Thursday, July 26, 2012

This Year's Model

I made a dumb comment the other day about the overflowing quantity of Elvis Costello songs on my iPod (I can't give you a count right now but it's seriously huge and I don't even have every album. I went nuts at some point and downloaded or imported every album I could get my hands on), and how I feel, sometimes, when an Elvis song comes around on "shuffle" that I don't even want to listen to him because there are so many dang songs they can't all be good.

I was stupid.

I think the thing to do, though, in order to not get overwhelmed is that I have to listen to every album as a whole, in order. Remember when Metallica or whoever it was got all pissed off at iTunes because they felt that selling individual songs was somehow ruining the listener's experience or devaluing the album's artistic merit?

(Do I have that right? I pay so little attention to Metallica that I could've gotten their complaints about iTunes wrong, and I don't care enough about it to look it up. Or maybe they were just complaining about illegal downloads, which of course they have a right to oppose. I oppose illegal downloads. You listen, you pay.)

Anyway, I always thought that was a bullshit way to approach the issue, because clearly they were just pissed off about the amount of money they thought they would be losing from selling one song for 99 cents instead of a whole album for $14.99 (or whatever), and it's my opinion that if I only want one song from their album, I have the right as a consumer to buy that one song. 99 cents is better than nothing, dummies.

The funny thing is, I don't do that. If I hear one song from a band and I like it enough to go seek it out on iTunes, the way MY brain works is, the rest of the album must hold some other gems, right? (I'm naive, I know, and it's why I have a little collection of unlistened to except for one time albums by bands like OK Go and Muse and the Cranberries and Artic Monkeys [I don't know what I was thinking with that one; I can only please temporary insanity]...) But I guess Metallica figures the rest of the world wants to spend their 99 cents (if they even want to spend that much) and never find out about some other song so they can just buy "Enter Sandman." Whatever. But listen up, because I actually own two Metallica albums ("And Justice for All" and "Metallica") even though I think they're idiots and not all that interesting (I'd rather listen to Corrosion of Conformity. I only have one of their albums, though I think Patrick has more. The album I have, "Corrosion of Conformity," is so good, and yes, every song there is terrific), yet I still purchased those records because I think, from a pop culture standpoint, they have some value.

Not much, but some.

So anyway, what the fuck does this have to do with Elvis Costello?

I just listened to "This Year's Model" from 1978 and while I guess for most people in the world, it goes without saying, that is a hell of an album. Each song stands on it's own just fine, but as a whole, it's a wave of goodness from beginning to end that made the middle of my day incredibly fine. "Incredibly fine" sounds like faint praise, but I mean, fine, as in "of superior quality, skill or appearance." Elvis doesn't skimp on the quality.

Now I've moved on to "My Aim is True" and Elvis is making the time consuming, dull task that I set myself to much more enjoyable. Loving it. I only wish I was driving somewhere, because in motion is the way I really love to listen to music.

(I have a similar problem with David Byrne's solo albums... I love the man, but dude: prolific! Slow it down, buddy!)

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