Judging albums from mp3s (by Evanscent For Life)
*archived from a thread on the rec.music.hip-hop newsgroup, my man Evanscent For Life breaks down the listening experience*
I think the main problem with mp3 culture is people giving albums one or two listens max and then voicing a meaningless opinion. That shit makes music disposable and meaningless. If people listened and appreciated their mp3 albums as if they spent money on a real artifact, it’d be different.
I don’t think it’s really about the format itself though. It’s about not having a physical object, and that maybe effects people in a way that they just skim music and quantity overtakes quality in their judgments. Like it’s somehow supposed to be cooler to have everything in one form or another to be able to say “yo I’ve got all those 25 albums, and it’s all weak, man, total bullshit, ok maybe there’s one dope track!” — instead of meditating in length upon one album they bought… an album they carried in a plastic bag while strolling through streets sunny, murky, wet, dry, parched, icy, then stopped to wait for a train, stood there in the rain, in the sun, in the blizzard, and cautiously flipped the plastic bag in their hands over and over again and tried to read the album’s back cover through the plastic bag, got on the train and secured an area to stand in a way as to not risk the record getting abused in the crammed space, finally got home, left the plastic bag on the table while getting some orange juice from the fridge while planets turned, then took the album out of its wrapper, felt the edges of the cover under the fingertips, enjoyed the scent of fresh vinyl encapsulating the experience of millions, placed the record on the turntable, dropped the needle, and kicked back and listened and listened and experienced and experienced the music.
Seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, possibly years, maybe decades, appreciated and loved, were elevated and uplifted, immersed the music, it appeared in their dreams and their daily consciousness, the music made them stronger, healthier, happier, deeper, more individual, more knowledgable, more understanding, it rescued them when they were lost in the deserts of the city, made them feel safe when they were thinking of a way to get out of a dismal situation at night, enabled them to extend a hand to help others in their misery and partake in their joy, stood as a symbol of the bliss of eternity when such symbols were in short supply, the music whispered in their ear when they weren’t listening, made them smile all of a sudden while staring at products in grocery stores, talked to them in the middle of personal tragedies and comedies, drew out the warmth of a summer day to last forever, the music guided them and let them guide the music, and the sounds were everywhere they.
And that’s no quick mp3 experience. My philosophy is that a patient and attentive listener can extract a deeper and more meaningful experience from a mediocre album than an impatient, inattentive listener can from 20 classic albums. This philosophy doesn’t apply to music only, it’s all-encompassing. When you have to make due with less, you do and it deepens and widens your experience of everything.
I love the physical objects and everything that goes with it though. I don’t personally even care about audio quality. Slick Rick’s “Great Adventures” is my #1 hip hop shit and it’s not exactly crystal clear high end audio.
Burned cd’s make me feel queasy, but I have some, mostly collections of unreleased tracks. In the end it ain’t where the shit’s from it’s where you at. Most mp3 kids are in the wrong place though.