Tuesday, April 30, 2013

On Quaffing the Kool-Aid

OK, for years I resisted getting an iPod and having anything to do with iTunes. I spent those years struggling with Creative Labs products and Rhapsody -- both quite possibly the buggiest and most frustrating media by which to obtain and play mp3s. If I knew then what I know now...

Enter the iPhone, last October. I finally caved in and upgraded my stupid phone to an older model smart phone. I hated it for about a week, and after that -- how did I live without it?

First quaffing of the Kool-Aid.

Then I discovered the phone had a built-in iPod, and decided to give it a whirl, mainly because I could not seem to get ANY new content on to my Creative Zen anymore unless it was a direct burn from a physical CD. I downloaded iTunes, expecting all sorts of trouble with learning curves and buggy programs.

What I could not do at all via Rhapsody and Creative happened in a matter of error-free minutes via iTunes.

Another helping of Kool-Aid, anyone?

I have not looked back, and rather than burn up phone battery, I purchased a reconditioned 16 GB iPod Nano IV. Easy as pie! And iTunes has all my beloved old Beatles albums available, albeit in British format, so I will have to create my own Meet the Beatles, Beatles Second Album, Something New, and Beatles VI playlists. No biggie. I found the original tracklists. Now all I have to do is set down and create the lists on my player.

Having downloaded all this early Beatles material prompted iTunes to offer a list of "you might also like" suggestions. One of these was a band I had nearly forgotten, The Move.

Backtracking a bit, in high school I was a big ELO fan. It's what this classical musician opted for to convince the parental units that I wasn't into ordinary, noisy rock 'n roll. I was into classy stuff. ELO. Prog Rock of various types. The Moody Blues. Renaissance. Emerson, Lake, & Palmer.

Sadly, I failed to convince them. If it was music, and the sound was coming from my room, it was shit, plain and simple. I might just as well have been cranking, say, The Sex Pistols. No matter what, if Paula liked it, it was worthy of derision. Interestingly enough, this also encompassed Glenn Miller, and my father was a fan of that sort of music! I was flabbergasted the day he hollered at me to "turn that Goddamn noise down," and it was a Miller album! I guess no one ever paid attention to exactly what the music was. All it had to do was be faintly melodic and audible through my closed bedroom door.

Also, my mother hated music and had no use for it, but that's another gripe for another day.

I do not understand people who have no use for music. It truly boggles my mind. But I digress.

Back to ELO.

Being the good music geek I always was, I was curious about the band's roots. Where had they begun? And I had that very exciting first ELO album, "No Answer." It was primitive. It was raucous. Roy Wood, God bless him, made a valuable document of how NEVER to play most musical instruments known to man. But I was a bassoonist, and here was a record with bassoon used on a couple of tracks! And oboe! And cello! And the range of musical styles was mind-boggling. I loved it, and it remains one of my favorite albums of all time.

Before this came a band called The Move. I found a greatest hits compilation from their early years at Mr. Lofgren's store in Cranston, RI. Lofgren's was a very cool place, which sadly burned down a number of years back. Mr. Lofgren, who was VERY old at the time, died from smoke inhalation. He really loved music and knew it inside-out. Losing him and the shop was a great tragedy for local music lovers.

Later, the same year I found my Move compilation, my friend Jorie found a newer one called "Split Ends." There were some fascinatingly experimental tracks on that album. "Words of Aaron." "It Wasn't My Idea to Dance." "No Time."

Back to present day -- this very morning, in fact -- iTunes suggested I might like to download The Move's "Message from the Country." The three songs mentioned above were on it, along with a bunch of other stuff, including the original version of ELO's song, "Do Ya."

Twist my arm, iTunes. But they didn't have  to twist very hard, or very long, and this afternoon at work, I played the album twice in a row. What a FUN record, and every bit as exciting as that first ELO album.

Jeff Lynne's "No Time," in particular, proved especially moving. Sad. Poignant. Below is a You Tube link to the audio. No moving images (no pun intended), just a shot of the album cover. But the music is what matters. Check this one out, and see if it resonates with you, too.

I have decided that quaffing the Kool-Aid was not a bad thing at all. Oh, the places I'll go....musically speaking!

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