Monday, July 20, 2009

Album Rock, Continued

The more I think about the topic of "album rock," and figure out if I had to take 10 CD's on a cross country road trip, which ones would I take? A few factors to consider:

1. I can only think of a few reasons that I would take CD's on a road trip: a) something in the mp3 circle of life is out of order, b)surveying the equipment available on the trip, CD's would be the way to go. Therefore, the CD discussion is nearly obsolete.

2. The concept of album craft appears nearly obsolete. This is not to say that vinyl is obsolete--vinyl can be a better sound than digital in some cases. In addition, the graphic art associated with CD releases is not dead because of the development of mp3 software. Putting together songs on an album/CD release in the album craft art is nearly obsolete.

3. What does the development of mp3 music culture say about music choice? Or choice in general? The amount of choice available occasionally boggles my mind when I ponder its magnitude. Though mp3 platforms like iTunes have been good in the past in separating me from my money by giving me song samples, reviews and free songs, I find that the magnitude of choice sometimes paralyzes me in spending money on music. Considering the Frugal Rule, this is a good development. I consider this paralysis of choice a bad development because I miss out on some hidden gems of music.

Back to the list of choice CD's--I only dealt with the scenario of a cross country trip with a little music once. I drove from Southern California to the Puget Sound region with a high school friend in 1989 in his olive green 1975(?) Dodge Charger. Our music choices were limited, but I remember we had 4 cassettes:

Boston-Third Stage
Alabama-Greatest Hits
Bobby Brown-Don't Be Cruel

I don't listen to any of these CD's with any frequency anymore, let alone any of the songs (except I had a little reunion with Bobby Brown's "Every Little Step," several months ago. After following a little bit of Brown's career and life path--this is really a song glorifying stalking. A bit creepy.), but we survived and enjoyed singing some of the songs repeatedly.

Because the legitimacy of the cross country CD question is just about dead in an era of choice and mp3's, I don't need to drag out this question any longer. My 10 cd's for the trip (in no particular order):

Great Big Sea--The Hard and the Easy
Whiskeytown--Strangers Almanac
Rush--Moving Pictures
Jason Falkner--Bliss Descending
Alison Krauss + Union Station--New Favorite
James Taylor--One Man Dog
Barenaked Ladies--Gordon
Lloyd Cole--Love Story
Bach--Brandenburg Concertos 1-6
R.E.M.--Life's Rich Pageant

I needed a little classic rock, a little power pop, a little rockin' country, a variety of singable songs at all volumes, music where I don't have to sing, some distinctly ethnic identity music, some songs to make me think and songs to lead to prayer. It may not be the best list, but it's one with which I can live for 1-7 days of driving. It's also a list where there's plenty of songs that my dear wife would enjoy, though we might put together a rule that we each get to choose 5 CD's.

Okay now, I think I'm done with this topic.

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