The Laboriousness of Ipodlessness

For as long as I can remember, I have been a musically eclectic person. I know that “eclectic” is a word that’s hideously overused when people describe their musical tastes, as in “I’m eclectic. I like The Strokes and The Vines, but I also like Gnarls Barkley and Sublime.” This is not what I mean when I refer to my own musical tastes as “eclectic.” I suppose “all over the place” would be just as accurate: I like rock, folk-rock, rap, reggae, funk, techno, hip-hop, metal, goth, industrial, Celtic, Bhangra, indie-rock (though I’m very picky within this genre, as a lot of indie rockers tend toward undeserved pretension), jazz, classical, country, and of course my first love, the blues. I have not gone through music “phases” so much as I have layered new music I like on top of the old music I liked, without ever having stopped liking what I started with (1). This is evidenced by the fact that I still have every Guns N’ Roses album ever released.

There is, of course, music I don’t like–but I cannot discount the entirety of any particular genre with the sole exception of disco. I despise most “contemporary pop” in its current incarnation. I believe there needs to be much more old-school musicianship involved in the making of music (like writing songs, and playing instruments) than mainstream pop currently contains. More than that, I simply find the sound of most contemporary pop completely boring. Similarly, I am not a fan of “new metal” or “new country.” Perhaps it’s because I just don’t think I’d have anything to talk about with the people who make it. That said, I do like Nelly Furtado and Shakira (though I prefer the latter in Spanish), I’ve banged my head to a Korn song or two, and I know all the words to most of the songs on Shania Twain’s first album. Within genres I do like, there are also artists I despise–for example, I cannot stand Sublime, though I like Ska (or whatever genre it is that they fit into), and I like rap, including gangsta rap, but if I hear “This Is Why I’m Hot” one more time I’m gonna throw whatever apparatus it’s coming out of through a window.

Like most people who truly like music, what I want to listen to depends on my mood, and despite the fact that my moods don’t swing as often as most people’s, my music moods do. This is what’s so fantastic about the iPod: it’s made the old staple for musically diverse personalities–the mix tape–a labor-intensive and unnecessary thing of the past (this is good, as I don’t think I’ve actually seen a blank tape since 2001). In short, as I’ve said before, I love my iPod. Not only does it hold way more music than a mix tape (or a trunk full of mix tapes) ever could, but it’s possible to change the music fifty times in a minute without ever rewinding, fast-forwarding, or removing anything.

The unfortunate thing, however, is that I cruelly drowned my iPod in soap two weeks ago, and have been living in a desperate withdrawal state ever since. The good thing about my obsessive love of music is that it’s led me to preserve my music collection in its original CD format, which means that though I’ve lost the medium through which to play everything that was in the old Pod, I haven’t lost the music itself. I tend not to download music because I’d rather pay an extra few bucks and have the artwork and the case so that I can look at the rack and see exactly what I’ve got. Call me old-fashioned (or neurotic–my CDs are alphabetized).

And I do have a stereo in my room. Which means that as long as I’m at home, I can listen to whatever I would have listened to on my iPod were it not incredibly dead. Only the process is much, much slower, and requires a hell of a lot more labor. If I were, for example, listening to Fugazi and all of a sudden wanted to listen instead to Atmosphere (a segway which happens more often than one might expect), I’d have to go over to the rack, pick out the Atmosphere CD, open the player, take out the Fugazi, put in the Atmosphere, close the tray, hit play, put the Fugazi CD back in its case, walk over to the CD rack and put it back in alphabetical order–because, as I said, I’m neurotic. That’s entirely too much work to achieve what a little piece of genius can get done with a swivel of my thumb.

And I can’t take the damn stereo with me. Anywhere. Which means when I’m on the train, I actually have to acknowledge that there are other people on the train, which I never want to do. I enjoy the train only if I’m tuned out enough to pretend that I’m all alone, and even a good book can’t get me tuned out the way a good Pantera song can.

In a few weeks, perhaps even this week, I will buy a new iPod. Not because I technically need one, and certainly not because I can afford one, but because if I can reach in my bag and immediately be connected to the simple but brilliant bass lines of Joe Lally, then change my mind and decide I’d rather hear Axl Rose whining at top volume about whatever it is that Axl whined about in 1987, then change my mind again and decide that I’d rather listen to the thirty minute extended live version of Whipping Post (which can only be achieved in full if one is either stoned or not paying attention to what’s playing), it will make me a little less crazy.

And we all want me less crazy.

(1) The exceptions to this rule are New Kids On The Block, who I liked for approximately a month in 1986, before I discovered Guns N’ Roses, and Alanis Morrissette, whose use of the word “fuck” in her most popular song duped me when I was fifteen into believing that her music was more than just self-absorbed whining over loud guitar riffs.


~ by saltgirlspeaks on 12 August, 2007.

One Response to “The Laboriousness of Ipodlessness”

  1. lol!

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