Sunday, August 26, 2012

Visiting that music world...taking that music trip

There are countless bands I like and enjoy their music. End of story.

However, there are a few bands out there, that when they put out a new release, I will live, eat, and BREATHE that new album. My enjoyment of the album goes beyond the music, although that is where it definitely starts. No, when these particular bands put out a new album, the act of buying and listening to it becomes a completely different experience than simply jamming out to some killer metal (although I am not opposed to that by any means!).

A few examples from my high school years include Sepultura - Arise, Metallica - ...And Justice For All, Megadeth - Rust in Peace, Danzig - both Self Titled and Lucifuge, D.R.I. - 4 of a Kind, Suicidal Tendencies - How Will I Laugh Tomorrow..., and Slayer - South of Heaven among many others.

Each of these albums were essentially little worlds for me to enter into and visit for a while. Each had a very specific feeling to them, and to absorb the full atmosphere of an album, everything about it had to be eaten visually as well as audibly.

For those who still buy CDs (and vinyl!), you know how it is after purchasing a new album which you have been lusting over ever since the record company issued out the release date. You get it home and go into your designated music area where you can be alone, just you and your new album. Off comes the plastic wrap, and on through the gauntlet of removing the security tape that lines the top and bottom of the secured jewel case. All the while you can almost TASTE the music.

Once you finally open the case and pop out the CD (which always feels like it's going to break in half the first time you pry it out), the music trip can begin. The CD goes into the stereo and out comes the CD booklet - an essential flavor of the music-buying banquet.

As the music plays in the background, the album cover become eye candy to be thoroughly studied over and over again, and eventually becoming one with the sounds pounding out of the stereo. The lyric sheet is poured over to memorize phrases as if they had been specifically written for the listener. At times we as fans would even find a way to relate certain lyrics to what is going on in our lives, helping us gain strength, cope, or enjoy what was happening at that exact moment in life as we listen to something that means so much to us.

I love that a particular album can set out to tell us fans a story with a combination of music and printed art and words. It causes a connection that is welcoming and eventually nostalgic, but always powerful.

Yes, now I am older and sadly have less time to connect with newer albums the way I did back in high school, but I still find those gems in the new wave of thrash that mesmerizes me just as much as the classic bands from 20-plus years ago.

Bands such as Tantara, Bio-Cancer, Municipal Waste, 4ARM, Dr. Living Dead, Violentor, Insinnerator, Essence, and many more grab me by the neck and drag me into that special place where it's just me, the sounds, and the freakin' CD booklet. For me, one of their albums becomes a world that I can visit for one hell of an involved music trip.

To quote my buddy at Gogmagogical: "because music is...tremendous!"


  1. Yee-ha! You're tapping into an experience here that I worry my own kids may miss. This is something that the decline in physical format affects and, loving the digital song as much as I do, its ultra-portability and the ease of accessing the individual track lend to albums as fragments and music as background noise for other activities. Go to the record store. Go out of the way to get there. Buy a new album. Go home and dedicate some time for the trip. In my experience this all works even better if done while laying on the floor between the speakers. You're right on here. Wonderful post.

  2. Thanks for the post. The digital format also has another flaw: cherry picking songs. I see an album as a story, front to back, first song to last. Cherry picking songs blows it all out of context, killing the "music trip".

  3. I agree with all that was written, I am a CD obsessive and part of the experience is the unwrapping, taking out the booklet for the first time, the first listen etc. Hence I have 5000+ CDs and counting....much to my wifes chagrin!

  4. Peter - Impressive amount of CDs you have! When my wife asks me, "Don't you have enough CDs?", I always say, "There's no such thing."

  5. Man, this is great stuff.

    This last weekend, gettin ready to sell the house, father in law asks me, you don't listen to all these cd's? You couldn't possibly listen to them all, what are you going to do with them? Basically telling me to get rid of them, not worth the storage space. T'd me off a bit.

    I love digital, but something about the physical is unatainable with digital. Ok, this is going to sound strange, I loved the smell of a new insert in a cassette tape, or insert in a cd tray. It was all part of the experience. It was a blast to go to the record store, and browse the music. More than half the time, I would pick an album out soley based on the cover art. It did burn me a few times. It's near impossible to buy an album now a days without being able to hear it first.

  6. Jaason - Yeah, the days of buying an album strictly by the cover art is pretty much gone. I got burned a few times in the past doing that as well, but it's the thrill of the hunt, you know? When you find a gem, it's YOUR discovery (and then you hammer it over your friends' heads).


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