Thursday, December 6, 2007

That One Bad Song

I love digital music. Some people lament the loss of vinyl albums, but not me. Albums were such a pain - they skipped, they scratched, they crackled and popped. Give me a CD any day.

Or an MP3 - even better! Since I bought my Apple and got iTunes I’ve been very into compiling my own CDs. I download my favorite songs from CDs in my collection and put them into mixes. This eliminates the dreaded phenomenon of the Terrible Song in the middle of a Great Album.

For example: I really like Jim Croce. And who doesn’t? “Time in a Bottle,” “Operator,” etc. - he wrote some great ‘70s hits. But then, in the middle of all this nice mellow songwriting, comes “Bad Bad Leroy Brown” - possibly the WORST song ever recorded - and “Rapid Roy the Stock Car Boy,” the second worst. Well, I compiled my own Jim Croce CD, and voila! No more Leroy, no more Stock Car Boy.

I did the same thing with Astrud Gilberto. She had a terrific album in the late ‘60s called “Beach Samba,” in which she built on all her earlier work with Antonio Carlos Jobim. (Astrud is the female singer on the iconic “The Girl from Ipanema.”) But right in the middle of “Beach Samba” is a cursedly bad song called “A Banda (Parade),” recorded with an honest-to-god MARCHING BAND. It’s enough to split your head open. So now I have my own Parade-free version of Beach Samba.

Now, some albums you just can’t do this with. They’re too cohesive and their spirit as a whole must be considered. It would be impossible to cherry-pick songs from Pink Floyd’s “The Wall,” for example, or Joni Mitchell's "Blue," or even k.d. lang’s “Hymns of the 49th Parallel.”

But aside from those, it’s nice to be able to condense my music collection to what I want to hear. It’s all about flexibility!

On a completely different note, I uploaded some old family photos (just a few) to Flickr. You can see them here.

(Photo: Ginkgo leaves in Washington, D.C., Nov. 2007)


Anonymous said...

itunes and ipods have made DJ's out of all of us. I love it!!

I would never say let's go back to albums, but I do miss the scratches and skips. Weird, huh? It was part of that moment in history, now gone forever.

Anonymous said...

My iPod has changed my life. For one, it has reduced my television watching by about 80%.

I have always thought that the first few songs on a CD are the best and the rest are not that good.

Anonymous said...

I don't miss LPs --I used to make a lot of mix tapes to cut out the songs I didn't care for.

I love Astrid!

"Time in a Bottle" makes me mist up.

Merle has an iPod-- I thought I would get one last Christmas but no luck. I doubt I will get one this Christmas, because I need a new digital camera (I dropped my old one)

Anonymous said...

(grin) Technology is pretty rad. I bet Jim Croce would be a little sad, but c'est la vie!

Anonymous said...

it might snow today.

Anonymous said...

The gingko leaves are wonderful. You captured their delicacy against the hard ground. And you found them in my hometown!

I agree with the benefits of having digital music, but I do miss the joy of an album cover - it served many purposes, but what I liked most, was the artfulness of it and reading the liner notes. Plus, sometimes the crack and pop of an old jazz tune added to the flavor.

Happy Friday!

Anonymous said...

hadn't thought of jim croce in a dog's age - thanks for jogging my memories. the ginko leaf pic is wonderful, if I was a leaf I'd like to be a ginko....

Anonymous said...

I don't miss vinyl either as I would inevitably prefer a particular movement in a long classical piece and scratch the album to bits.- And those tapes were dreadful things always getting snagged and wearing out too fast.

Anonymous said...

i LOVE my ipod. AND it has the album artwork on it, which is kind of cool - that reminder of the old physical, visual items.

i have mixed feelings about Leroy Brown - it does remind me of a good friend!

Anonymous said...

i love vinyl. and of course, it is just another thing to obsess about! cds don't have the same appeal though. i literally have 1000s, and once i move into my new house (sorry for quietness, been moving etc), i intend to upload them all then get rid of the cases. loved seeing your old pics!
tee hee