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Music is a shortcut to joy. Here’s my specific method for expanding your horizons

Finally hearing the 11,000 songs I’d downloaded but ignored was life-affirming – and in lockdown I’ve started working my way through whole albums

I have just listened to an album all the way through – twice. It was awful both times, but I am glad I did it. These things are important. It’s not good enough just to listen to music you like; you have to suffer for your art. No pain, no gain.

About 10 years ago, I realised I was in danger of living my musical life without much moving on from where I was in my teens. There is nothing wrong with Prefab Sprout, Led Zeppelin, John Martyn, Van Morrison and Nena – far from it – but there was a lot more out there to discover. Worse than that, there was an awful lot I already owned but hadn’t listened to. I had nearly 15,000 songs on my iPod, and according to iTunes I had only listened to 4,000 of them. This was partly because I had loaded a lot of my brother’s stuff on there, which included more Bob Dylan and Tangerine Dream albums than either Bob or Tangerine Dream knew they’d made.

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