Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Magical Musical Fairyland

So far, I've been up for about three hours this morning.  In that time, I've listened to an album on iTunes, a mix of cheesy 80s songs on Spotify (actually legitimately worried my neighbor might've heard me singing along to Foreigner) and Sirius XMU on my iPhone while I walked to the grocery store.  Right now, I'm listening to a Last.fm station based on my new found love of the band, St. Vincent.  It is currently playing Interpol, which I'm not even going to pretend to understand, but I'm not going to keep Last.fm from doing its thing.  You gotta just let Last.fm do its thing, amiright?

I have been oh so productive this morning, you guys.

I don't think about this stuff very often.  I mean, if I want to hear a song, there are about 50 places I could find it online.  I just go find it.  I link music to my blogs, I post videos on Tumblr, I find the opening band's website before I go to a show so I can decide whether I should be late or not.  It's all just so easy, why would I think about it?  It's all right there!

But, this morning I thought about it.  I thought about how hard it was to find music when I was growing up.  West Texas radio stations played Top 40, Country and Tejano.  My husband, who grew up in Orange County listening to KROQ, looked at me like I was crazy when I told him I never heard The Cure or Pixies on the radio back then.  I had to hear about them from older kids who had to hear about them from friends in other places.  Our Record Bar had a small selection of music.  To get certain albums, we had to jump in the car and drive to a "big city" like Lubbock or Abilene.  Sometimes we'd have to go as far as Dallas or Austin (5 and 7 hours respectively) to get our hands on good music.

But, now?  NOW!  Now is heaven.  Now is Utopia.  Now is a magical musical fairyland full of ways to hear awesome shit.  Now rocks.

I've responded to this just like you'd expect me to.  I've reacted to unlimited music like a wide-eyed music dork, foaming at the mouth, trying to devour everything around me.  That's why I listen to music all day every day.  I need to hear it all.  I don't want to miss out on anything.  There's just so much out there and so little time to discover it!  Plus, I get fixated on albums and listen to them thirty times in a row, so I have to allow myself time for that little bit of manic craziness.  I also have to listen to old stuff.  I neeeeed to check out the 70s stations and crank up some Joy Division.  I need to find that one song about the cherry wine from when I was little and blast it in my office.  I need to.  I feel like a bibliophile locked in a giant library with every book ever written.  I feel like a furry at a Star Wars convention in the Ewok Room.  I feel like the proverbial kid in the candy store but I'm way crazier than that kid.  Screw that kid, man.  Music trumps candy any day.

However, this morning when I thought of all the wonderful differences between now and then, I started feeling a bit guilty.  We used to have to buy the album.  We used to give our money to the band.  I mean, I try to buy albums now.  I really do.  After listening to Cults dozens of times online, I finally bought it.  Then, I felt weird that it was only $7.99 so I bought it for my sister too.  But, I definitely don't buy everything.  And, I feel bad.  I want it all available.  I want it all at my fingertips.  I want all the bands to be paid.  But, I don't want to have to pay for everything.

So, I think I need a system.  If I listen to an album more than ten times, I have to buy it.  It's only fair, right?  Plus, I see enough shows that I'd like to think I'm putting money back into the industry that way.  And, I can always write blogs about how I try my best to support musicians and that will make me feel sooo much more awesome and pious!  I bought albums!  I bought concert tickets!  I'm the bestest!

I don't even know.  But, I do know that I'm super grateful to be living now.  We can find any music we want at any time we want to hear it.  We can buy it on vinyl or stream it from a cloud.  A cloud!  We are lucky lucky people.  So, I'm off to make a playlist about ghosts on Spotify because I just heard a good ghost song and, you know, it made me think about all the other good ghost songs and I think what the world needs now is one more playlist of ghost songs.

*photo by CraigCloutier.