Going to the Light
A 365-day Photo Journal

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Day 26: The iPod killed a part of my soul

click photo for larger version

Today continues 6 days of Elton John song photos. Again, if you are the first to post a comment with the song title and original album it appeared on, you win a free t-shirt. Please remember that if you've already won you are not eligible to win again.

As I've looked thru the Elton John catalog this week, looking for photo ideas, I've been struck with nostalgic thoughts as I remembered different albums and the events of my life for which these albums were the soundtrack. It also dawned on me that I don't listen to music the way I did in the past. Today, I create playlists of mp3s that serve as background noise and little more. But in the past, I listened to whole albums and experienced them as living works of art.

I remember the early days of my music collecting when I was incredibly discriminating based on the lack of coin in my pocket. New Elton John albums were automatic buys, but anyone else had to really push my buttons to get me to fork over my hard earned cash. Later I was able to be more free in my selections. But still, I rarely purchased more than one album at a time.

When I did finally decide that a recording was worth the investment, I would devour it. It would be the only thing on my turntable, 8-track player or cd player. (I never bought cassettes...they sounded horrible) I would listen to it over and over with lyric sheets in hand. I'd look at who wrote the song and who played lead guitar. I'd have imaginary fights with the record promoter who blew it with his selection of songs to release as singles. I'd try to imagine what events caused the lyricist to pen the words and I'd try to feel what every note was intended to evoke. Those albums were important and remain an important part of who I am.

I wonder if those college students moving into the dorm across the street from where I'm writing this have anything like that relationship with the music they purchase online. Do they ever buy whole albums? Do they ever find a gem that was never played on the radio but still had the power to affirm all those strange feelings they have every day? Do they ever notice a thread that connects one song to the next or appreciate how the artist picked the perfect order for the songs to be played back? And how must those same artists feel knowing that Apple gave these fresh from the mall, oily-faced lemmings the option to randomly shuffle those songs with the press of a single button?

I know my relationship to new music has certainly changed. I still have a great appreciation for rare talent, but I rarely get past the few songs that get picked for general release. I don't care anymore about who's in a band or who wrote the songs. When I hear a song I like, I download that one tune and make it a part of my "current faves" playlist. Even when I get the latest Elton album, I quickly decide my favorite tracks and discard the others to digital purgatory.

Change is the essence of progress...but I think it reeks of sacrifice as well.
Camera info: off-camera flash directly above subject. 24-70mm lens, 1/125 sec at f/5.6, ISO 100.


Anonymous said...

The Ballad of Danny Bailey from Yellow Brick Road*

Mary Z

*compliments of my hubby, Greg :)

Jim Smith said...

That's a great guess, but not the one I'm looking for. Feel free to try again.

Kristie said...

Um, Ballad of a Well Known Gun, from Tumbleweed Collection???

(Can you tell I'm devouring Wikipedia until I win one of those t-shirts, dang it!) :)

I agree with you about the evolv-(DEvolve?)ation of music .... My first album was Meatloaf's Bat Out of Hell. When I got the 8-track, I would lay in my parent's van in the garage and listen to it for HOURS. I've probably heard every song on that record ten thousand times ..... does anybody do that anymore?

Anonymous said...

Someone saved my life tonight??

Mary Z

jenX said...

dang it.

Jim Smith said...

Kristie and Mary...still not it. I thought this one would be pretty easy.

Anonymous said...

Now I'm obsessed with getting it! :)

My Father's Gun?

Mary Z

Guy Gadbois said...

I feel like a bullet (in the gun of Robert Ford).

Adjective Queen said...

Ballad of Danny Bailey -- Goodbye Yellow Brick Road ; or, Funeral for a friend (Love lies bleeding) -- I'm grasping at straws here.

Jim Smith said...

Guy...welcome to the blog. In all fairness, I must insist that you also name the album in which the song first appeared. I know you have the skills...do that for me and the t-shirt is on the way.

Guy Gadbois said...

Clearly, I'm not too good at directions. I feel like a bullet (in the gun of Robert Ford) from Rock of the Westies.

Cozyflier said...

Hi Jim.

I follow Lori's Blog - I'm Stefunk's Aunt in TX!!

Do a blog about Neil Diamond, I don't know that much about Elton!!

Love your photos, always have!