Friday, May 9, 2008

About my musical devices, James Taylor, and John Mayer

I added another musical device to my arsenal this week, a Creative Zen V. One gig.
Welcoming the Zen was my Creative MuVo Slim 256mg (which I mostly use for the FM radio), my Audiophase one gig, my Pionner INNO that is also an XM radio.
Hey, the Creative Zen was free just for upgrading my Napster + XM subscription for a year. Unlimited downloads for $14.99 a month? And a free mp3 player? Sign me up.
Okay, so I wrote a letter of complaint (actually, two letters) because I can't download for free to the INNO. That's really dumb, considering the XM/Napster partnership. Nor can I download for free to the Audiophase or the MuVo--seems they are "not compatible" with Napster.
And even the Zen--while most downloads are free, not all--some of the songs I tried to sync, Napster tried to charge me 99 cents for--no thanks, Napster. How about a little more truth in advertising in your promo emails?
Enough complaining. What caused me to start thinkin' about all this was the beauty of the little Zen V.
Smaller than a credit card, a half-inch thick, a color screen (you can also put photos on it), an intuitive interface--I like this little music player. And I loaded it up in less than half an hour with tons of music that I could get as part of my Napster subscription.
I'm not real picky about the audio quality of my music, being no audiophile, but the sound was great.
I sat on the sofa looking at the Zen V and thinking about the new iPod Nano my neighbor tween received for her 12th birthday. That is a beautiful little device too, thin and pink and able to hold hundreds of tunes. Does a 12-year-old have that many favorite songs?
Because I do, and sitting there the other night, I flashed back to the musical device I received when I was 12 or so--my first record player.
Black, with a clear top, no automatic stacker (our family stereo had that), two big black speakers. Not having a job, or much allowance left after buying books (bookworms are like that), my record collection was pretty limited--a few 45s (FORTY-FIVES! WHAT THE HECK WERE THOSE!), less than half-a-dozen albums. James Taylor, Gordon Lightfoot, Elton John. All of which I played, over and over again.
One Christmas I asked for the 45 of the Beatles's "Come Together." After I opened it, I ran up to my room to play it, only to find it skipped. My needle didn't seem heavy enough to stay in a straight light over the grooves. Being a problem-solving kind of girl, I took a penny and put it on top the needle. The record played perfectly, and I could sing along about Ole Flat-top to my heart's content.
In the '70s, I was annoyed by skipping records. Today, I'm annoyed by DRM licenses that don't copy properly. If a penny and five minutes solved my problems in 1969, now it takes half-a-dozen emails sent over a week to solve a download/licensing problem problem.
I've read that real albums and record players are clinging to life, indeed staging a little renaissance among audiophiles.
Obviously, I'm not one of them. I've scratched too many records and still reeling from that Come-Together-need-a-penny experience.
I downloaded most of John Mayer's oeuvre onto the new Zen V. Napster of lots of his blues and live performances, and now they're all ready for me to listen to this afternoon in the cubicle. John's a couple decades younger than me, but music knows no age, right? I bet James Taylor listens, too. On an iPod.
How about you? What are you listening to?


Joe said...

Your penny on the needle arm brought back a rush of memories! Been there, done that, got the "Penny on the Diamond Needle!" t-shirt!

I must admit though, the world of digital music has me wrapped around it's little finger. I'm a Mac guy, though, so from my MacBook to my iPod to my iPhone - I don't miss the penny either.

You can never go wrong with a little James Taylor ... and if you want something a little more contemporary, check out Michael Buble (his song, "Home", still leaves me standing still after 97 plays).

Cathy said...

Ahead of the curve, Joe. I'm all over Michael (musically, anyway). "You're My Everything" does it for me.

Chantel said...

Keep up the good work.