Saturday, October 23, 2021

#2 Chemtrails Over The Country Club - Lana Del Rey

I've written about this one before. More than once. Although now I revisit those posts none of them seem to be just about the album or even just about the artist. Mostly they seem to be about me, being clever. Here we go, again.

Looking back at old music posts on this blog I worry how many grey slates there are. "This video is unavailable." All of them say that, the grey ones. It makes the world feel fragile. You can't count on anything to stay.

Maybe that's why vinyl's making a comeback. I don't count that a good thing, by the way. I'd hate to be mistaken there. 

I was so happy when vinyl went away. I never liked it. I had to have it but I never liked it. 

Downstairs from where I sit typing this I have over a thousand vinyl albums. Almost as many vinyl singles, although no-one ever says "vinyl singles", do they? It's assumed.

It might be more. It's been a while since I counted. (Yes, I did, in fact, count them all. More than once.) It must be ten years at least since I last played any of them. More like twenty, probably.

 I dearly hoped I'd never play any of them ever again. I could have. I could, still. We have the means even now.

There used to be three full sound systems in this house, all with decks. And I mean after the kids moved out. I guess when they were all here there must have been six. Everyone had to have their own. Some of us had two.

Last year during lockdown I got rid of one of them. Still have one left. Now I'm almost wishing I hadn't. Got rid of the other, I mean. Who knows? I might need it. There's security in redundancy.

Only this week I nearly looked at some old records in a shop. Vinyl records. There have been weak moments when I've even considered buying something new. New vinyl exists. Once you know that it's hard to unknow it.

Do you know, there are some new records, records by young people, that only exist on vinyl? It's wrong but it's true. I wish I could tell you I'd made it up but I haven't. Young people like vinyl. Some of them, anyway. Don't you love it when we generalize? Saying it makes it true, you know.

Old people, do you know what old people like? CDs. Compact Discs that were going to be the shiny, indestructable future when I was just out of college. Up until then it was all vinyl vinyl vinyl but once I got my hands on those fragments of the future I was done with all that. 

No-one likes CDs. It's common knowledge. Everyone says so. Of all the formats they're the one no-one cares about. Okay, mini-disc, although I knew someone who was wild for it, once. Then, I knew someone who wouldn't listen to anything but 8-track casette. He had a player put in his car specially. There's always someone.

I like CDs, still. Of the twenty-five albums on this list I own twenty-four of them on CD. It would be twenty-five if the Papertiger Sound were more popular. Or at all. Of course, I don't listen to any of them. Only in the car and then only rarely. Even in the car I mostly either listen to podcasts if I'm on my own or talk if I'm with someone.

I listen to music in my head like everyone else. The sound of music coming out of a big speaker is like the bellowing of dinosaurs. I miss it a lot. Not the dinosaurs although that was implied.

Sometimes I will play an album through the speakers on this PC I'm sitting at. They aren't bad for small speakers. The sound isn't bad for computer sound. It's different, though. I think it might be less although it's been so long I can't remember. It has to be less, doesn't it, or why would they make them bigger? Maybe that's not how it works. I'm no engineer.

It occured to me the other day to put a record on and play it out loud. I didn't, though. We have neighbors. Did I ever think of that, then? Not really. I wonder why I do now. If I had, would it have been a CD? I don't imagine so. I imagine it would have been that vinyl. 

That, again. I don't like it but it's inevitable.

The CDs are insurance, really. Nothing more than that. I have the files backed up in various places but I remember those videos. Greyed and gone. There are some things you never want to lose.

This album is one of those things. Chemtrails Over the Country Club with its mildly controversial cover and its classical monochrome style and its hard, plastic case with the sharp corners that can cut. I have every hope it will stay with me always. Always be there, when I want to hear it. When I need it.

I will always want it.

I will always need it.

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