04 January 2007

Bought into the hype

I got an iPod nano for Christmas. I told DH for about 2 years that yes, I'd like to have one, but only if it didn't cost $300. I don't like to admit to my own materialism, so it pains me a bit to admit this, but I have hundreds of CDs. I spent several hours on New Year's Day loading music into iTunes (which I have yet to figure out...damn confusing, that program is) and there are over 500 songs stored on the nano, with another approx 1.5 gigs of space left for still more music, and perhaps another 50 or so CDs that I already own that I want to add, plus about 70 albums that I don't own that I'd like to add. Old stuff, new stuff, things I know I can borrow/steal from friends and other stuff I will have to break down and actually buy in the iTunes store, which I have not even begun to explore yet. I'm having enough trouble with iTunes and loading actual CDs that I purchased, without getting into things to download. I won't get into my confusion with iTunes here, but I do have one question for the interweb....what happens when you have no more space on your iPod but you continue to load music into iTunes? How does iTunes decide what does and does not get sync-d to the iPod?

The iPod makes me insanely happy. I put most of the Swedish music I own on it, plus a few embarrassing things from the late 80s/early 90s that I'm cringing over, but each song that plays when I set it to random shuffle makes me smile.

Worst cringe-worthy disc I loaded into iTunes? Gotta be Nelson, "After The Rain", which I freely admit is terrible, awful, horrible music, but makes me laugh every time I hear it and so can not be all bad. When I was 16, my friend Val met them, and we played their cassette over and over until it wore out. DH actually bought the music on CD, so I guess that means we've both got bad taste in music from time to time. Every time I hear the opening strains of "(Can't Live Without Your) Love and Affection", I'm taken back to those days of blasting music on purpose to irritate our parents, uncontrollable giggling, obsessing over dumb boys, and the excessive amounts of heavy metal I listened to until I damaged my hearing. Thankfully, I no longer own the more deafness-inducing things like Metallica, Ratt, Megadeath, Anthrax, and shudder, shudder, Poison. Strangely, iTunes classifies Nelson as "Metal" along with Def Leppard and Nickelback. WTF is up with that?

Perhaps the next most embarrassing thing I loaded on the iPod is Limp Bizkit's "Chocolate Starfish and the Hot-Dog Flavored Water" which is also abysmal, but I like to run to "Rollin" and "Livin It Up".

I am worried about doing further damage to my hearing with this wonderful new toy. I have caught myself turning it up while at the gym to block out super-annoying conversations taking place around me, and when I check the volume, I'm surprised at how high it is. I set the max volume setting yesterday but found myself disabling it in the gym this morning because I couldn't hear what was playing.

I have to admit to indulging my OCD as well...it seemed to me that loading music on to iTunes was a great opportunity to go through all of the CDs we own and find the cases that don't have discs, the discs that don't have cases, to put away the discs that had been stacked up when we removed them from the player and never returned to proper cases, and alphabetize the whole collection.

I discovered last night as I was alphabetizing that DH owns more than 35 Jimmy Buffett CDs. Did you know that Jimmy had released more than 30 CDs? I think to be precise that DH owns 39 or 40 Buffett discs, including imports and some awful stuff he did in Nashville in the 70s. I've chosen to only load very selected amounts of Buffet, things that I find very soothing.

I've written before about the strangeness of our shared music collection....Ani DiFranco next to Journey next to Rascal Flats next to Tori Amos and Dave Matthews band. During our dating years when we didn't live together, we would each buy a copy of a disc we liked and as a result we have two copies of several things....a Pittsburgh guitarist named Tony Janflone, a pop star who never really took off, Amanda Marshall, Harry Connick Jr.'s 25, and Buffett's Banana Wind. I'm sure there are a few that I've forgotten, but I'm not sure what to do with the duplicates. Leave them in the collection and when I want a CD in the car's CD changer then I still have one? Get rid of them for store credit at a local used music store or sell on eBay?

Another facet of my OCD is that I will get a song stuck in my head that I want stuck in my head (meaning I like the song) and I will listen to it over and over and over until some mysterious thing makes me move on to something else. Currently it is the Barenaked Ladies "Wind it Up" off the the Are Me CD, which was a birthday present. The song is much better than another pop song that's all over the radio (I'm sure you've heard it) with the same name. I've known about the Ladies for a while, but obsessively listening to "Wind it Up" on the iPod reminds me that they're really, really clever songwriters. Hearts on fire you'll learn/end up with heartburn...Yes I'm out of line/but you're out of your mind. Those are just two lines that I think are funny, but the whole album is full of little one liners that you might not hear the first or second time through but might make you burst out laughing at inappropriate times. Not that that has happened to me, no. "Wind it Up" is about a messy breakup, but besides being pretty darn clever is really a fantastic rock song.

I've never thought about what makes me listen to something obsessively and then stop listening or move on to something else, but it happens all the time. I'll even hear snippets of whatever my current obsession is when I wake up in the middle of the night. Most of the time that doesn't bug me much, when I'm able to go back to sleep. Seems, however, that the older I get, the crazier I get, and that is perhaps not such a good thing. :-) I think the fact that I am able to worry about being nuts is a good sign....if I was truly a nut, I wouldn't be worried about it, right? Right?!?

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