Blog Plans for 2021

Throughout the last quarter of 2020, one of the things I kept telling myself was that we just need to get to the next year. And I know I wasn’t the only person who was thinking this way. There’s something about the symbolic change from one year to the next that encourages us to look forward to better things and motivates us to do better in several areas of our lives. Hell, I created a massive list of things I want to do this year, big and small, to improve myself and the way I manage my life. It’s nice and easy and convenient to blame bad luck and the state of the world on an arbitrary grouping of 12 months, but the real causes of all these problems don’t follow a calendar. I mean, we’re not even a whole month into 2021 and it’s already given me a healthy dose of crazy, not just in the current events but in my personal life as well. But, I’m not ready to give up on Continuous Thunder just yet. I’m not entirely sure what it will look like this year, but I will do my best in this post to outline my current plans and intentions for the blog in 2021 as well as take care of some housekeeping from last year.

First off, I want to wrap up a big loose end from 2020. I was trying to go through the decade of the 2010s and go over some of my favorite releases from each year. I believe the last one that I published was for the year 2014. As of right now, I have no intentions of finishing that series. It was already taking far longer than it should have and most people probably stopped caring about “best of the decade” lists by March or April anyway. It just doesn’t make sense to me to extend it into the next year or to have an unfinished series hanging over my head while I’m trying to listen to new music and write new content. I might revisit it if there’s some kind of outcry in the comments begging me to complete the retrospective, but for now it’s ending at 2014.

Somewhat related since I started this back in 2020 is the Monthly Thunder playlists on Spotify. The first update to the playlists in 2021 will not be happening until February at the earliest, and quite possibly not until March. I’m still trying to get back into the swing of listening to the new music that comes out, and my personal life has thrown some unique curveballs that have been affecting that. I have started listening to some new stuff, slowly but surely, but I don’t know if I’ll have gotten through enough to update the playlists by February. There’s also a chance that the structure of the playlists may have to change because of how much I listen to, but we’ll get to that later in the post. The bottom line is, don’t look for playlist updates until February at the earliest.

Moving on to the actual plans for 2021, I should cover my plans for the most important bit of behind-the-scenes work for this blog: listening to new releases. In 2020, I listened to over 1100 new releases. No, that’s not a typo. And I think anyone would agree that that’s an insane amount of music to listen to, whether it’s your job or not, and especially when this is just a hobby and you already have a day job. There’s no doubt in my mind that this was one of the biggest contributing factors to my constant burnout on this project. Every week just brought a pile of new music that would hang over my head for the next month. It wasn’t really possible to enjoy the music or give it the time it needed to write a decent review. Plus, I didn’t have any time to revisit old favorites from my teenage years or even the past few years.

This year, I am going to make a conscious effort to listen to less music. Now, I’m not entirely sure how I’m going to do that as I have a bit of FOMO when it comes to new music. That album that you pass on might end up being your new favorite. But that’s a risk I’m going to have to learn to take. Even if I can reduce my listening by a few hundred albums, it will make a significant impact on my workload for this blog and give me a chance to actually listen to the music. Hopefully this will allow me to enjoy this project as the hobby that it was originally intended to be.

As far as a timeline or schedule for publishing new reviews, well… I don’t know. I wish I could tell you, but last year and the past couple months in particular, have just sucked a lot out of me and the blog just wasn’t a priority for the limited resources I had. Unfortunately, that’s still pretty much the case. Things need to even out a bit more before I can think of committing to any sort of publishing schedule. That doesn’t mean I’ll be completely silent. I’ll still be active on social media and I hope to toss you a few scraps here and there, whether they be reviews of some classic albums or a few pieces for Sleeping Village. So keep an eye out for that.

One last piece of housekeeping for this post regards a relatively minor change to how things will work from now on. If you look at the score guide (either in the sidebar or at the bottom of this post, depending on where you’re reading this) you’ll notice that I have changed my scoring system to be out of 10 rather than out of 5. When I started writing scored reviews, I chose to score out of 5 based on starred reviews as I thought they did a better job of conveying the score. However, that only really works if you’re actually using stars, and I wasn’t. Scoring out of 10 is more universal, people will understand more readily if I refer to a score by a single number, and I won’t have to transpose my scores or qualify that they’re out of 5 anymore. It’s a minor thing that I’ve wanted to do for awhile, and a new year seemed like an appropriate time to make the change.

But that should cover everything that I wanted to. Again, I’m sorry that I can’t give you a more solid timeline of when regular publishing will start up again. But I hope the promise of at least some new content is enough to keep you coming back. 2020 was a wild ride, here’s hoping 2021 goes a little more smoothly.