come around sundown

When I’m alone in my room, sometime I stare at the wall, and in the back of my head I hear my conscience call. Not really, I was alone in my room surfing the internets on the iPad and I read about Kings of Leon dropping a new album.

There once was a time when one of my favorite bands–and the Kings would fit in that group–drop an album, I’d know about it months in advance. But I don’t get like that anymore, except for something major.

So I got out of bed, stepped outside, wake the laptop from sleep, and get on bit torrent. About 10 minutes later I have the new Kings of Leon album on my desktop.

That’s probably why I no longer care about release dates… with downloading, it’s too easy–and immediate–to get things. Earlier I had downloaded How I Met Your Mother the same way.

I remember back in the old days, this is how I’d anticipate an album from artists I like:

1: I’d hear the first single randomly on the radio. If the band/artist is already someone I like, I tend to recognize it’s their shit a few seconds in (I still remember hearing Blue Orchid for the first time and immediate saying “Jack White is back!” a few riffs in)

2: I’d get google info on the new single and check the release date.

3: Blog about the album days before release.

4: On the day of release I’d head over to a store to pick up the album (I wish I can say something hip like “I go to Amoeba Records to pick up the vinyl” but no, I go to Target or Best Buys and get the CD).

Of course, downloading has been around for over a decade now (from AOL chatrooms to napster to morpheus to bit torrent), but the immediacy–of both the availability and the download speed–has jumped drastically the past 3 years or so.

And with technology getting better and better, what’s next? We can just stream stuff immediately to our portable device, right?

This issue has been tackled millions of times before, but it’s true–the ease of access of music these days has affected how we judge music. Back then, I’d have to make an effort to buy the KOL album, and once I paid for it, I’m gonna sit in the car and admire the album cover, read the sleeves, and generally invest time and attention to the music. Now, click on the mp3 and listen to a few bars, don’t like it, fast forward.

We dismiss music easier.

So with that said, I’m pretty damn disappointed with the Kings new album, but is it because the music is inferior or because of what I just wrote above?



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