Missing My CDs

Abby and I have close to a thousand music CDs hanging on the wall, and only a fraction of these are ripped to MP3. In all fairness, only a fraction of them are worth listening.
Abby and I have close to a thousand music CDs hanging on the wall, and only a fraction of these are ripped to MP3. In all fairness, only a fraction of them are worth listening.

Recently I’ve been grabbing music CDs from our collection when I’m heading out the door. My car has a CD player in addition to its iPod interface, and my thinking is that I have a well of untapped or undertapped music hanging on the wall of our home office. Sure, I’ve ripped a bunch of this music to MP3 and it’s in the player, but music is an oddly inconsistent medium, and does sometimes depend on its delivery system as part of its message.

As I was putting away a few CDs this morning, a k. d. lang album, Invincible Summer, fell open in my hand, and I instantly remembered the experience of buying a CD, opening it up the first time, reading the lyrics and looking at the pictures. Neither my wife nor I have enjoyed doing that for some years, but she recently asked me to pre-order a CD she saw advertised in a magazine, and insisted it be physical media, not a download, so when it arrives on March 1-ish, we should be able to enjoy that again.

I also recently unsubscribed from Sirius/XM satellite radio in my Nissan Juke. In the five years since I first subscribed, I decidedly underused it, and was often disappointed by in both the content and the tech.

I found it very peculiar that a service with 151 channels would devote one of those channels to Jimmy Buffett, for example.

The other problem I had was reception. In the middle of Doctor Radio or 70s on 7 or CNN, I would hear hissing, then nothing, then  after a few seconds the program would return. Calling the service resulted in the inevitable “reset your radio,” followed by me explaining it happened in both of our cars all the time.

Another reason to cancel Sirius/XM is how aggressively they tried to stop me from canceling. Not only does that encourage me to cancel even faster, it means I’ll never return.

I still have several entertainment options in my Juke. The iPod has a gadrillion songs (although I feel like I need to finesse my playlists some), the CD/MP3 player, and, of course, AM/FM radio.

Hmm. Radio? Scanning up and down the FM dial was an urgent reminder of the state of things today… Hits from the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and today. Rock 100 The KATT. Public Radio. Religious radio. AM radio hasn’t changed a bit… Sports Animal, conservative talk radio, hillbilly preachers talking about the end times. Tons of Spanish language programming fill in the rest.

On that last point, I would love to learn conversational Spanish, but I only made one short stab at it on a road trip years ago. I need to borrow someone’s Rosetta Stone and make it happen.

I am on the road enough that entertainment is important to keep me fresh and awake, and I am feeling good about my present situation.

I know commercial radio is in the same boat as newspapers, being replaced by tech like streaming, but they have done as poor a job at reinventing themselves as other media.
I know commercial radio is in the same boat as newspapers, being replaced by tech like streaming, but they have done as poor a job at reinventing themselves as other media.

4 Comments

  1. Several lines in this entry, I felt like you plagiarized my brain… Like this one:

    “I found it very peculiar that a service with 151 channels would devote one of those channels to Jimmy Buffett, for example.”

    My wife’s Kia Soul came with [X] months of a free trial of Sirius, and it comes back every so often for another week or two of free service, trying to hook us. Each time, we’re fairly soundly disappointed. I do understand why they’d have channels solely for the Beatles or Elvis, but I thought having a Springsteen-only channel was overkill. And I thought it was weird that of the Christian music channels, all the black artists had to be on their own channel. “Weird” probably isn’t the right word there.

    “…how aggressively they tried to stop me from canceling. Not only does that encourage me to cancel even faster, it means I’ll never return.”

    Another “great minds think alike” moment. Hopefully it wasn’t as bad as trying to cancel a magazine subscription. (Oddly, ADT was the easiest company to end service with, and it left me with a good feeling. I’ll probably use them again if I ever want security services.)

    “…I would love to learn conversational Spanish…”

    I can think of a dozen ways this would make my life easier (and a few ways it might make *other* people’s lives easier, someday).

  2. This post really hits home. It reminds me of all the music delivery systems I have used/converted to over the past 20-30 years. I started out listening to music on vinyl, of course, in the late 1970s, then slowly (then all of a sudden overnight!) migrated to cassette (those clear tapes were pretty cool-looking), and then it was the late-1980s and CDs were all the rage. I remember when the average CD player was exorbitantly expensive, and so were CDs. You really had to make an investment and COMMIT to buy a CD.
    I finally converted everything from cassette to CD, and have slowly, since about 2001 or so, converted to all digital (or MP3 or the cloud or whatever the hell). Here’s the thing: I am getting back into vinyl. It surprises and amuses me that “record albums” are back in vogue, and in fact, are out-selling CDs. (Our local Walmart recently ripped out its entire CD section, which speaks volumes for how things are going.) You can walk into any Target store today and buy a CCR or Coldplay or Johnny Cash or Beatles album on vinyl. I think it’s awesome. It is absolutely wonderful that the medium I grew up with has come back in vogue, simply because people want the undeniable pleasure of holding an artifact in their hands.
    I got two of my very, very favorite U2 albums on vinyl for Christmas (“All That You Can’t Leave Behind” and “The Best of 1990-2000,” and the joy of stripping off the shrink wrap, preserving the little outer sticker with the logo on it, and cracking open the gatefold to inspect the full-color pictures, was worth the month-long wait. The records are new pressings, nice and thick, unlikely to scratch, and pristine. The music sounds great turned up loud. In the case of records, what goes around, comes around. (Ba-bump-bump.)

  3. Oh, re: learning Spanish. Rosetta Stone is OK, but terribly expensive. If you really want to pick up some conversational Spanish, one easy (so easy it’s stupid) method is to come up with a few simple, everyday, household phrases that you’d like to drop casually into conversation, and GOOGLE THEM IN SPANISH. You’ll get the Spanish phrase and the pronunciation, and you can walk with away little words and phrases you’re more likely to remember than how to conjugate 500 Spanish verbs according to the masculine or feminine. Problem solved! De nada!

  4. I remember really enjoying radio in the 1980s. I don’t know if it’s changed that much or if it’s *me* that’s changed. But now I can’t bear to listen to half an hour of commercials just to hear the same two songs I heard last time I turned on the radio.

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