Thoughts by Richard Bleil
Being born in 1963 has put me at the cusp of a lot of very interesting innovations. About a year ago I posted about “Modern History” where I talked about this and implored my readers to pay attention to the news of the day. This will enrich your future self more than you can imagine. Trust me, the things we are seeing in the impeachment today we will see again, and it’s interesting to be able to draw parallels and contrasts from your own memory. For example, I recall the Clinton impeachment. It was two decades ago, so some of my viewers might be too young to remember this, or to remember it clearly, but prior to the impeachment was the Ken Starr investigation, and remembering the drive behind that investigation, and the way the charges were constantly being watered down until something finally was provable makes me laugh every time I hear complaints of how “unfair” this process has been today.
But I digress. See, I was there when the record yielded to the eight-track yielded to the cassette yielded to the CD yielded to music streaming. I was there when the slide rule yielded to the calculator. I was there at the start of the Web and at the start of video games. I was there when television yielded to cable TV.
It has been interesting to watch as modern technology developed, sometimes for the better, sometimes not. For example, I honestly expected to see CD’s and DVD’s be replaced by prerecorded thumb drives, but it never happened. These days, if you like a particular artist, you can just “add them” to your streaming music service. But it used to be that “streaming music” meant radio where the best you could do is find a station that plays the style or era of music that you like, then you would wait for them to play the song or artists you’re hoping for. But, I’m not sure that streaming music is better than CD’s.
Some years ago, the Cartoon Network had “Adult Swim”, which were like cartoons for adults that are drunk and stoned late at night. One of them was a spoof of the old Sealab cartoon, and the end theme song that was a little ditty that I liked the sound of. As it turns out, it was performed by an artist named Julie Stepanek, and she had a band called “Calamine”. Good luck finding Calamine on a radio, but I bought their CD and found a buried treasure trove of “Indy” (meaning “Independent”, as opposed to commercial label music) music that I absolutely love. The melodic songs with deep feeling lyrics that sometimes touch me so deeply that to this just hearing them can make me cry are so beautiful and barely known at all. Buying CD’s gave you access to the songs that do not make play time, and sometimes they are so wonderful that you wonder why. Well, the reason is simple; they’re beautiful to you. They touch your soul in a very personal way for some reason specific to you, and these songs don’t have the audience for mass distribution. Pink is another such artist. The music on her CD’s that do not get the airtime are jazzy and show the scars of the artist that her dance music rarely touch on. This is why I prefer CD’s over modern streaming services.
It’s also why I still, to this day, buy CD’s. When I hear a song on that I like, such as “Heaven Knows” by the Pretty Reckless, I always wonder if I like the song, or if I would like the artist. So I’ll buy the CD. Sometimes it’s a load of crap with one good tune, but sometimes it’s buried treasure. The Pretty Reckless, for example, have a style that I adore, kind of classic rock meets a steel edge. After buying that CD, I made sure to buy ALL of their CD’s.
I must enjoy music because I’m drifting way off of the topic. The point of this post is NOT to tell my readers “hey, do it my way.” That would be arrogant. But what I am saying is that you don’t have to do it “their way” either. Instead, do it YOUR way. Just like Paul Anka and covered by Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley DAMN I did it again.
I buy CD’s because it fits my sense of style. I like the benefits and am willing to live with the consequences (the weight when I move, the space they take, and so forth). It’s my way and don’t judge me. I’m writing a blog as written word even though I probably will never make a dime on it because it fits my style, even as the trend is towards vlogs, memes and video clips. These are getting the attention today to attract advertisers and make money, and if you are after coinage, then you must keep up with the trends. I get that. Heck, there’s a seven-year-old boy that today has eleven million dollars by following trends. Let’s face it; most of us are not cute enough to get the followers of a seven-year-old, but there it is. But there will be a day that you’ll remember “back when”, and you will find that your own style bucks the modern trends. My advice is to be okay with that. You’re beautiful and unique. Run with it!