What We’ve Lost in the Digital Age

I try not to get sentimental and nostalgic but here it comes.  I am a huge music fan.  From roughly fourth grade on I have had a huge collection of music and spent much of mt disposable income on the stuff.  In my junior high years, I made the decision that the unfortunate cassette tape was an inadequate format.  Instead, I began buying LPs and taping them to listen on walkmans with the idea that the records would then last and I would rarely lose the original.  It worked as a plan until I left crates of records with an old roommate and they were given away.

Anyway, I wanted to address how intimately I knew my favorite records.  Not just in the sense that I knew the songs on the records, but I knew every pop and skip on the vinyl.  These were truly my records and no other sounded exactly the same.  I was reminded of this when listening to Maria McKee after downloading it from iTunes.  While listening to “Panic Beach”( which may be one of the best songs ever recorded),  I was thrown back fifteen plus years and found myself expecting the scratch that comes in the middle of the final chorus that was on my copy of the record and a little surprised when it wasn’t there; I had listened to it so many times that it became part of my memory of the song.  This kind of personal relationship with the physical object is long gone in the age of digital music.  I am not sure if this is a bad thing, given that every time the damn record skipped I would have to get up and nudge the arm of the record player, but just pointing out its absence in our digital world.

2 Responses to “What We’ve Lost in the Digital Age”

  1. voiceintheether Says:

    Yeah, analogue glitches had a certain character! I have a tape (god knows it’s probably in a storage space in Melbourne) of whatever beatles reked has strawberry fields on it (i am not a beatles obsessive so can’t tell you which one) & there’s a little jump in the middle of it. I must not have been listening to it while taping it (in the late 70s, sigh). But whenever I hear it I am anticipating that little glitch & am always disappointed when it doesn’t happen. Yer right – digital technolgy is sold on the idea that it’s ‘perfect’ but I still love my vinyl because it sounds a particular way. Embrace the imperfect I say.

  2. Of course, if you rip your mp3s yourself, you can sometimes get the same effect. My rips of Yo La Tengo’s Electr-O-Pura and Medicine’s The Buried Life are pretty unique because the CDs are so old and scratched. Of course, a few seconds of random digital static isn’t nearly as appealing as pops on an LP.

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