Thursday, June 21, 2007

Modern Life

I was driving to SuperTarget this afternoon in search of spiral appetizers for a soiree my wife was hosting when a sad realization crept cross my cerebrum.

As I was playing a mix-CD in the Survival Car, "Ana Ng" by They Might Be Giants was waning with what is really an excessive amount of choruses.

I knew full well what song was next on the playlist - I made the damn CD - but after reaching out to advance to the next song, my hand recoiled to hear the fading moments of "Ana Ng." Did I really want to here the chorus yet another time? No. Was I expecting to run across some audio nugget heretofore unheard? Not at all. I was padding my numbers.

In the past year or so, I've fully given myself to iTunes, though I'm still not the owner of an iPod. I've had most of my musical library digitally ensconsend as mp3's and I hardly ever juggle CD's in my home but rather plug away at the laptop with iTunes humming on shuffle.

I've recently gone for the jukebox layout that allows me to trapse through the myriad of album covers when choosing my songs, but mostly I let shuffle run until I have a hankerin' for Jim Reeves' "He'll Have to Go" or Ozma's "Gameover." Either way, each track gets its full length of playtime, not for the purity of songs as the artist intended but rather my own posterity. One wouldn't want to keel over tomorrow and leave the world thinking you loved Meatloaf's "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad."

You see, iTunes tracks the Top 25 Most Played and I have been very reticent in any attempt to skew the statistics. However, the glitch in the system is that iTunes only counts songs that reach the final second of their recording. Sure you can fast forward - how VHS of me - and fool iTunes into thinking you really listened to all 6:51 of Jeff Buckley's "Hallelujah," but eventually the truth comes out. Therefore, once a song starts I must see it through to fruition or forever let it be lost in the statistical ether.

One obvious victim of this practice is the end of CD "hidden track." Case in point, "Slide Show" by Travis. The actual song - which may or may not have been recorded in the back of a car - is actually a 18:31 track featuring 3 unreleased songs. Who really has time for four minutes of silence when playing blackjack online? The other victims are those bands stringing together multiple narratives Pink Floyd style. Say maybe, the Decemberists. "The Crane Wife 1 & 2" is the most depressing victim of these number crunches. I absolutely love part 1, yet iTunes thinks I've only listened to the song 6 times since its release (the actual plays near 4,000).

I guess I'll be struck impotent and uable to jump to the next song unless I want to unseat my current top played laureate, The La's with "There She Goes."

Until then, I'll be wondering how long until I download a CD in lieu of buying its jewel-cased bastard cousin.

1 comment:

Chip Wesley said...

I'm the same way with my iTunes library. I don't own an iPod, but I have ripped my entire CD collection to my trusty external hard drive and then play the entire library on shuffle.

But yet I'm still not overly keen on buying albums from iTunes. Instead I stupidly buy the CD at Best Buy, bring it home, and proceed to immediately rip it to my library.

I guess I do get music online from eMusic, which format-wise is a much better service than iTunes or any of the other places. You mean you can buy music online and just get it in a no-strings-attached MP3 format without dealing with shitty DRM files? Amazing!