Ode to an iPod

By Tony Martin

I woke up late to class today, and had to run to catch my bus. I left my iPod at home in my haste, and felt naked without it.

I swore to myself that I was never going to be one of those people who keeps an MP3 player on himself at all times, yet the silence was bothersome. I love listening to nothing. Sometimes it keeps me grounded and aware of my surroundings. On the other hand, here I am, about to wax poetic about my iPod.

I had to remove some music from my iPod today because I was putting new music on it. Having this technology has drastically changed my life. I can go anywhere with about one-third of my music library in my pocket. Since I am an old-timer, I have much more experience with physical formats, but the iPod conquers all. I love the authentic sound of vinyl and the artwork that comes with a CD, but there is no substitute for having a digital archive at my fingertips no matter where I am.

Local bands send me their music all the time to review, so I’ll listen to the new Light Pollution record on my way to class, and the Hasta Lumbago demos on the bus ride home. When I’m at work washing dishes, its usually ‘80s Metallica. Classical suites for when I study, hip hop for when I drive and some sort of punk for most other times.

Have you ever heard of the Thermals? I didn’t until yesterday, when I heard a song of theirs online, went to iTunes and bought the record. This morning when I walked to class, I listened to most of their newest album. I didn’t make a trip to the record store, I didn’t have to get a recommendation to check them out, and most importantly, I can listen to them at my leisure. I can sneak in a song or two if I have to. No huge Discman, Walkman or record player.

Its beautiful, really. My roommate complains about the “death of the album” caused by the expansive selection of an MP3 player. I disagree. Having hundreds of albums on one small machine allows me to go from national acts to local bands to anything I decide I want to listen to. I suggest everyone try the following: find a band you have never heard of, obtain their music (legally, of course), and listen to it from start to finish.Then, tell me about it! Who were they? Where did you hear of them? Where did you listen to the record? Did you like it?

The point of this exercise is twofold: discovering new music and appreciating your MP3 player. We neglect the simple joy of having everything at our fingertips. So, actively appreciate it. I can’t wait to hear what you have to say.