The Golden Age Of Hipper-Than-Thou CD Fetishization Begins Now


Yeah, no, I bet whatever album you’re trying to tell me about is great. It’s not even out yet? Ooh, a leak! So you’ve got, what, a 160 kbps transcode ripped from NPR’s live stream or something? Then we’re definitely not listening to that. Also, my iPod speakers stopped working.

Nah. Doesn’t bother me. Honestly? Best thing that could’ve happened. See, I’ve still got my old stereo, and I’ve been hoarding all the CDs I bought or burned between the ages of 13 and 24. Sure, they take up a lot of space. Was a pain to move them out of the old apartment, too, but it’s worth it. This stuff is gold. No more blasting the hot new downloads. From now on, I’m all vintage.

Wait, don’t go! I’ve got some good stuff here. Look, I’ve got Version 2.0 by Garbage. Bought that before I realized they were a straight ripoff of Curve. Heh. Butch Vig, you shameless bastard. This is what I’m talking about, though-the physical disc? It takes you back. Transports you to that moment. No, sorry, I don’t have any Curve on CD.

I’ve got that shoegaze, though, for real. Stack of My Bloody Valentine EPs, my fifth copy of Loveless, hell yeah. Hm? Not that scratched. Most of the songs don’t skip. But dude! The skips are part of it. You’re supposed to hear skips, those tiny hiccups. It’s like… my brain fills in the missing pieces. Human memory’s amazing, am I right? Besides, the skips happened because I played the album too much, so that’s just extra cred for me. Any jackass can get into iTunes and mess around with the play count; this is legit wear-and-tear.

I would totally throw on some Spiritualized, some Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space, but the case is empty and I don’t know where the thing itself is.

How about something from-ah, no, these are mixes of stuff I played over the radio in college. Need to throw those out. And that’s, eh, I know, of the whole Jesus & Mary Chain discography I have no idea why The Sound Of Speed is the thing I own. Don’t even bother trying to decipher that cover, it’s just Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Ah, funny story about The Bends. I bought it after liking OK Computer and listened to it on my Discman on a car trip and was confused about the direction Radiohead was taking. Shut up. Sam Goody’s didn’t say which one came first, you know.

80s? I’ve got 80s. Echo & The Bunnymen? Cocteau Twins? Pixies? Whatever, Surfer Rosa was like ’88. All stone masterpieces, all in their original shiny jewel cases. Except this one still has some sticker residue on it. Don’t you miss those stickers you had to strip off to open a CD for the first time, furious with stymied anticipation? If you weren’t careful sometimes you’d break the case! Point is: we put effort into our fanhood back then. It wasn’t all mouse-clicks. Except when you had to go on Napster to pirate a Jerky Boys sketch.

Check it: The String Quartet Tribute To New Order & Joy Division.

Okay, just say it. The Flaming Lips. Yes, they really have that many albums. I went through what we call a phase. You ever had a phase? Don’t I remember your mom confiscating Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness from you back in the day because you were getting all mopey? I don’t care, early Flaming Lips are pure acid rock heaven, even if I don’t listen to them anymore. I’m glad I preserved that era of my life where I was blithely ordering bands’ entire back catalogs on That felt real.

That? Kiss Me Deadly, Misty Medley. No one’s heard of it. Just something I used to cry to while I was in London. Ditto Paik’s The Orson Fader. Ditto several other things. Actually most of these are good for a crying jag. Especially this used copy of Codeine’s Frigid Stars LP I picked up at Other Music down on 4th Street. Odds are pretty good that whoever owned it killed himself and bequeathed it to a friend who sold it off. History!

There’s something bewitching and lovely about hearing the old CD changer struggle and whir inside the stereo. Usually I don’t even bother seeing what’s in a given slot, because it takes too long for the slot to open. You just press play and listen to what gets spit out, is what I do. That’s the problem with music libraries on computers, too much control, too much choice. One time this stereo was completely stuck and I had to listen to Bowery Electric’s Beat like twenty times in a row. It was even more hypnotic that way.

Anyway, it’s stuck right now, so I guess we’re listening to … The Knife. Hope you like gothic Swedish electronica.

Yeah, a few of these are only a couple years old. The National, Boxer. Black Moth Super Rainbow, Dandelion Gum. Electrelane, No Shouts, No Calls. Burial, Untrue. Stars of the Lid, Stars of the Lid and Their Refinement of the Decline. Mountain Goats, The Sunset Tree. I don’t know what I was thinking when I scooped these up. Doesn’t make sense hearing them through the laser precision of a compact disc. Feels anachronistic and weird. It was too late for them, I suppose. The dream is over. It was our golden age. We remember Tower Records, man. We were there.

You leaving already?

Miles Klee really wants you to come over and listen to the authentic fidelity of his CDs you guys!

CD iPhone base by Geeky Gadgets.