Thursday, February 14, 2013

It's okay to take songs off of your iPod.

I know this comes as a surprise to nobody but I buy a lot of music, more than I could conceivably fit onto my 8GB iPod. And with every new song or record I want to put on my iPod (it's a green mini Nano, purchased in 2007, named Geno. I have an iPhone and an iPod Touch but Geno and I have been through a lot. And his name is Geno.) I am faced with the problem of removing a song or two. It's the circle of life for mp3s. And let me be honest, there are a lot of songs that I constantly skip over that could conceivably be deleted, and yet, I scroll through the list over and over again and wrestle with the decision as to which songs need to go.

I think there are two reasons behind this problem:

1. I buy all of my music on vinyl, with the exception of a few stray mp3s that I buy from Amazon, simply because I don't like the whole record enough. I am very against the idea of purchasing a full album on mp3. I believe it physicality, and there is something beautiful about removing a record from it's sleeve, putting it on your player, and letting the needle gently glide over it. An mp3 is nothing. It just exists on your hard drive, and if it crashes or gets deleted, then it's gone. And you have nothing to show for it. There are a lot of songs on my iPod that I either a) don't have physical copies of or b) don't even have the mp3 of and once they are deleted, they are gone forever. I understand musical is cyclic, and I won't always want to listen to or like the same songs, and with the internet, things are always available now. But if I delete this live version of Damien Rice's "The Professor and La Fille Danse" that's in very poor quality, I WILL NEVER GET IT BACK!

2. Music is so incredibly personal, and I feel like I've developed a sort of connection or memory to every song/album/artists I listen to. I scroll through my iTunes library and think, "No! I can't take off this instrumental by Sufjan Stevens! He helped shape my love of indie!" or "I never listen to this live, solo version of 'Banking On a Myth' but it's Andrew! And I must be able to say I have a ridiculous, albeit unrealistic amount of his recordings on my iPod." And if I take off all of the Damien Rice music, then it just shows that I don't really like listening to him anymore, especially not as much as I did when I was in high school and my father would drive me to school every morning and I'd force him to listen to O over and over again. And then I'm saying good-bye to that part of my life. But I own the album on CD, and I could play it over and over again if I wanted to. But if "Cold Water" didn't randomly come on my iPod during my morning commute, I couldn't think, "Jeez, remember when my father used to argue with me about how this was the best song on the album?" If I removed those Bell x1 songs, then they're not special to me anymore, and they've been replaced by a new band. I mean, your memories never go away. But it's hard to admit parts of your life are over, and that you'll always have a fondness for Flock or 9 or Wind in the Wires but your music doesn't grow with you. You grow and you mature and your tastes become more sophisticated and maybe you'd rather listen to "Offspring are Blank" over "Red Right Ankle." Doesn't mean they both have to be on your iPod.

So, the best thing to remember is that you're not deleting your memories, you're just not going to have to dig through your bag on the subway to skip these songs when they come on your iPod anymore. And the less crap you have to deal with on the subway, the better.

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