Sunday, December 21, 2008

Ode to Music

I remember the moment when I burned my first CD vividly, as if I knew on that day in eighth grade that that song filled gold Memorex would change my life forever.

Those were the days when most of my friends didn't have Internet. I was connecting with a screeching modem via the phone line, and my CD burner was a purple external drive that I hooked to my high tech laptop's single USB port so it could hum like a small lawnmower.

I spent many sleepless nights those days, watching songs creep to download completion off of sites like Audio Galaxy or Napster. Legal talks of how this would affect the music industry hadn't even arisen yet and I was surrounded by real albums of Everclear and Bare Naked Ladies while sprinting for the radio every time a favorite song came up so I could start recording artists like the Red Hot Chili Peppers or Right Said Fredd onto my totally custom, radio generated mixed tape in the second measure or so.

Music has always been a focal point in my life, but I don't think I realized it until the day when I burned my first CD. I was on my way to an athletic practice at Judkin's Junior High and I wanted to ride my BMX with headphones on so that I could pedal fast to all my favorite songs.

Rather than fill my album with just my favorite songs though (like Nelly, Right Said Fredd's "I'm Too Sexy," Excellence's version of "Kiss-a-licious," and "Celebrate"), I also chose songs that I thought would make me seem cool, like The Gourds' version of "Gin and Juice" and Gillette's techno banger "Does Anybody Want to Have Sex Tonight."

When the humming of my purple external burner stopped I remember ejecting the warm disc and writing on it in red ink. My handwriting was careful, and I listed some of my favorite songs and then proudly wrote, "Proctor's First Mix CD" on the front before waving it around to dry and then popping it into my purple and yellow 40 second shock proof portable CD player.

When I rode my bike I felt cool, but more than that, I felt something deep inside me that I had never felt before. My burned CD boasted a partial song (oh, the early, unregulated days of file sharing) and nine songs of pure bliss before spinning out and messing up. I knew it was messed up before I even got to practice, but as soon as I got to the gym I remember squealing with delight. I hard burned my first CD and I could carry whatever songs I wanted to with me wherever I wanted, whenever I wanted.

I think I knew (without really knowing) just how important music was becoming to me. Music has a way of making you feel in ways that are sometimes more truthful, complete, and intimate than real life. I can not think of a single force, other than unconditional love, that is more powerful.

So to all the music that's ever moved me and all the songs that have ever made me realize something important about the world, thank you. May we never give up on music.


In honor of this love letter to music, check out A Camp. I stumbled upon them while sifting through the 100 or so press releases I get every week and they're really quite wonderful. Nina Persson (former Cardigans front woman) is one of the band's trifecta, so expect the lure of "Love Fool" with a more sophisticated, delicate sound brimming over with easy melodies. If you like them, A Camp's sophomore effort is hitting the states on April 28, 2009. Enjoy A Camp. Enjoy music.