iTunes LPs are spectacularly cool - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #162

(Or:- why you and your entire family deserve to die in nuclear Armageddon for being wrinkly out-of-touch old scrotes).

The future is getting better, honestly. Don’t think that nostalgia and email hating is all I’m about (I also like the Wire). I just downloaded Bobby Dylan’s latest, the Tempest at long last. I trumped for the iTunes LP because I was tired and broken, thinking it was just some MP3s and a soulless dickless little JPEG. When I got down to it, however, I discovered an anomalous button hovering around which read “Play iTunes LP”. As Duquesne Whistle got going I was treated to a full screen album cover (big as a 12”) and a little bit of interactive liner notes to play with. Lemme tell you it’s just as fucking good as LP, or CD, or hearing the fucker live (okay, let’s not go crazy) and now I’m going to tell you why.

“But LPs are better Steve, the vinyl, it just sounds… warm” I hear you sputter in that unlovely way of yours through rose-tinted aviators which roughly approximate semi-transparent pink manhole covers. “I don’t listen to anything except vinyl because I’m a true fan” I hear a small cadre of hardened idiots murmur towards the back. Let me tell you, if you truly loved music, you wouldn’t care in what format you absorbed it. I’ve listened to the greatest songs on earth played through terrible speakers, and you know what? They were still bloody brilliant! And I’ve heard Justin Bieber’s latest interchangeable androgynous overproduced futility through a spectacularly good soundsystem, and d’ya know what kiddoes? It still made me get down on my knees and genuinely pray for a nuclear holocaust. I adore MP3, not because the sound is better, it probably isn’t. Years of hanging around in Edinburgh’s dungeons have ruined my hearing so comprehensively I now need soft reassurances barked into my ear like a drill sergeant just to make sense of the world. I love MP3 because I can take my entire record collection to a party. If it was all LP I’d need a van to do that. I can interact with my music in ways previous generations could never imagine. I can knock together a playlist in seconds, listen to all of Bardo Pond’s discography (if I’ve got a spare weekend), find all songs with titles containing the word ‘fuck’, delete Changes from Volume 4 because everybody makes mistakes. I can stop halfway through Dylan and pop on Cannibal Corpse for a few intense seconds before dropping into one of the finer Man’s Gin cuts. I can get totally narnared, put on a record, and not have to get up for 51 days. For all this I’ve sacrificed only a few things. Sure album artwork has tumbled into a big bin full of bums, and this is where iTunes LPs come into things…

I was young when I left home.
Now I loathe iTunes. The only other way of shafting up-and-coming bands more entirely is to ensure every third bottle of Becks thrown at a stage is highly explosive, or introduce electrical feedback strings so that rock music is genuinely painful to play. But I gotta say, the full-screen Tempest artwork, cool interactive liner notes and connections and stuff all well-presented and beautifully laid out, combining our real-time internet interactivity and fun with Bobby’s best album in years, and the oldee worldee gatefold album artwork we all fell in love with. Of course most of these will be terrible, but a lot of the old 12” albums were so embarrassing I had to ditch them lest someone go through my collection and find those awful Sepultura cuts.

To journey far back a few hundred pointless words ago, the world is getting better, honestly. People are loathe to complain about the past but it was rubbish. Black people couldn’t use the same fountains as us white folks, women had even less rights than they have today. The cars were slow, the beer was rubbish, children had to work down the mines, probably; Saddam was still in power and Neil Young’s superb Dead Man wasn’t even out yet. The past was rubbish. Sure we have fat people and smoggy cities and a plabby twat in North Korea threatening to launch big compensatory erections our way, sure the economy has shafted us all so comprehensively we’re going to have to eat cat food out of the gutter. But things are great. Sure food is shit, but compared to shit food for people with no money that went before it’s great. Sure iTunes is shallow and the songs are chopped to bits, but hey. Can’t you hear that Duquesne whistle blowing?

Full review of Dylan by our special correspondent Adam available here. Would you kindly?

Written under dissertation stress by Steven.

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