Because of digital downloads, streaming and cloud storage, music experts have declared the death of the music CD.
Yeah, well, these same music experts say that Elvis Presley and Tupac Shakur are dead, but there’s tons of evidence on the internet that Elvis and Tupac both faked their own deaths and are now living under new names and in hiding — possibly together — some say in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. (If “The King” and “Thug Angel” are alive and sharing a house somewhere, maybe in my neighbourhood, imagine the musical jam-sessions they might be having!)
Anyway, compact disks are supposedly on their way out and, supposedly, we’ll all soon be listening to music through mandatory brain-reading Google Contact-Lenses. To hear a song in the future, just think about it and it’ll immediately start playing in your brain. If you want to do karaoke in the future, just think to yourself something like, “‘All Summer Long’ by Kid Rock [clean version]” and the vocals-free song will blast in your cerebellum, along with a hologram of lyrics scrolling in front of your eyes. You’ll be able to do karaoke any time, any place; on the bus, for example, or while making love. Nobody else will be able to hear the background music or see the hologram lyrics; no, they’ll just hear your voice as you wail enthusiastically. Cool? No — sounds like a nightmare! Most people sing worse than wounded bobcats! I have nightmares of idiots with terrible voices wandering all over the place, mangling hit songs a capella.
These days, the most popular way to listen to music is through downloaded files, played on an iPod or something. I used to have an iPod but got rid of it. I work long hours at a computer screen and when I’m relaxing with tunes, the last thing I want to see is another computer screen. Plus, the “random shuffle” feature annoyed me — it didn’t seem really random. I kept hearing certain songs in certain patterns — Johnny Cash’s “Hurt,” followed by Tegan & Sara’s “Closer,” followed by The Arkells’s “Ti-Cats Are Hummin’,” for example — and wondered: Coincidence? Or does my device think it’s a DJ now?
You never get that kind of spookiness with a CD player. Open the flippy-thing, put a CD in, close the flippy-thing, press play. Ah, the simplicity. The sound is great (though not as great as vinyl, apparently) and I can play whatever song I want (unless I don’t have it on CD) and, unlike with on-line streaming, I don’t have to deal with any annoying advertisements (though I do, however, still have to endure the “skits” between songs on rap albums.)
One drawback to CDs, I will admit, is how they can skip. Skips can be caused by scratches in the plastic, so it is inadvisable to use compact disks for anything other than their intended purpose, storing music — not being a beer-coaster or a rearview mirror ornament or a ninja-style throwing toy, okay?
Another cause of skipping is smears on the disk surface. The solution to this is to not touch the bottom of the CD with your bare hands and, if you do get a fingerprint on a CD, wipe it off side-to-side with a silk cloth and some cleansing spray. This is an effective anti-fingerprint method, approved both by fans of CD recordings and smarter-than-average criminals at crime scenes.
CDs are not perfect, I admit. But I still like the feel and sound of flipping through my CD folder, hearing the thunk of each heavy page falling, to reveal another glittering hoard of shiny plastic-coated circles. I like putting a finger in the hole of a CD and spinning it. I like how light reflects off a CD in a rainbow of warm, crayon-like colours. I like how you can spill anything on a CD — even the blood of a sacrificed goat — and, after you wipe it off, it works just fine! (The CD, I mean, not the goat.) I like making a mix and writing things on the disk with a Sharpie, like “Funky Pan-Flute Mix 2013” or “More Songs About That Thing We Don’t Discuss” or “The I Hope Listening To My Tasteful Mix Makes You Think Of Me As A Potential Romantic Partner Mix.”
So please, CDs, don’t disappear from stores. Some of us still need you, despite the sneers that we’re old-fashioned and afraid of change. If loving you is wrong, CDs, I don’t want to be right.
In conclusion, I suggest that some A-list musicians get together and make a benefit CD full of heartfelt songs about CDs. CD stores (the few that still survive) could sell copies of this CD about CDs, all profits going to convince the music industry to not kill off CDs. Wouldn’t a CD like that be great? If it ever gets made, I’ll definitely take it out of the library and make bootleg copies for myself and all my friends.