The Magic of CDs

Simple Equation: Cars + iPods or iPhones ≠ Good Times

A few months ago, my iPod was stolen from my vehicle but not because I left my truck door unlocked but because some asshole went up to my truck, smashed my window dug around and got himself a used 60 gb black iPod that my sister bought for me just before I left for Los Angeles back in 2006. It also had 55 gigs of amazing music and television... Battlestar Galatica television to be specific.

It was a pretty sad day.

I luckily had an iPhone too that doubles as an iPod. So, without much delay, I was still able to listen to music in my car. You see, after buying an iPod, there wasn't much use for CDs - I had my entire music library at my fingertips.

Before, with CDs, I only had like 10 or so albums at a time.

The only drawback now, was that my iPhone is only 4 gb. Barely enough to hold 30 or so albums. My collection is around 800 now. (and building). So, having to decide on albums again, after almost 3 years, was sort of difficult.

I couldn't just shuffle randomly through my entire library or be at the whim of my brain and whatever song that may have popped in my head. I had to plan ahead. Think about what I wanted to listen to over the next few weeks.

I've gotten a bit spoiled. I've gotten used to being able to want to hear something and just with a turn of the iPod's wheel, a few clicks - have it, full blast in my truck. Now, I have to wait to get home, sync it to my iPhone and wait until the next time I am driving somewhere to listen to it.

By this time, I'm usually not into the song anymore.

The other drawback has been that it's my phone as well. So, if I get a call, the music stops. I have to pull it up, unplug it, then after the call, plug it back in and start the music again. Sort of a hassle when you're driving in LA traffic.

I started then, to listen to CDs.

And the joy. The magic of a single album, fully in my control - came back. I realized how the limited nature of just a select few albums creates a more focused and - energetic creative thinking. I'm no longer thinking about what song I want to hear next but the song that I'm listening to now. I tend to just let CDs go. Let the album play.

And best of all. I turn off the car. Get out. Do my thing. Get back in, turn the key - and the album takes off where I left it. As if the magic in my truck. The thoughts, the memories, the journey I have been taken was temporarily halted and is now - resumed.

There is no plugging in, no thinking, no shifting through applications and flipping through albums and songs to find the right music. It's just there.

Its simplicity and limited nature is refreshing. In a way, I didn't remember. I've lost these things in the past few years. And, consequently, I feel a joy of writing again. For most of my ideas come either early in the morning or on my drive to work - listening to a great album.

Today was Vampire Weekend.

And it was a great drive.