Sentimentality is curse…especially when you’re trying to clean and organize your home. We just sold a box of more than 100 CDs for a mere $25 and watching some of them go was tough, and it really shouldn’t be, should it?
Blasts from the past
As we prepare our house for a baby we’ve found that space is at more of a premium than ever. We had to consolidate two rooms into one and every square inch matters now, which includes the space take up by CDs…you know, those discs that you used to have to buy to get music. Many of the CDs I remember buying brand new in junior high. Most of them got played to death only to end up as MP3s in high school, leaving the discs sitting on a shelf serving little to no purpose, or so I thought.
We all have emotional connections to music. When you hear certain songs you’ll remember a person, place or event that was special (or maybe, un-special). But as I packed up these CDs, I found myself not just remembering the music on them but the the actual time and place where I bought them, and in that moment I was reminded of a flaw with digital downloads slowly eliminating the need for physical media…nobody remembers when they downloaded a song.
The one thing iTunes can’t do
Physical media like CDs or tapes or records do double duty when it comes to memories. The music will probably last forever, as will the memories attached to them, but are you giving up the memories attached to the discs themselves when you throw them away? Seeing all these CDs brought back memories and stories that went along with each purchase. I’m not filled with memories of clicking when I see a song listed in my iTunes library. You can say that hearing the music will also bring back the other memories too, and that’s probably true, but not nearly as strongly as seeing the CDs laid out in front of you or on a shelf.
So what are memories worth? Are they worth taking up shelf space? Apparently not, and I’m kind of okay with that. You’re right…those memories will never go away even if these triggers are removed from my life, and right now my life needs the space. Most of these CDs had three inches of dust on them anyway. It’s not like I pulled them out and listened to them in my hi-fi stereo or anything. They really are just historical artifacts, markers in time.
To be honest, I did keep a lot of CDs. Just because I’m cleaning house doesn’t mean you have to throw away everything. Memories are worth something but sometimes you just have to be honest about how many memories you need laying around the house. You gotta make room for new memories, you know? And as a born-and-bred pack rat, this is hard but it has to be done.
But as to not completely lose all the memories that just got dropped off at Half Price Books, below you’ll find the memories attached to some of these albums. Compact discs may take up space in my house but my blog does not, so I’d rather share the stories than risk them being forgotten.
Guns N Roses
Probably my favorite rock band, Guns N Roses was one that actually took time to grow on me. When I first heard GNR, I was deep into radio pop and thus Guns was “too heavy”, but by the time middle school rolled around, I was ready for something new and that meant Guns N Roses. The first GNR album I got was Use Your Illusion II, it was on cassette, but as I kept digging GNR, I needed more and by then I had a record store in.
My best friend’s uncle worked at a record store in town and he got me all five Guns N Roses albums for $30, which then was a pretty good deal. I was so happy to have a complete collection. Those discs did a good job at replacing my cassette to point where they were so scratched they barely played. Use Your Illusion II as well the rest of my collection (shy of Appetite) went out the door this year. However, GNR will never leave even if I wanted them to. I might be kind of burned out on them after 20 years but there are days when only Axl’s shrill voice will do the trick.
Nine Inch Nails
Wow. Nine Inch Nails. I was a NIN fiend in junior high, my “dark and mysterious” period. It was the time when only black would do and everything I did had to be clouded in evil and flaming skulls…we all go through that period, right? Well, Nine Inch Nails couldn’t have fit the bill any better and I started collecting every disc that was released…and I mean all of them. I searched the stores for singles as well as albums and I did pretty good for a while. My favorite was the Closer To God single disc which not only had the over-played single Closer on it, but had a really good remix of the song Heresy, entitled Heresy (Blind). I remember getting the disc at a store by the movie theatre for about $3. That might sound like a lot but the disc had eight songs on it, so for $3 that’s far less than the $1 per song we pay today. That CD stayed in my car and was pretty much on repeat. The Heresy remix had a lot of good bass in it and my little Cavalier rocked non-stop to and from work and school everyday. I should also say that this album was awesome when playing Doom.
This one is somewhat out of left field, but along with my devil music and rock-n-roll, I can enjoy the good movie score as much as the next person, and few made better scores than Danny Elfman. Thanks to the first Batman movie, I fell in love with his scores and bought them up left and right. My first attempt was the Batman soundtrack at Meijer, which I quickly discovered wasn’t the score but Prince songs. Whoops. My second attempt panned out much better when I found a collection of his scores that included Batman. This was my sleepy time CD. I stayed in the player I had on my night stand and got played every night. I remained a fan of Elfman’s scores and bought the Edward Scissorhands album at Best Buy and was lucky enough to find a second volume of scores when Jen and I went to Chicago. Many of the scores have become cinema classics but I have to admit that having the CDs around didn’t do much for me.
Outside of film scores, I bought a lot of soundtrack CDs because I felt they offered more bang for the buck. You’d get a full disc of songs from various artists, so not only would you get the one song in the movie you liked, you’d get all the rest too, and I have to say that I was introduced to many artists that I wouldn’t have otherwise discovered on my own. One album that I was kind of sad to see go out in the box was the soundtrack for Brainscan, a horrible teen horror film from 1994 with Eddie Furlong. The movie was an attempt to be some sort of Lawnmowerman techno-horror-video game plot and…well, it was pretty bad, but that didn’t stop me from getting it on video and buying the CD at the music store next to the theatre. I haven’t seen that movie since high school, and that’s fine with me, but the soundtrack holds up pretty well, honestly.
Hackers was another important movie to me growing up that made an impact on me all over the place. I worked at a computer store with a bunch of “hackers” and this movie pretty much said what we were all about…roller blades, techno music, obnoxious clothes, damning The Man and knowing that a 28.8bps modem was the shit. The soundtrack was a whos-who of techno music at the time including Prodigy, Underworld, Orbital and Leftfield. I remember finding the album at Media Play by chance and while I didn’t know any of the artists, I did know I loved the movie so I couldn’t go wrong with the music. Hack the planet!
The youth of tomorrow is screwed
I could go on about every disc in the box but the story would be the same for most of them. Even though the discs are gone the music remains and that’s what really matters. It’s too bad that kids today will rarely know the excitement of buying a CD at the store and ripping it open in the car, or the anticipation of getting an album for their birthday or Christmas. I’ll chalk this up as being one thing that was actually better when I was a kid.