September 4, 2011

Spin The Gray Circle: Confessions of a CD Snob

(Originally published in my very first blog last March 26, 2007, 22:48 Philippine time.

It probably goes without saying that my CD-buying habits have not fully recovered since then.)

Sonic Youth, Rather Ripped, album cover
To put it safely, by most accounts I am very money-wise and frugal: traits I often take pride in. But if I had to have only ONE very costly, irrational and disappointingly deplorable vice, it would have to be buying CDs. (All ORIGINAL ALBUMS, mind you.)

It has come to the point that my family has grown seriously concerned, worried that an otherwise clearheaded person would willingly splurge (I prefer to think of it as “invest”) thousands of pesos on an otherwise pointless hobby. To make things even MORE drastic, practically ALL the music I personally listen to these days comes exclusively from CDs. I’m not kidding.

My “sole vice” exists in very ironic circumstances: that these days (especially right here at home) one could always opt for easier and CHEAPER ways to obtain music… Downloading songs online and tracking down in Plaza Fair home-burned CD-R copies you could literally buy by the dozen, to name a few. This isn’t the Nineties anymore, when CDs and tapes and cursory playlists on FM radio and MTV really were the be-all and end-all of music for the masses. Now, it seems you can really find EVERYTING for free online (that is, if you’re tech-savvy enough).

I personally hate being figuratively backed into a corner whenever I’m questioned about my “musical habits.” Yes, such a pastime would indicate not only material elitism, but sheer musical snobbishness. And yes, not only is it technologically backward (seeing as CDs are possibly already on the fast track to obsolescence, thanks to the Great Wide Web), but it is also the sort of counter-productive consumer behavior that keeps the big record companies ludicrously rich and the current music industry perpetually on the rocks.

So WHY do I refuse to wean myself from this aesthetically “nasty” habit, especially since I have a whole shipload of good reasons to? Well, to speak very honestly, I’m feeling kinda stumped about it myself. For me CD-buying is not just some pathologically maniacal obsession I am enslaved to. It is simply MY way of maintaining a very personal, intimate, somewhat holistic affair with an art form that has otherwise been permanently changed and spread wide open by digital globalization and quantity-over-quality megalomania.

Precisely because it has now gotten SO EASY to get gigabytes of aural pleasure online, some people now seem to get music online not because they want to, but simply because they can. This is just my opinion, but just clicking on an allegedly awesome song online just seems so antiseptic and impersonal compared to the concrete act of literally craning your neck, getting on your knees or breaking your back in search of some full musical document only Fate could bring your way, then later taking a chance and cradling it in your fingertips in some moment of surreal triumph.

In short, I hold on to my very costly, irrational and disappointingly deplorable vice… simply because I’m a damn romantic.

MY MOST RECENT ACQUISITION: Sonic Youth's 2006 album "Rather Ripped"

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