Thursday, 17 September 2009


So wikipedia tells me the humble CD has been filling up shops since 1982. The first album available in this format being Billy Joel's 52nd Street, I've never heard of this so chances are it could have been a generation defining classic. By the time I was seven or eight I had taken an interest in the Brit-Pop explosion, the usual candidates of Blur, Oasis and Cast. Obvious my first tentative steps into music were fairly mainstream but probably just about the right side of the tracks musically, I managed to miss out on the pre-S Club 7 pop mammoths of.. I'm not actually sure. Whoever those acts making their own equally tentative steps towards the pre-pubescent masses were, they certainly didn't pack much staying power and ultimately a short lived career in the spotlight and a slot on Top Of The Pops was the dream. I thank all available gods each day that I never fell for the charms of the UK-garage scene. Year 2000, Craig David and Dane Bowers, the year of temptation.

Fast forward to now, the naughties, with all the new advances in music and technology it seems that we're almost leaving the CD behind. I last bought a CD as a present, what good is it giving someone a downloaded album on a CD-R for a quid or two less? The one before that I bought as it was impossible to download (legitimately or illegally). That's almost the norm now, buy it physically if you can't find it anywhere else. Looking through my now dated rack of purchases over the last five or so years there are still some real gems in there. I've got a hurriedly signed Neon Handshake by Hell Is For Heroes, Interpol's wonderful Turn On The Bright Lights and Weezer's classic Blue and Green albums. It seems every time I log into Spotify or check out a band on Myspace that the age of the CD is ending faster still.

The difference between the early days, Oasis' fine performance in What's The Story.. is matched by a case and booklet that just as much time could have gone into. That's what made buying a CD special, it sounds like I should be saying this about buying vinyl but sadly that age definitely passed me by. It was more than just the obligatory physical release that it is now, it was the whole product. Maybe I'm ten or fifteen years too young, I think I belong in the generation of the CD. I remember with fairly little fondness the cassette tape, maybe recording awful songs from the radio is the one art to have been lost but it certainly seems a little too old school now. A little too VHS. The coveted purchase of high technology, new music on a disc, incredible. So as the mp3 becomes king, music that weighs next to nothing, the old days of the Walkman, AA batteries and 20 second anti-shock start to gather dust like my old discs.

In an age where the environment is one of the first considerations, it seems to add up, where is the sense is expending recourses to make discs and cases that sit on a shelf for years and are never used again. Then finally with a heavy heart they're thrown out in the garbage, whether it was a classic or not the case and disc are full of memories. When I look at some of the rubbish that sits alongside those albums I love, it really makes some sense. Hawthorne Heights? What a waste.

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