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Spotify stat day….

Spotify is sending users their stats for the year…what we’ve been listening to and how often and for how long. I expect that during the pandemic the streaming services are booming. It’s unfortunate that this increased usage doesn’t trickle down to the artist, but since it’s 2020 we’re all quite used to being screwed so it’s just another “meh” in a line of “mehs”.

My top artists of the year are a varied lot. The Tragically Hip and Bob Mould and the Drive-By Truckers and Joe Henry and AC/DC and a big Van Halen surge when Eddie passed. I hate myself for supporting greedy devils like Spotify but it’s like a morphine drip and I’m always in pain. Being able to listen to Mozart and then the Menzingers, Beethoven and then the Badlees….and back again without getting out of my chair is obviously addictive. A shelf of disorganized CDs sits to the right of my desk at home, a quaint reminder of the past. In the other room sits my 160 gig Ipod, the Apollo spacecraft of its day, loaded up with over 25,000 songs, pretty much my CD collection digitized. Relics all, replaced in an instant by having the entire musical world on your smart phone for the cost of a 12 pack of PBR a month. It’s utterly insane how much we’ve devalued music. It sucks, but it’s great.

I’m struggling with my own addiction, as you can clearly see. But let’s try to stay positive, shall we?

And these small little blue tooth speakers are just as goofy, throwing sound back in my face with crispness and at a Spinal Tap-ian volume. I don’t know how these little things work, but my old school stereo sits across the room from me covered in dust, flanked by its 2 speakers, each the size of a college dorm-room refrigerator. And I don’t miss it one bit. Well, ok. Maybe I miss it a little. But my blue tooth is a lot easier to drag outside on warm summer nights. And it’s equally capable of annoying the neighbors.

Spotify allows me to soothe my inner geek as well. Always been a sorta-hidden power-pop-punk-emo type, which is kinda weird when my desk is piled with books by and about Woody Guthrie and Joe Strummer, but don’t judge me. I think The Wonder Years “Suburbia I’ve Given You All and Now I’m Nothing” is fucking great and if you don’t agree with me you’re wrong and kinda sad. My nieces and nephews used to be amazed that I had all the same records they did, because I’m really old compared to them, but I’m pretty sure I was blasting New Found Glory records before they were. So there. I adore bands that are melodic and fun and play hard and I don’t care what category somebody puts them in and I don’t care if it’s cool anymore. I’m not that big on the gang vocal thing, but I admit that after about 8 beers it can sound pretty catchy. About 10 years ago my aforementioned nephew got 50 of his buddies to ante up $100 each and they hosted the band Saves the Day for a backyard barbecue and I still haven’t forgiven him for not letting me sneak in.

Remember, you’re only as old (or young) as the music you listen to, which gives you lots of options, no?

So where do we go from here?

I can move on. Or I can stay entrenched.

I can search out the new, or seek shelter in the comfort of old friends.

It’s my own record store, and there’s no categories to plow through. The power-pop is next to the Merle Haggard bin, and the blues is mixed in with the sea shanties. And it’s open 24/7, and it’s even MORE open during pandemics. The doors have been ripped off their hinges, and rocks have been thrown through all the windows.

But still.

I miss unsealing the albums. The liner notes. The anticipation of dropping the needle. The waiting is the hardest part, but can you ever remember it not being worth it? The anticipation. Sometimes waiting in line on release day. You just HAD to have it….it was a point of honor. And you’d watch the record spinning as your listened, hard. If a song skipped, you just grinned and bore it…..the skip became part of the song. Later when you replaced your albums with CDs the song didn’t sound right, because the skip wasn’t there anymore.

It sucks. And it’s great.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

I’ll never make up my mind.

But I’ll never stop listening.

In a bit…


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