Monday, October 6, 2014

I Am A Stubborn Music Fan

"Just because something is popular, doesn't mean it is good."

I admit to being very stubborn and opinionated.  This is extremely apparent when it comes to music, almost to the point of being confrontational.  It really is an immature mentality to have considering that no two people should have the exact same tastes in music, and should go no further than a casual disagreement.  Of course, I do get a little incensed at anyone who will try to claim a band like Nickelback has any merit, or that the shitty Shinedown cover of Simple Man is superior to the original masterpiece penned by Ronnie Van Zant of Lynyrd Skynyrd.  I'm sorry, but Shinedown took a very well written, simple song and made it sound like whiny, emo shit.

See what I mean?

I am passionate about music, though I am not a creator, just a consumer.  From the time I turned 16 to around the age of 28, I probably purchased close to 500 albums in both CD and cassette formats.  The last CD I remember purchasing was a copy of Stevie Ray Vaughan's Couldn't Stand the Weather in 2009 to replace a missing album for my collection.  This collection includes something from almost every genre imaginable.  I even still have a Sony 300 disc changer sitting in my home office (back in my day kids, a 300 disc changer was the only way to really "shuffle" a music collection).  Hell, the dual cassette deck that was part of that shelf system is packed in the same box.

In the age of digital content, a lot of people view compact discs and cassette tapes as just taking up physical space.  Of course, I've been asked as to why I keep it.  By the way, notice how since it is popular, nobody asks that of vinyl?  I wish I had a good answer, to be honest.  But really, there is no longer that cool feeling of digging through someone's physical collection of albums and discovering something new and different, or that you have some similar tastes.  You simply do not get that feeling scrolling through mp3's.  I kind of view it the same as looking at a printed list of album names.  You get the same information, and quicker, but physically looking at it was simply magical.

I miss album art that wasn't just a placeholder for iTunes.  I long for the anticipation of a Tuesday, when new releases were made available to the public, and in some cases, being friends with a store owner and buying that album on Sunday (I'm looking at you, Garage, Inc.).  Now, even when I do step into a music store, the joy of spending time flipping through the inventory is gone.  It almost feels like there is nothing left to discover.  That is kind of shitty considering how much great music is being written, recorded, and released all the time.

And for the record, I am not rejecting technology (hell, I've made a career out of it).  I love the fact that at any given time, I can reach in my pocket, and pull out a device that gives me access to millions of songs that I can listen to on demand.  I low cost subscription service allows me to randomly listen to something that in the past I would never have purchased.  And it has done amazing things for the independent artist who would have not ever received that opportunity from a record label.

In the end, it's just not the same.   And that is the official thought that makes me feel old.