Thursday, July 30, 2009

WILATU #2 - CD's

This post was initially going to be about the first CD I ever bought. It still will be, don't worry. It occurred to me as I was thinking of a title that this actually counts as a list item. As Red pointed out to me, we haven't had one of those in a while.

When Compact Discs were first introduced in 1982 they were a thing of mystery and wonder. The silver shining plastic circle touted as being indestructible and was read with a laser beam. This was technologically mind blowing. People believed that if you traced the rim with a green marker it would improve the sound quality. That is the level of voodoo these things operated on. And they were enshrined in the excessive cardboard packaging known as "the long box" because this was a luxury item and required sacrifices of dead trees to convey the level of status one was granted for making such an extravagant purchase.

The first such indulgent purchase I made was Sire Record's 1987 promotional sampler "Just Say Yes". I remember flipping through the Audio Log (a giant phone book of recordings that served as a pre-digital reference of all the music you didn't yet own located somewhere near the counter at the "record store" which was an establishment that sold physical formats of music such as LP's, cassettes, and these new-fangled CD's) and seeing The Smiths listed on an album I had not as yet purchase. This album also had songs by The Ocean Blue and Echo & the Bunnymen. It became clear to me almost instantly that I must own this album.

The fact that it was only available on CD and I did not own a CD player seemed like a minor obstacle. So I cut my brother off from mooching off my summer lifeguard money to fund his heterosexuality habit (i.e. I paid for 25 to 30% of the dates he and his high school girlfriend went on being that such habits are costly endeavors,) and saved up enough money to procure my copy. I was then able to track down a poor sap who not only had access to one of the costly players, but one that was conveniently hooked up to a tape deck. He brought me a dubbed copy of my own album in order to try to gain my favor in attempt to join my fictitious rock band (see question 5 of this post.) I was able to finally listen to the contents instead of just staring at the rainbow prisms that bounced of the mirrored playing surface and wondering.

That previously unknown Smiths' track was and still is arguably the worst song they ever recorded. Not even worthy of a B Side. But the rest of the album kicked ass. And that Christmas my parent's bought me a portable disc player. I think it was a Magnavox. It was a little smaller than my Nintendo Wii is now and took about 12 AA batteries to power. It was portable in the sense that there was a strap you could use to wear it around your neck like Dr. Theopolis. And I played that thing dead. I used to have to stand it on it's side to get it to work at the end.

My stack of CD's grew quickly and mightily. There is some unwritten rule that you have to buy CD's in twos. I consume CD's. I suck the souls out of them and then delicately place them back pointing 12 o'clock in their jewel case in their proper slot in the collection organized by genre, importance of the artist within that genre, and then release date. My name is Evil Genius, and I am a discaholic. I would be there for "double punch Tuesdays" to get the new releases and earn points toward new tapes and CD's. I joined various cult-like organizations to expand the collection and feed my habit. I have spent countless hours ripping and burning illegal copies and soul-bearing mixes. I have riffled through the wastelands of used record stores looking for my illusive prizes. I have even sold a few back before I realized the folly of that practice.

Sure, I have finally broken down and bought a Walkman MP3 player. I like it. It is useful. But it will not replace my precious discs. There are some albums I only "own" as MP3 files. I have burned them onto CD's. Just in case, you know.

And I most certainly do still have that first one. Do you remember your first?

10 comments:

GETkristiLOVE said...

I am the anti-discaholic. I burned everything into iTunes and ebay'ed my discs. Mainly, because they just started making them so cheap - they break so easily and often, no lyrics or little goodies to cherish. If more bands made each disc a work of art, then they would sell more CDs.

Funny, I remember my first Album as Alice Cooper's Go To Hell and my first cassette as Tom Petty's Damn the Torpedos, but I don't remember my first CD.

SkylersDad said...

First CD for me was U2 Joshua Tree.

red said...

I don't remember my first CD, but I know the first record (like, for real record) I actually bought myself was Everything by The Bangles. "Eternal Flame" is still amazing.

Flannery Alden said...

My first CD: The Temptations Greatest Hits.

Boldly Serving Up Wheat Grass said...

1st CD: Heaven or Las Vegas, Cocteau Twins

Anonymous said...

dreamtime by the cult. made even more special by the fact that it was an import, and cost like $20!!! like you, i had a friend put it on a tape so i could listen to it, as i had yet to purchase my first CD player. good times.

Red said...

My first CD was _Suzy Bogguss's Greatest Hits_ in 1994. (December, no less.) I'm a late adopter.

We listened to _Just Say Yes_ on a road trip this weekend. I dig it. The Smiths' song isn't really that bad, it's just very generic. It could be by almost any band of that era. The liner notes don't tell you, but it sounds to me like it was clearly produced by someone outside the band.

Suze said...

I don't remember my first CD, but I have a closet full of albums. So what...I'm old!

Evil Genius said...

Suze, WILATU#52 is vinyl. I just haven't gotten to it yet.

Pezda's Ghost said...

Genesis - Genesis