Friday, July 28, 2006

Me, Myself, and My iPod

My earliest memories of music go way back. To the days before real musical choice. Before civilization.

Yes, before the iPod.

These were days when mothers subjected their progeny to the sounds of Barry Manilow, Bread, and ABBA on eight-track.

If you’ve never pushed Hot Wheels around the carpet to the sweet sounds of Seals and Croft, Tony Orlando, and Neil Diamond, trust me—don’t start now.

My therapist and I are working through it. I’m healing. Really.

Before long, I turned to radio to escape the pain. I first turned to the allure, the glamour—yes, the pure cheese—of pop music that defined the 1980s.

After enduring the likes of New Kids on the Block on the hour, every hour, for months on end, I turned to classic rock. Artists from Eric Clapton to Pink Floyd to Peter Gabriel expanded my horizons … but only delayed the inevitable. I remained a captive, you see, because my mother’s domination eight-track hegemony had given way to the domination of program directors.

So I started flipping channels like nobody’s business, moving from one opening chord to another. I rarely found that one song to fit my mood, sadly, and I remained unable to truly control my musical environment.

But there was a solution—and it involved my allowance.

Buying and listening to CDs allowed me to control what I was hearing. Say hello to the Police, Van Halen, and Rush; say goodbye to Richard Marx, Whitney Houston, and Michael Bolton.

Fast forward twenty years. My basement-filling CD library gathers dust while my ubiquitous iPod entertains me through my home entertainment system, in my car, and on my home office desk.

And it contains only the music that I have put there: 9,000-some songs representing the best of my music collection. I choose that addictive iPod “Shuffle” option, trusting that a random mix of MY music will get me through the day.


It doesn’t last an hour. Or even five seconds. I revert back to my teenage survival mechanism, skipping songs more than I hear them out.

After two decades of collecting music, after thousands of dollars in modern audio technology, I’m right back where I started. But I’ll still tell you it’s been a damn good investment.

After all, these days I’m not hearing any ABBA, New Kids on the Block, or Michael Bolton.


At July 28, 2006 8:09 AM, Anonymous LisaBinDaCity replied to my musings ...

Great minds, I was shuffling and skipping on my iPod last night... FOR HOURS. I almost never use my cd's anymore.

I think we have the same taste in music as well ;-)

At July 28, 2006 8:55 AM, Blogger Mike replied to my musings ...

Playing with your hot wheel on the carpet immediately brought me back to my pre-teen years. I used to make roads by lining all of my old cars up until it resembled a small city; then drove whatever my newest car was thru it like I was really driving.

I love the randomness of the music also. I have over 150 hours of music on my hard drive at work and listen to it randomly all day, skipping things that I'm not in the mood for. Sometimes jumping over 10 or so songs before I find one I'm in the mood for. Some of those old tunes remind me of being a kid though, like "The Orleans - Still the One" for example. It's good to hear them occasionally.

At July 28, 2006 9:10 AM, Blogger OnMyWatch replied to my musings ...

Younger people are amazed when I say I lived before the time of MTV as though dinosaurs roamed the earth. radios were a god-send in my rural area and when the weather was just right, I could get rock stations from miles around. Otherwise, it was Air Supply and Juice Newton city. I also have a huge collection of my personal favorites and I direct my moods/environment with that daily. You won't find Bette Davis Eyes or Laura Brannigan here, thankyouverymuch. But now my radio doesn't require cloudiness to play my favorites, as all of my beloved songs are played on the 'classic rock' or 'oldies' stations - sickening. :)

At July 28, 2006 9:12 AM, Blogger Curare_Z replied to my musings ...

Another question: How the hell did we work out before the iPod? I mean, the sheer weight and the irritating skipping of a CD player was enough to plum tucker me out.

But now -- ahhh -- the weightlessness of my Nano...and Flock of Seagulls telling me that THEY ran, as I'M running...

That's living my friend. That's living.

At July 28, 2006 9:35 AM, Blogger Kid Jacque replied to my musings ...

When I was a kid I rarely listened to the radio because I was too busy practicing my accordion.

I'm not kidding.

So in a way I made my own music.

It's hasn't been until recently (I'm 33) that I'm slowly learning about the great music around me.

I'm addicted.

I've purchase my first mp3 player and it's full of songs I love. Skipping through them hasn't been something I've started but I could see it happening in the future.

However, I only have 120 songs on my little dohickie. I think 9000 would seriously keep me occupied.

It's possible you may need a support group. I mean, the first step is admitting you have the problem and that seems to be taken care of...

At July 28, 2006 10:15 AM, Blogger angel, jr. replied to my musings ...

Music hath the magic to charm--something said by Shakespeare that I'm sure I botched up and misquoted.

At July 28, 2006 10:22 AM, Blogger Metal Mark replied to my musings ...

I don't have an ipod and have no music on the computer. Technology scares me and I would have to ask someone to tell me how this stuff works and that scares me even more. So I continue on with 40-50
cds spilling over the passenger seat of my car and large stacks of them on my stereo. Then again I don't have a long commute anymore and don't have to drive all that much. I actually work out in between writing on my blog at night.

At July 28, 2006 10:34 AM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Lisa B, OMW: Methinks we probably have a lot of overlap between our favorite music lists.

Mike: Whenever I hear "Touch and Go" by the Cars, it reminds me of those old Hot Wheels days.

Curare: I remember paying way too much money about 5 years ago for a "shock resistant," buffering CD player designed for runners. It worked really well--for about 3 miles. Then every song sounded like a monstrous P-Diddy remix.

Jacque: I don't have a problem. I'm totally in control. There's nothing to talk about!

Angel: When KC stops by, she'll certainly ensure we all get the verbatim quote.

Metal Mark: I do still like the feeling of putting a good Rush or Iron Maiden CD into my car stereo, it feels more "natural" than the iPod.

-- david

At July 28, 2006 10:38 AM, Blogger DaBich replied to my musings ... I'm with Metal Mark. I do not own and iPod and wouldn't know what to do with one lol
Long live metal!

At July 28, 2006 11:06 AM, Blogger Mike replied to my musings ...

Whoa, I remember 8 tracks, Redline hot wheels and Matchboxes, and the real child safety nightmare Tonkas made of sharp metal. Being a bit older, I broke out by listening to AM radio (cue Everclear), then moved on to FM, then 45s stacked on the stereo. When I had a little more money I would buy blank tapes and make my own mixes. I still have some. some were for getting psyched for running or basketball, others were for imaginary road trips while I listened with headphones in bed. Funny how nothing ever worked out like I thought it would in those days.

I still miss my Apple records 45s and Capitol ones with the orange and yellow ying yang spinning around. Aaah, the Beatles...

At July 28, 2006 11:30 AM, Blogger Mike replied to my musings ...

Fuzz - I'm impressed that you know "Touch and Go" off Panorama. Not one of the more popular songs by The Cars.

At July 28, 2006 12:21 PM, Blogger Mimi replied to my musings ...

It takes a real man to admit he listened to NKOTB!;)

At July 28, 2006 12:56 PM, Blogger siren replied to my musings ...

I'm probably the only one on earth that doesn't own an iPod, or anything of the sort. Until recently I had a cassette player in my car. I own five CDs and they all suck. I feel an intervention coming on.

At July 28, 2006 12:58 PM, Blogger Pixie replied to my musings ...

I am forver skipping tracks after only listening to a little bit of them. I rejoice that CD or Mp3 makes it a lot easier then trying to guess where the end of the song is on a cassette tape.
I even sometimes just play one song over and over and over again.

I have 2 Cd's here all the rest are back in the UK :(. But there is oddles of music on the PC

At July 28, 2006 1:14 PM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Dabich: metal sounds better on the iPod than anything else. Well, except for Dvorak.

Mike (cell phone pic): Your trajectory sounds like mine. I just went through my few remaining 45s recently and discovered that, much to my dismay, not one appears to be worth a million dollars. Yet.

Mike (Goatee pic): I'm not Fuzz. At least not today. As for "Touch and Go," when you have almost 1,000 CDs you are familar with many, many tunes. And that's not always a good thing.

Mimi: I'll admit to everything I listened to; I'll even declare publicly that my CD collection includes pop fluff like Joe Jackson, Hall & Oates ... and, yes, Barry Manilow and Neil Diamond. Of course, the music of Led Zeppelin, early Genesis, and Iron Maiden gets much more attention!

-- david

At July 28, 2006 1:16 PM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Siren: From the comments above, it looks like you're in good company. Maybe you can start a support group.

Pixie: Tapes were a pain. I was on cloud nine back in the day when I got a cassette player that would fast forward to the next song by "listening" for breaks between songs. It didn't work so well, sadly, for artists like Pink Floyd that often linked tracks together.

-- david

At July 28, 2006 1:30 PM, Blogger ~ good girl ~ replied to my musings ...

Don't I know it about those CDs sitting and collecting dust!

I revert back to my teenage survival mechanism, skipping songs more than I hear them out.

lol! Yes! Exactly so. Although I do have a few ABBA on me iPOD. Oh dear. Blame it on the dad. We were brought up on ABBA and let's just say it stuck.

But I must agree on the wisdom of giving Bolton the skip.


At July 28, 2006 1:34 PM, Blogger Ben replied to my musings ...

Now you probably know I'm going to stick up for Abba. I love them ! So be careful !!!!LOL

Whilst I'm excited by the new technology, my concern is that ultimately the Record industry is going to suffer.

Album sales are down by 22% over the last 10 years (and that includes downloaded albums). Sanctuary Records is on the brink of declaring itself bankrupt (Destiny's Child,The Strokes, Morrissey, Iron Maiden), and others are suffering heavy losses.

See, if people aren't downloading illegally, then they're downloading a couple of tracks of their choice for a couple of bucks.

I've spoken to a number of people with ipods, and they've all told me they've downloaded the latest single, but they're not likely to get the album because the combined download cost is relatively expensive.

As a music fan, I have grave concerns.

At July 28, 2006 1:39 PM, Blogger KC replied to my musings ...

I think this is the Shakespeare quote that Angel was thinking of: " oft hath such a charm to make bad good, and good provoke to harm" from the play Measure for Measure. Sorry if that's not what you were thinking of, Angel, it's just what came to mind when I read your comment.

As a kid, I had albums and 45's. They were almost all Elvis. Yes, I was a Elvis fanatic as a child. But I did receive Meet the Beatles on my 5th birthday. I still have that piece of vinyl, believe it or not! During the 80's I had a series of portable cassette players... some of those things were damn heavey for somethng that was supposed to be portable! Then in the late 80's I got my first portable CD player. No kidding, it weighed 3 pounds because of the battery pack! Now I've inherited my son's first iPod because of course he needed a bigger and better one. My iPod contains only funk music because it's the only kind of music that can make me "get physical" as the old Olivia Newton-John song says.

At July 28, 2006 2:01 PM, Blogger :P fuzzbox replied to my musings ...

When really showing the love did she play, 'Sweet Child Of Mine'?

At July 28, 2006 2:56 PM, Blogger :P fuzzbox replied to my musings ...

My bad, more likely it was, 'Sweet Caroline.'

At July 28, 2006 4:08 PM, Blogger Blonde Vigilante replied to my musings ...

I love my CD's...and I don't own and Ipod and that could possibly be the problem.

My friend is dating a guy named Donny and damn does that bring me back to my NKOTB days. My first concert was a NKOTB concert. Oh, the memories.

At July 28, 2006 6:37 PM, Blogger CT replied to my musings ...

I feel your pain man.... I'm addicted to my ipod too.... but if I get bored of music I watch movies... shhhh don't tell my boss... Hey did you read what that psycho wrote on the post titled (guess what???) she's a real hatchet wound....

At July 28, 2006 7:17 PM, Anonymous BarBarA replied to my musings ...

David, I have followed your path but I started out with vinyl, then went to cassettes, then CDs and now the glorious iPod is with me always. I only have 2,000 songs but probably only consistently listen to about 500 of them - Classic Rock.

At July 29, 2006 12:38 AM, Blogger Fated replied to my musings ...

You evil music skipper you! Actually that is something I am really bad for, especially when I am driving. Drives my passangers insane!

At July 29, 2006 1:33 AM, Blogger Laurie replied to my musings ...

"It doesn’t last an hour. Or even five seconds. I revert back to my teenage survival mechanism, skipping songs more than I hear them out."

You sound just like me! LOL

At July 29, 2006 2:29 AM, Blogger Jeff replied to my musings ...

I don't have an Ipod but instead another kind of an MP3 player because I purchased it before the Ipod's recieved their price drops. Anyway, it was probably the greatest investment of my life. I think it is the most precious item I own, if there were one item that I would be most devestated if it were stolen, it would most certainly be my MP3 player.

At July 29, 2006 10:42 AM, Blogger Janet replied to my musings ...

I don't know how old you are, but by mentioning being assaulted by the likes of Michael Bolton and NKOTB, I'm guessing we're about the same age.

It's weird how music changes. NKOTB were always huge back then (as a former supporter I can attest to that) but even then you almost never actually heard them played on the radio. And meanwhile Bolton was HUGE, and now he can't get a decent steak dinner. What gives?

I spent SO MUCH money on purchasing music back in the day, it's painful to think about. Now I own an ipod like player and find I click through so many songs I used to once love. Less and less is thrilling me these days which in a way, has made me feel less and less guilty about downloading instead of purchasing.:(

At July 29, 2006 11:27 AM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

tGood Girl, Ben: GG, will you lend Ben your ABBA to satisfy his cravings? Thanks, I appreciate it.

KC: I knew you'd come through on the Bard's words! I, too, have some Olivia Newton-John on my iPod: "Xanadu" at the very least.

Fuzz: Thankfully, my mother did not call me Caroline and play that Neil Diamong tune in my honor. If so, I would have had to counter with The Who's "I'm a Boy."

BV: Does this new beau of your "friend," by any chance, have the last name Wahlberg?

CT, Barbara, Fated, Laurie: Thanks for sharing my addiction. We'll wallow in our iPOd song-skipping madness together.

Jeff: I, too, am way too attached to this device. In the immortal words of Fight Club's Tyler Durden, "The things you own end up owning YOU."

Janet: I do recall hearing the "in" groups on the radio a lot, even if only for short bursts. You hear it even now: I'm beseiged by Nickelback schlock even when I'm merely flipping through radio stations.

-- david

At July 29, 2006 12:31 PM, Blogger Rocky replied to my musings ...

David, I really sympathize with you because I, too, had many Hot Wheels road rage incidents while listening to Barry Manilow, Peaches & Herb and other assaults to the ears.

I would also use my Evel Kneivel stunt cycle and mock suicide attempts for having to listen to the song "Reunited" for the 276th time because my sister had rekindled a romance yet again.

At July 29, 2006 12:44 PM, Anonymous fred charles replied to my musings ...

"These were days when mothers subjected their progeny to the sounds of Barry Manilow, Bread, and ABBA on eight-track."

Yeesh. I remember those days. My mom had all of those albums. I don't know how my parents graduated from The Beatles and Led Zeppelin to ABBA and Manilow.

At July 29, 2006 5:46 PM, Blogger Enemy of the Republic replied to my musings ...

I suggest rebirthing; it gets you in touch with how you felt upon coming out of the womb. You recreate the trama in your mind and then release it. This way any anxiety related to no IPODs will thus be resolved.

At July 30, 2006 12:57 AM, Blogger Maggie replied to my musings ...

I do the same. I've programmed all of the radio stations into the truck and constantly flip back and forth.
Unfortunately, I'm passing this trait onto my children.

At July 30, 2006 2:03 AM, Blogger Sage replied to my musings ...

The problem with Albums/Cd's or music of today is there is only a couple of cuts per unit that are worth "owning". Hence downloading onto a MP3 or ipod is quite logical. However for years and years musicians gave us great albums with maybe a couple of poor cuts and the rest were either good or great and required the total ownership.Today, these "musicians" have no concept in how to make a true piece of recording for a keepsake. The real list is endless of quaity but it stopped about 15-20 years ago. Its not "MY AGE" its the laziness and lack of quality of today's musicians.

At July 30, 2006 1:52 PM, Blogger An80sNut replied to my musings ...

I don't know what I'd do without my iPod. I've been hovering around the 14,800 song mark for awhile now (have to pull songs off to add new ones.) And, I catch myself skipping songs when I'm at the gym (it's hard to run on the treadmill when a ballad comes on) but often enjoy everything that plays. But, Podcasting may be the most interesting use. I do sometimes play shows like Buzz Out Loud and DL.TV which keep me up to date on technology.

At July 31, 2006 9:29 AM, Blogger Mike replied to my musings ...

DOH!! See.........David! That's what happens when I read too many blogs at one. I get confused. Sorry about that!

At July 31, 2006 2:37 PM, Blogger Jenna Howard replied to my musings ...

I skip on my ipod too. Since I started putting music onto my computer via icrack, my cds do nothing but fall over once in awhile. I think I need a new stand. Sigh.

NKOTB is very good for drunken torture music. That and the Smurfs. Man that was a good time that night. Poor bastard was singing NKOTB the next day along with Smurfin' Beer. Never pass out on my floor. I mess with your mind. I get bored easily.

At July 31, 2006 6:50 PM, Blogger Will replied to my musings ...

I'm with you ... "shuffle" seems cool, until you realize that none of the songs you really want to hear are being shuffled in. My iPod is such a treasured item - no longer bound by what I can pack to listen to on my discman ... the possibilities are endless. Current iPod fave right now is the Pipettes. Yourself?

At August 01, 2006 2:36 AM, Blogger Michelle replied to my musings ...

Thanks for stopping by my blog :o)

Wow, you've brought back loads of memories for me, i wouldn't be without my ipod!

At August 02, 2006 3:19 AM, Blogger missy replied to my musings ...

You, too! You, too! I was made to listen to ABBA and Barry Manilow, too... now, I can't help but I like them :-s

NKOTB- gosh, we must be the same age!

I still have my LPs (which I inherited from my uncle)- in fact all my ABBAs are on LPS.

I love my iPods but I say bring back the LPs!


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