In my lifetime I must have owned more than thirty different Sony Walkmans. Just cleaning my basement last month, I found my collection of over three hundred cassettes. Like most teenagers, I lived music. From 80’s style pop music, to Chicago House dance music, to heavy metal guitar bands, I listened to it all. But as you get older, music becomes less important in your life, and you just do not have the time to sit back and lose yourself as much. Sure I have an iPod, but it somehow isn’t the same. On some weekends, I drive the pickup truck, which still has a tape deck (haven’t had the time to make a new car stereo a priority), and usually listen to an old mix tape.
Of late I have started to buy music again. The Lynyrd Skynyrd’s All Time Greatest Hits is a good collection of southern rock hits to listen to while driving. Last week I picked up The Very Best of Kiss, which I haven’t yet listened to, and I’m still not sure why exactly I got my first KISS album, other than I watch a lot of Family Guy and Halloween and KISS, kind of go together. Regardless, one big reason I bought these albums, was the $9.99 sale price. Most newer music releases nowadays are overpriced (not to mention over-hyped) and simply not worth buying. Online downloads have only made it worse, because they have made the album worthless, if you can get only the two or three singles you want at a fraction, why even bother with the CD? The Register has an interesting interview with music insider Petter Jenner in which he implicates the record industry of destroying their own retail CD sales:
The record companies have increased their margin on downloads, because the costs have been ripped out. So they’ve cut the artists royalties and raised their margin. But because they’ve replaced an album with a single they’ve helped destroy the retail industry, they’re now in a position where they’re completely fucked.
As for decent rock music, I’d have to say that Pearl Jam and U2 are the definitive rock bands. They have outlasted the critics and their peers, and while I’m a bit skeptical of U2’s recent work, Pearl Jam is as solid as AC/DC.