Saturday, April 5, 2008

Never Hear Surf Music Again

Some harrowing statistics: I belong to Emusic, and have the 75 downloads a month plan, so let's see that's....900 songs a year.

I probably buy twenty or so CDs a year, figure an average of twelve songs a CD, that's another...240 songs.

I'm guaranteed to get a boxed set of music at least once a year as a gift, plus maybe a couple iTunes gift cards and a couple CDs, so that's it 200 songs.

Right now I'm in the middle of converting my extensive Ventures record collection to mp3...that collection alone would probably net 300 songs. In a typical year I'll convert about 200 vinyl tracks to mp3 though, so let's split the difference and call it 250 songs a year.

So let's see, I'm adding 900 + 240 + 200 +250 = 1590 songs to my iPod in a year. I've currently got 25,679 songs in my iPod, which means I'll have it filled in just a few more years. In fact, I could probably fill it with my as yet unconverted vinyl. Groan.

People (some of them treacherous family members) point out the idiocy inherent in having so many songs on one's iPod. "You couldn't possibly listen to all of those songs", which is an insidious lie, because if I began listening to them front to back starting right now I'd be done in 105.2 days.

The truth is that I won't listen to everything on it this year. I go in phases, just like any middle-aged person who has never really left adolescence. I have a set list of 555 metal and punk songs I listen to when I write, which is every day, and I always spend a good deal of time with whatever new downloads or purchases I've made. I am on a very big Beatles kick right now, spurred on by my son's interest and a debate I am having with my good friend, the writer and music critic Rick Koster, who has asserted that Fear of a Blank Planet by Porcupine Tree is one of the great if not the greatest rock albums of all time. And it is a great album, but it is no Revolver. Sorry, Rick.

I realize I may have a problem. 25,679 songs is an awful lot of songs.

And yet, music is fuel for me. I've recently cut back on caffeine, and I've realized that by blasting some Shadow's Fall or old school metal before I get rolling I can get the same burst of energy. A better burst of energy, really, because the fuel burns more cleanly. Music informs my writing every bit as much as the literature I read and the experiences I have in "real" life.

Then again, I could be rationalizing away my very obsessive/compulsive behavior. Yes, I do need to have that previously unreleased B-side! I must!

I kind of went crazy with birthday money at the record store--

Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, Raising Sand An unlikely combination that works beautifully.

Blue Oyster Cult, Imaginos I owe my love of BOC to Rick, who brought me to a show of theirs a couple years ago. Absolutely stunning. Buck Dharma is an often overlooked but incredible guitarist.

Marillion, Clutching At Straws (Remastered) This reissue comes with a disc of bonus unreleased songs, and, unlike many such packages, these are, really, really good. This is one of my all time favorites, an album about the relationship between writing and alcoholism.

B-52s, Cosmic Thing 4 dollars used, who could resist? My kids love the B-52s. I forgot to pick up their new one, though.

The Plasmatics, Coup D'Etat Another reissue, the best album from a band I really, really like. Wendy O. Williams lived around UConn when I was going to school there and I saw her once at a convenience store. She took her own life a few years after I graduated and I've been sad about it ever since. One of the characters in Generation Dead is a sort of secret tribute to her.

Bloodsucking Zombies From Outer Space Monster Mutant Boogie I love this band, a Psychobilly/Horror Punk band with another album of B-Movie monster songs. What's not to love? It isn't on this album, but my favorite song from them (and one of the 555 jump-start songs) is "Eaters of the Dead", a mini grindhouse-esque epic.

My name is Dan Waters, and I'm a music-holic.

No comments: