Friday, April 28, 2017


I have had Spotify for some time.  It is wonderful, in that I can listen to anything from Beethoven to Neil Young (but not Bob Seger), but I understand, I think, why so many kids especially are listening to records.

It is possible to have too much.  Studies show too many types of ketchup make people LESS happy, not more.  It is possible to feel too many options.

A physical record is anchoring.  You can touch it and feel it.  It has weight.  There is an album sleeve, with large pictures on both sides and sometimes in the middle.  You will typically listen to one side, turn it over, then listen to the other side.

Digital media has no weight.  It is ineffable, like air.  As gratifying as some songs may be, it is hard to feel grateful for the whole.  It is impossible to imagine the whole, whereas it is very possible to look on an album collection with satisfaction.  Nothing will be added or subtracted during the night.

So many people worry that our greed has no limits, that our destiny as a species is to consume the resources of the Earth like a pack of locusts.  This seems as misguided as the concern that population growth is destined to be immense in all places forever.  In what we might call the developed Old Worlds--I include Japan in this--population has already started dropping.  I think a big part of this is pessimism about life itself, about its point and purpose, and a following sense of unwillingness to inflict it on children, and as far as that goes, to waste ones life on the pointless exercise of parenting.  It will all be gone soon, one can hear them say, even as they join the Chorus on the future terrors of Global Warming, in this massive global tragedy.

But I think humanity has within it the capacity for self correction, for moderation, for choosing satiety over rapine.

And I think, as small as the fact is that more vinyl was sold last year than digital music--or so I hear--it is relevant to the whole.  It represents a small self similarity to a much larger trend which is less obvious, a correction to the excesses of the Baby Boomers, who as a pack of locusts do still want to claim to have been responsible custodians, when they were nothing of the sort.

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