November 29, 2006

Snow Patrol and J.J. Cale toss leftovers to Gomez*

(update)


It's a good habit to start: Songbird, Willie Nelson; That Was Me, Todd Snider; Picaresqueties, The Decemberists; We Were Born In a Flame, Sam Roberts; The Departed soundtrack; and The Animal Years, Josh Ritter.

and always open to suggestions....

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The layer of dust on my CD's is getting thicker. I'm thinking of using them to tile the den or as wallpaper in the boys' room... coasters, anyone?

At the risk of echoing previous generational rants ("damn that Top 40 radio!" "who wants my MTV?" "kids these days..."), I do feel the need to decry the loss of status in my life and in my listening habits of the good ol' fashioned "album" -- has anybody listened to Exile on Mainstreet, 14 Shots to the Dome, or even M!ssundaztood lately? I don't think I've listened to more than two tracks in a row from the same artist unless I accidentally clicked off the random button. I listen more in themes now, my moods are playlists to be dialed and selected for the appropriate soundtrack. I listen in singles, buying tracks selected from Napster or iTunes, so while I have broadened my variety and purchased more artists than before, the last packaged cd in its jewel case I picked up at Target may have been... STP's Thank You? Los Lobos The Ride?

Financial considerations play a part, of course. Would you rather have the variety pack of 8 different flavors or pay the same price for a box that's all oatmeal raisin, and you only like the first one, and half of the third, before you get bored and toss the box to the back of the pantry? I listen to Pandora or Paste Radio, and I'll download anything you recommend on Napster, then make my selections as to how I'll spend my hard-earned 99¢ (...ok, TMW&BWITW's 99¢, but she wouldn't want me to spend it frivolously). This means if I want to listen to show tunes, not that there's anything wrong with that, I can do my best Gene Kelly impersonation without buying discs filled with Ethel Merman and Mandy Patinkin, and if someone gives Gorillaz or Bo Bice two thumbs up I can listen, hit "next track" many times, and quickly, then never subject my ears to it again.


But the last complete disc, "LP album" for you history majors, I listened to front to back, track by track, was an honorary listen, an aural celebration for the 30th anniversary of Born to Run.


I started this spiel to lament the passing of the album-listening experience in my life. Albums used to be a cohesive whole, tracks would relate to each other, feed off one another, lead the listener along the width of the disc, be it black and vinyl or shiny silver. There was a beginning, the first song or even an intro or prelude, and there was a last song, sometimes a hidden untitled track to reward patient listeners who took a second or two after the last note to savor the moment instead of rushing to change discs.


I don't know about you, but I sort of miss the days of eagerly anticipating the day a new album was released, or being able to pick up the missing disc in an artist's collection. I remember the debates of the early CD era, when there was sometimes a difficult decision to be made on how to spend that hard-earned 17.99+TX -- on the new Pearl Jam or a classic Pink Floyd? Get the new Poison or Bobby Brown, or replace the all-time favorites from the record collection? And was The Wall worthy of a CD, or would Dark Side... be enough? C'mon now, Picnic-'n-Chicken didn't pay enough to get both. Now I just buy songs, both old and new, some to play just once or to entertain/educate my boys, some beacause they're the newest from my favorites and I don't want to go to Wal Mart and spend all my allowance on a couple of discs. I like hearing new artists I never would pick up on a disc, until they were on sale or through Columbia House 15 months later, and I like being able to get a few new songs to mix into the "taco night" playlist when we, well, on nights we have tacos. I guess I need to designate an "album night" and listen to a few complete productions, turn the shuffle button off and appreciate the original track listing.

Tunnel of Love, Abbey Road, Damn the Torpedos, Diamonds & Dirt, The Score, Hollywood Town Hall, Late Registration, New Miserable Experience, Rubber Soul, Pablo Honey, Silk Degrees, Storms of Life... any suggestions? I'd better get listenin'....


...


Ah, I feel better already. Less fractured, distracted, busy. Listened to every track, one right after the other, on the same album from the same artist! It's almost like having a conversation with someone, sitting down on the couch without a lot of interuptions and distractions, instead of working the room at a party. So I feel like I've had a beer and chatted it up with John Legend, Once Again, J.J. Cale and Eric Clapton, The Road to Escondido, and Snow Patrol, Eyes Open.


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*actually they ain't half bad, in a quirky poeticly poppy way (Champagne for Monkeys!). thanks for the intro, 2x4!

3 comments:

twobuyfour said...

I recently got chastised by Slim for not purchasing any contemporary music. My latest acquisitions have been Hank Sr., Johnny Cash, Van Morrison and Louis Armstrong. So I told her I bought Gomez about a year ago, and Chris Botti a month ago. That didn't really win me the argument.

Brian said...

welcome to middle age.

Karmyn R said...

The day I officially realized I was no longer young and hip (I don't know if I ever was hip) - was the day I watched the Grammy's a few years back - and didn't know ONE damn winner. It was so depressing. Now I don't even care anymore - just hope for something recognizable on the radio that doesn't involve children's voices.