Thursday, December 10, 2009

A small package of value will come to you, shortly.

I've always been kinda behind the loop when it comes to technology... never been one of those guys that had to have the latest thing right when it came out. So: no pager, no cell phone (not even the giant honkin' 80s model), the last game system I had before I got a PS2 was an Atari 2600 that my parents picked up at a rummage sale back when everyone ditched 'em 'cause the NES came out.

So it follows that in spite of my huge music collection on both hard copy and mp3, my only "mp3 player" was my rapidly aging desktop computer. Most of the components were hand-me-downs from a friend of mine and it works well enough for what I use it for. I've gotten used to burning stuff to disc when I want to listen to it somewhere else (like in my car) and I'm too cheap to justify shelling out the cash for an Ipod or any competing players when I already have a working burner and player. While I like the idea behind those new phones that also play music, I'm a social reject who doesn't like spending time on the phone in the first place, and wouldn't get any calls anyway from people that aren't my parents or my girlfriend. I'm old enough that I don't get the point of this constant texting that everyone seems to do these days (and my fat fingers would miss the right keys even if I did try to do any of that)...

So, I wound up with a cheap COBY mp3 player that I got free for entering in about 2,500 or so of those reward codes from Coca-Cola products. So far, for the price, I can't complain. It has 4GB of space which means it should hold about as much music as a DVD of mp3s. It has some other features that I haven't messed around with yet, like a tiny video screen and a text reader function, and an FM radio receiver.

Now, of course, the big question is which tracks do I fill this device up with? I recently read one of John Sandford's books, Broken Prey, which besides being a good book, has a nice little subplot bonus of "Lucas Davenport's Best Songs of the Rock Era," a list of songs based on the premise that Lucas' wife bought him an Ipod with an Itunes gift card good for 100 mp3s, so he's trying to fill it up with what he and his friends/partners/etc. feel are the best 'rock' songs. I passed the book along at PaperbackSwap, but actually took the time to copy down the whole list (which appears as an appendix in the back of the book) because there are some great songs on there that I'd forgotten about. There's a few on there that, in my opinion, just don't fit and of course there's certain artists/groups on there that I just can't stand (Bruce Springsteen and John Mellencamp, for example). I'm not copying the list on here since oddly enough, the book is missing the usual copyright disclaimer in the front that lets you quote parts of it in the context of a review.

Looking through it again, I find myself wondering what exactly constitutes "the rock era," anyway? Does that end in the early '70s with all the singer/songwriter stuff? Does punk rock bring it back, since the Ramones and the Sex Pistols (among many others) played closer to the roots of rock with their covers of older songs? And while I still like some songs off the list (The Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams" and Tracy Chapman's "Give Me One Reason") I wouldn't consider those "rock songs," exactly. There's other songs listed that I'd consider to be folk or soul or blues, not rock and roll... and I'd be perfectly fine if I never heard "Unchained Melody" by the Righteous Brothers again the rest of my life.

More on this list later, once I've heard every song on there and have my own take on it.

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