I read an article this week about musical nostalgia, and the idea of re-buying back all the music of your youth.
The scenario the author described run something like this: you listen to that favorite Billy Idol record from the mid-to-late 80's while you're in high school or college until the grooves are almost worn out. You think Billy Idol rules; he's the total shit. Then you grow up a little, go away to college, start listening to indy college radio, and buy a Nirvana (or a Soundgarden) CD. Billy starts making it to your personal play list less and less, until at some point in the mid-90's the once beloved vinyl album sits on your shelf, gathering dust. That dust continues to gather, until you march down to the local record store, and sell your once prized album and trade it in for credit that gets you Re-Load by Metallica, or something. Fast forward 10 years, and you suddenly get an irresistable urge to connect with those high school years, and you march down to that same local record store to buy your Billy Idol collection over again.
Perhaps this is how other people do it, but this seems like utter crap to me. I never throw out or sell back music. Well, almost never. True, I did trade in my existing collection of original Atlantic released versions of the Led Zepplin catalog, but that was to buy the "Complete Studio Recordings" box set. I also gave away that Fat Boy Slim CD I got in the late 90's... but he really pissed me off. I mean, what kind of narcissist produces a song with the only lyrics "Fat Boy Slim is fucking in heaven" repeated a couple dozen times?
I find that this pack rat-like approach to music pays dividends as my CD collection ages. I am now reaching the point where some of my collection is no longer in print. It's not because the artists are bad -- the work was well-reviewed at the time and is still quite enjoyable. No, the reasons are different and many. The artists merely failed to achieve lasting fame. The label they recorded for either no longer exists or is now run by very different management. Members of the bands went on to greater fame in different bands or under different names. I speak of artists such as MC 900ft Jesus, Dan Baird (of Georgia Satellites), Treat Her Right (half of which became part of Morphine), and Raging Slab (who are still out there today). These are bands whose work I would have a more difficult time buying back these days, because the CDs involved weren't horribly common to begin with.
Of course, not everything I buy is something I listen to often. I don't think I've listened to "The Zen Kiss" by Shiela Chandra (because it was on Peter Gabriel's Realworld label) in a decade. Likewise, I haven't listened to that Mind Funk CD in a long time. I got Victoria William's "Musings Of A Creek Dipper" but could not get past her voice. Tanya Donnelly's "Lovesongs For Underdogs" never made a deep impression. I keep all of them though. More than once, I discovered that a CD that struck me poorly at the time of purchase sounds better months or years later. Wilco's "Summerteeth" falls into this category. I didn't get where the band was at that time, but I had a change of heart since then.
No, I don't sell back music. The music I buy is a constant and lasting connection to who I was and what I was doing at a particular point in my life. Selling off my CD collection would be like selling off part of my self.
But that's just me.
on 2006-01-21 at 7:21 p.m.
The Wayback Machine - To Infinity And Beyond