Wednesday, September 09, 2015

For Historical Purposes

Was scrolling through the music on my iPod today, thinking about that funny line by Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation when marveling at how such a small portable device can hold thousands of tunes.

“The songs just play one after another. This is an excellent rectangle!”

I found myself searching a little longer than usual for something to play, experiencing something I imagine a lot of others carrying around rectangles sometimes do. Among this large catalogue of .mp3s -- distilled from decades’ worth of cassettes, LPs, CDs, and music more recently acquired in various formats, all more or less representing my personal preferences -- nothing was really standing out as an attractive choice.

As I was scrolling, I realized there were a few titles in there I am essentially never inclined to click. Why are those titles on there? At some point along the way, I must have deemed them worth having, but after years of passing them over I still am hanging on to them like some sort of digital hoarder.

I enjoy reading reviews of music. I’ve even tried to write a few myself over on a blog that one day I’ll start contributing to more often.

On many occasions have found leafing through old record guides or poring over another “top 100” (or “top 500” or top “1,000”) list online an enjoyable pastime. I realize that a few of the titles on my rectangle turned up there after I had been convinced by someone arguing for their historical importance. Some I took to, others I didn’t, but all remain on there undeleted as yet.

I suppose with any category dealing with that which cannot be quantified like the “best” albums ever made -- or the best poker players, for that matter, as we were talking about yesterday with the new Poker Hall of Fame nominees -- even the “consensus” constituting what a majority of those making subjective judgments have determined is going to be hit-or-miss for the individual.

The real reason why I keep those titles on the rectangle is that I want to remain open to the possibility of learning something new -- namely, what it was that made others like this or that record so dadgum much. Kind of like the way certain books stubbornly remain on my bookshelf that I’ve always meant to read but never quite got around to doing so.

One day I’ll get to them. For now, though, they sit there like so many rectangles. All excellent, or so I’ve been told.

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