In Analogue Times songs would not have gone amiss. One had to pay for music which limited consumption. In my teens I owned around 20 albums, four of which I listened to intensely: West Side Story, Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (not the Beatles’s album but the one with the Bee Gees and Peter Frampton), Earth Wind and Fire’s Raise and Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall.
A starvation diet of music meant one had to be resourceful and forage for songs to feed the hungry soul. I recorded (on cassette) anything BFBS (British Forces Broadcasting Service) or RTHK Radio 3 spat out. When I was 14 my best friend, a music junkie, gave me two cassettes of rare funk taped off a London radio station. I cherished those cassettes and listened to them over and over until I lost them moving house. I still pine for those songs.
From the age of 12 to 19 (I got a job at 19 and bought more music) that was all I had. I lived and breathed those songs - I could predict each and every note. To eek out the listening experience I used to focus on individual instruments. I’d isolate the drums and let the other instruments fade into the background. I could then hear three pieces of music in one – bargain.
I’m not complaining. I don’t miss my starvation diet from the Analogue Times. I’m driven by a pathological desire to seek out any and all kinds of music so I’m happy to never have to scavenge for songs again. The Digital Times have allowed me to indulge my habit - I can gorge and cram to satisfy my cravings. I might miss a song or an album once in a while but iTunes will eventually kick it back to the top of the playlist. Digital versus analogue? I think I'm cool with digital.