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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

So make up your mind and come to your senses

A lesson I still remember from college: on roadtrips, don't listen to CDs that only have a half-hour of music (or less) on them. The reason why is for time-filling reasons -- and a desire to not switch out discs that often while driving. I've never wanted a multi-disc changer as my mood is always subject to change, so it's been single-disc player all the way. (And don't get me started on plugging my iPod in my car.)

Well, as much as I might love a record by a band, I don't want to hear it continuously over and over again. For records that I sort of like, this can leave a bad impression in the long term.

I recall one trip going from Austin to Fort Worth where I decided to listen to face to face's self-titled album. Once I reached the Round Rock city limits, I had gone through all twelve songs. Since I had just begun my trip, I decided to let the album play again. And again. And again. I think I listened to the whole thing four times. As much as I like almost all of the songs, hearing them that many times was overkill.

It was on this trip that I realized how quick and simple most pop-punk songs are. "You mean the bridge is only fifteen seconds long? Three verses, three choruses and one bridge -- all under three minutes? Wow." For the same reasons that drew me to pop-punk, I became a believer that punk comps and mix CDs are the way to go for roadtrips years later.

On another trip from Austin to Fort Worth, I listened to my used, purchased-at-Sound-Exchange, copy of the Get Up Kids' Four Minute Mile about four times in a row. Though I think the record was really important for the band's career, for me as the listener, I was not blown away. The catchiest songs were great to hear again and again, but the thin mastering job and shoddy production made the record difficult to fully enjoy. Listening to the whole thing that many times was a test of endurance.

Since I have music going pretty much non-stop from the start of the car to when I reach my destination, half-hour CDs are great for the work commute and visits up to the suburbs. For anything longer than that, it's a choice from one of the many personal mix CDs I've made in the last few years, along with ones I've made for our seasonal theme parties.

Thinking about this all now, it's just another in a long line of bad experiences that I hope never experience anything slightly ever again. Man, this is a prevailing thought for most of my life since high school . . .

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