Thursday, October 06, 2005

1,000 songs in your pocket

Oh what the iPod has done. 1,000 songs in your pocket (or in my case 3,300 and counting) seemed like such a great thing - and it is, but it has permanently changed the way I listen to and how much I enjoy music.

I've had enough - Give me more!

Every month I download 90 songs from eMusic. I probably buy on average another 2-3 albums per month. Then there are the free MP3s you can get everywhere. I think I’ve reached my breaking point. I thought about the music that I had purchased over the past month and with over 7 albums worth, I had not one coherent thought about any of them. I have impressions, but no overwhelming feeling for them.

When Radiohead’s OK Computer was released in 1997 – it was a seminal moment for me and my music listening career (don't laugh - career is a good choice of words for it). To this day I believe it is the best album I have ever heard. The first time I heard it, I got goose bumps. I proceeded to play it so often that to this day it’s as familiar as my family or friends. It is one of the last great albums that for me that is an album and not a bunch of songs.

One day while walking through the city listening to Green Day's American Idiot I realized that it is as good an album as I had heard in years. A classic even. What surprised me is that it took me so long to figure this out. I had had the album for 10 months. I realized that the problem is that now listen to so much music, that it all doesn't have the impact that it once had. Music has become a commodity. Nothing is special anymore and goose bumps are rare.

Music critics often review a cd on one or two listens. That's where I am now. Every month I have 10-15 new albums in my queue. I realize now that I've probably missed some classic because I didn't give it enough time. Proof is when I thought about my top 20 favorite albums - 16 of them were produced prior to 1999. Now part of that is because that is when I was first discovering the music I now listen to, but I think the other part of it desensitization.

So a fleeting thought passed through my head - stop the influx. Yeah, that's a great idea. Stop the influx. But it's like crack - once you've had a taste - you can't go back. How did I live without 300+ cds at my disposal at any given moment.

A discman? 12 songs in my pocket? The dark ages.


tanagrame said...

I actually was able to get a bootleg copy of American Idiot before release. I listened to time. Being a usual Green Day fan, I was surprised. But, the CD did nothing for me. All of sudden, in the last two months, I've been craving it. Although I've come to appreciate the record, I wonder, is this mainstream making its move on me? I care to think not! That would wound my ego too greatly. The CD is good. No doubt. Check out Neutral Milk Hotel, In the Aeroplane over the Sea.
It'll change your life. In a way like Radiohead.

Tripp Kelly said...

I have to say, I listened to American Idiot and immediately started telling people to check it out. I thought it was the best rock album I'd heard in years. Of course, I got a lukewarm reaction from most one wants to admit they still listen to Green Day...or maybe that they ever did. LOL!! But I was vindicated when they won the Grammy's last year. :-)

Tripp Kelly said...

Karma Police from OK Computer was a song that I could just play over and over again. But then so was Paranoid Android, and Exit Music and well... you are right - fantastic album.