Friday, February 5, 2010

I've ruined music for myself...but I'm gonna try and make it better

This morning, I woke up well past my desired waking hour. As I walked out into the living room, a heaping pile of records sat on the couch. A friend of mine lent them to me last night but I'd momentarily forgotten due to alcohol induced short term memory loss.

So it's raining out, it's Friday, I'm sure there are things I could be doing but....the rain just takes away my ambition. My hangover doesn't help much either. So with that said, a rainy day seemed like an ideal day to listen to these records; which I'm doing as I write this. Currently, I am listening to Abner Jay, which I'm totally digging.

So I sit here listening to this and eventually I'm going to have to get up and switch sides because I want to hear what else Abner Jay can do. I'm engulfed exclusively in Abner Jay and I can listen to this record as a whole and listen to each song that comprises the one album. And it is this pleasure, (giving the entire album our attention, hearing every song that one musician has to give,) that we've lost with the internet.

Give me an artist. Any artist. Within half an hour, I can go online and download their entire discography. In the case of someone like, I don't know, Tom Waits, that's maybe 25 albums, give or take. Am I going to take the time to sit and listen to all 25 of those albums on my computer? (In the Tom Waits example, my answer is yes, but with just about anything else, no.) No I will not sit and listen to every album and song to JUST be listening to it. This is why I totally understand why people have record collections. With a vinyl record, listening to music isn't just listening to music. It's an activity. To sit down, and listen to a collection of songs from start to beginning. The way we listen to music now, is download as much as we can from an artist we like, (and I unfortunately am no different in this case. I'm just as guilty,) and then maybe stumble upon some of it when we're listening to our entire library on shuffle. The problem is that we have so much access to SOO much music that we don't take the time to listen to appreciate each one as it is. There might be that one song that you like and you just listen to that song.

It doesn't even seem like people listen to CDs anymore. I remember when I would buy a CD and play it in my car until I knew the words to every song. I'd wear it the fuck out and then buy another CD to do the exact same thing to. That doesn't happen anymore. Remember going to school and discussing with your friends whatever CD was big at the time. You didn't even know the names of the songs. It was always, "Well I like number 3,6 and 7." "Oh, well I really enjoyed number 10." Songs were represented by numbers. But that didn't matter because people were at least listening to all of the songs and determining which ones stuck out the most.

Anyway, the point to all of this really is just that music is too easily available today and the selection can just be overwhelming. And so this is what I'm going to do. I'm going to stop downloading music until I listen to what I have. And even then, I sound like a douche because I download music to start with. But I rationalize by buying what I really like on vinyl. Except for Tom Waits because he's impossible to find and then when you do, he costs more than I want to pay. But one of these days, when I start making some money, I'm going to invest in a better record player and start buying records regularly because although collecting vinyl seems to be a fad right now with a certain kind of people, it's one that I completely get.

(The record by this point has changed to Mazzy Star's "Among My Swan." Really awesome. I had never heard of them but I'm glad I know them now. See what happens?)

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