. We’ve had our festive breaks and time to consider and ponder about what was great in 2022 (not much!) and what could be better in the year to follow (all of it!), but now it’s crunch time. How do you manifest and maintain sweeping changes across your life, personality and beyond at the drop of the hat and with little planning? It’s no easy feat, and you probably should have thought about it before, really.
Your music listening habits, however, are fairly lightweight in comparison. It takes only a small amount of consideration to mix things up and unlock a whole new world of sounds, possibilities and decisions to better the experience. Everyone’s changes will be different, and not all as radical, but if you’re considering some music-related New Year’s resolutions, here are a few to start you off…
Discover new music!
This may sound painfully simple, but it can prove revolutionary: that fuzzy, giddy feeling when you stumble onto an emerging artist and discover a new favourite is truly eternal. So why not make that more of a mission in 2023? We’ve just launched The NME 100 2023, an exhaustive guide to the essential emerging artists that’ll brighten up your life this year. Delve into NME’s full playlist of the list here.
There’s huge new names on the horizon who could dominate your listening: FLO, Dylan, Ice Spice, STONE and more. And then there’s burgeoning scenes across the globe to throw yourself into. There’s Amapiano, a South African-born genre that now has global roots, lighting up dancefloors worldwide; or maybe Loud LDN is more your bag, a collective of young all-female and non-binary musicians reclaiming their place in the drum’n’bass genre.
Start a listening challenge!
Music isn’t a box-ticking exercise, but there certainly are ways to provide some fun and push your boundaries. Perhaps it’s the time to dive into one our 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list from 2013 and familiarise yourself with cult classics that passed you by, or rekindle with an old favourite. Or how about doing a deep dive on an artist or genre you’ve always wanted to get to know a bit better? We’ve got handy guides on post-punk, the evolution of emo and beyond.
Dive into the archives!
“Writing about music is like dancing about architecture” claims the old idiom, but that doesn’t make it any less fun. Music book publishers are going strong given the demand from readers, and the bountiful stories still yet to be told. Big names like Bono (Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story) and Bob Dylan (The Philosophy of The Modern Song) both released works in the last year, and there’s always tall tales from Patti Smith (Just Kids, 2010), Dave Grohl (The Storyteller, 2021), Elton John (Me, 2019) and more to consider.
Elsewhere, there’s new stories being told by writers like Kaitlyn Tiffany (Everything I Need I Get from You: How Fangirls Created the Internet as We Know It), Marissa R Moss (Her Country: How the Women of Country Music Became the Success They Were Never Meant to Be) and more, that dig into previously untold scenes and subcultures; you’ll end up as a more enriched music lover because of them.
Relive some of the best gigs of all time!
YouTube is your friend, here. An astonishing collection of full shows live on the streaming service for free. You can head back in time to watch the masters do their thing, or recent legends showcasing their powers at the top of their talents: there’s legendary outings from Miles Davis, James Brown, Daft Punk and more all available to watch in full.
If you fancy something more contemporary, why not revisit Beyoncé Homecoming on Netflix, or Olivia Rodrigo and Billie Eilish’s recent performances on Disney+? The 1975, meanwhile, have just released a concert film from their raucous NYC show last year on Amazon Prime, where you can watch Matty Healy eat a raw steak (allegedly) in high definition.
Head out to a show!
2023 is stuffed with huge tours and long-awaited reunions, alongside a bountiful selection of festivals across the globe. Taylor Swift will kick off her Eras Tour in the US this summer, while both Blur and Pulp are getting the band back together for shows across the UK and Europe. But perhaps there’s an opportunity to head down to something unknown and throw yourself into something completely new. Go support your local performers, venues and scenes and usher in the stars of tomorrow by voting with your feet – they need you now more than ever.