Hey you kids! Get the hell off my lawn! With your gameboys and iPods and knife crime. You don’t know you’re born. Back in my day we’d walk seven miles to pick up a CD from our local record store. Uphill. Both ways. The guy there would look down at us from behind the counter and we’d feel small. And we LIKED IT…
But seriously, over the last few years, the way we consume music has changed beyond recognition. The so called ‘iPod generation’ (a horrible, if functional turn of phrase) get their musical kicks in ways – 10 years ago – I would never have imagined. They’re both lucky and unlucky, as they will never experience the things on the list that follows…
1. Spending inordinate amounts of time with CD inserts / Sleeve notes
It’s amazing, the human eye. I would never imagine I could read text as small as I did on some ‘thanks’ lists… Endlessly pouring over the reams of band names, roadie and friends for advice on future purchases. And then spending further hours with the lyrics, reading them along with the songs until you have them word perfect. What he hell do teenagers do with their time now?
2. Lending an album to a friend, and hoping to get it back
It’s the greatest thing you’ve ever heard. The soaring majesty of the music and the depth and poetry of the lyrics. This album speaks to you. If only you had someone to talk about it with! Someone to share the experience. What about your mate, Dave? He’d love this! And he’d be well impressed that you found it first. Now Dave’s got the album and he thinks it’s ‘OK.’ When you ask for it back, he tells you he left it in his mum’s car. You never get that album back. Shit.
3. Broken CD case teeth
They’re designed to hold the CD safely. Designed to protect it. But, damn it, at least 25% of the time – when you open the freshly purchased CD and removed the impossibly snug shrink wrap – there’s that tell-tale rattle telling you that the centre section of teeth has broken apart, rendering the case useless.
4. Walls Of Neatly Stacked CDs
I feel sorry for manufacturers of CD storage solutions. They had no part in the demise of music as a physical medium. They just built furniture. Furniture that is becoming obsolete. It was always a yardstick music fans would use to scope each other out – the amount of wall coved by CDs – sometimes alphabetised by the truly faithful. What now? Check the amount of drive space used by MP3s? Not so easy.
5. Mixtapes with EFFORT
Ok, yes, you can burn a CD, put together a Spotify playlist or just mail over a bunch of MP3s. But that doesn’t count. To put together a proper mix tape you must experience the songs yourself, hit the buttons at the right time and put some effort into the selection. You don’t want the last song to cut out in the middle, so you have to scout song lengths. It’s also a tape, so there will be no skipping. The songs must flow together properly. It’s an art form, really. Sadly a lost one.
6. Putting together CD Wallets For Trips
Twenty minutes before you leave on a two week trip with your family and, although you’ve packed your Discman and headphones, you’ve forgotten to pack your CDs. Shit! What do you do? Grab the first few from the rack or make some tough decisions? This is all you’re going to have for two whole weeks. Your only respite from deadly-dull chit-chat. Greatest hits albums? New albums? Take a risk on the one Dave lent you? Old favorites? The stress is KILLING you.
7. Waiting For Albums To Come Out
Not just waiting – but waiting. Outside of the shop waiting. This shows true commitment to the cause. The shop would open, you would rush in, all excited, and the dude behind the counter would clock you by your clothes, hair and demeanor and have the album ready. Maybe there would be a few of you, huddled in the shop doorway like very well dressed hobos (or if it was a metal album – hobos) awaiting the magic moment when the album could be yours…
8. Tape Trading
When you can’t just Google, Scrob or Lazyweb it, how do you discover new music? By exchanging tapes by post! Underground music was once fueled by the Royal Mail and the C90 tape. Often second or third generation recordings and, quite often, awful. It was the best way of doing business, purely for the surprise factor. What the hell would be on the next one from that strange grindcore fan in the eastern bloc?
9. Skinning Up On An Album Cover
The absolutely perfect place to do it. Plenty of room, no grooves, easy to clean and looks damn good. You can’t skin up on an iPod.
10 The Secret Track
See what I did there?
Remember when you’d listen to an album going to sleep and just as you are about to nod off KRAAGGGGGHHHHHSSSSSS! SECRET TRACK!!!
Terrifying. Sometimes it’d be the band goofing about in the studio. Sometimes an acoustic track. Sometimes just another track… It was an Easter egg for the committed fan and now, sadly consigned to history.