Music has always been a huge part of my life. It was instrumental (pardon the pun) in bringing me and Tara together and, to a lesser extent, in driving a wedge between me and the ex. I liked Nirvana, she was into Destiny’s Child. In retrospect, we were doomed from the start.
At least I got two great kids out of the deal.
When Tara and I were dating long-distance, we bonded by sharing mix CDs through the mail. This seems hopelessly quaint now; to be fair, it was a six-month period between fall 2011 and spring 2012, just as the music industry was going through a significant upheaval. Months later, I had a Spotify account. By then we’d already discovered a mutual love for artists like Built to Spill and The Moondoggies.
I recently stumbled upon an Esquire article about “The Deleted Years” — that period in the early aughts, roughly 2003-2012, when MP3s were all the rage. I found it pretty eye-opening — especially this quote:
If you were an early adopter of Apple Music Store, as I was, everything you bought from 2003 to 2009 is stuck on a dusty iPod for which a charger can no longer be found, or on a MacBook that’s three MacBooks ago. Whether you bought that whole first Kaiser Chiefs album or just plunked down the 99 cents for “I Predict A Riot,” you don’t have it anymore. It simply does not exist for you, and it didn’t even leave behind a record sleeve to let you know it ever did.Dave Holmes, Esquire
Because Dave is right. I probably visited the Apple Music Store more often than the grocery store, and I’m embarrassed to admit how much money I spent on 99-cent downloads that today exist only on, yes, a dusty iPod Touch. I do have the charger still, but it’s frayed and might not even work. Fun fact: Kaiser Chiefs’ “I Predict A Riot” is one of those downloads, too.
Ninety-nine cents doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, but it adds up over time – especially when you’re as music-obsessed as I am. I once tried to calculate exactly how much money I dropped on iTunes during that 10-year period but gave up by the time I’d passed the $500 mark. More out of shame and embarrassment than anything else. There comes a time when you just don’t want to face your own fiscal irresponsibility, even years later, when you’re much smarter with your money (brief foray into cryptocurrency notwithstanding). Especially given that I was unemployed for a long stretch during that time.
That’s why I got back into albums. Superior sound quality aside, I wanted something I actually owned. I was never able to bear parting with my childhood record collection, even when CDs nearly muscled vinyl out of existence, so they remained in storage in a trunk in my parents’ garage for many years until I reclaimed them in 2011. That’s when I found a groovy cabinet-style record player at a garage sale and started buying records again. And I haven’t stopped since.
For the record, this is also why I still buy DVDs.
My first job after being out of work for 20 months, by the way? Marketing rep for a music distribution company. That didn’t last long, and the company ended up going bankrupt and holding all the record labels’ CDs and albums hostage (shady bunch of bastards!), but I do have fond memories of passing around the latest copy of Billboard magazine every week and getting paid to read it. It was the perfect job for me at the time.
I still listen to music every single day, either through headphones at work or my Echo at home. I can’t write without it. Even as I’m typing up this blog post in the living room after work, there’s a record playing.
And it’s certainly not Beyonce.
Last week’s 70-degree temperatures are nothing but a distant memory now. Tuesday, we got our first proper Wisconsin snowfall. Just an inch or two, but it sure was/is pretty.
We’ve had at least a little bit of snow every day since. I went into the office today, and because I sit in a windowless corner, I had no idea what was going on outside until Tara texted, Sure is pretty watching the snow fall. Naturally, I bolted for the nearest window, and was amazed to see it absolutely dumping outside.
Five minutes later, there was sunshine and blue sky.
But then, when I left the office, it was snowing furiously again. Coming down so hard, it was quickly covering up the roads. Made for an interesting drive home, one that took 15 minutes longer than usual.
Fortunately, Wisconsinites appear to be extremely cautious drivers in the snow. We were literally going 40 mph on the freeway, which was fine by me.
Better to arrive home safe than dead, you know?
Are you a victim of The Deleted Years, too? Do you have music you can no longer access? How important is music in your life? What is your preferred format for listening? Feel free to recommend an artist or song I should listen to.