Confessions of a Pirate – Enjoying the Small Things

I’m veering a bit from my usual blog fare for a moment of appreciation for the arts and intellectual property. This is, however, a concept that I want to teach to my kids. (pirating is not)

This morning I did something that is becoming a new and improved habit in my life, I bought a CD. Yes, I know. . . For those who know me this is coming as a shock. But this last year I’ve been progressively setting aside my pirating ways in favor of a clearer conscience.

I’ve rediscovered something that had been lost in my life for a very long time. You may think me corny for saying this, but oh well.  I wanted to share it with you.

When was the last time that you sat down and listened to a CD all the way through?

Honest, sit there and ask yourself.

Most of us would say that we don’t have the time to do this. I normally would say the same.

Do you remember the days when you’d buy a tape or a record, and couldn’t wait to plug it in to your walkman on or set the needle down and listen to it, from start to finish? It was an adventure.

I don’t know why, but when I think about this concept I often think about the old grunge and alt-rock albums I bought in middle school. The first time that I clicked my fresh copy of Pearl Jam’s “VS” album in my walkman in the big back seat of my parents car I was just drifting away. The sounds were incredible.

It was the same with R.E.M., Nirvana, The Prayer Chain and so many others. These bands, though some aren’t much to my tastes these days, worked very hard on each and every song, ordering them in a way to take you on a journey and leave you with a message, a feeling, a thought.

An well written album is like performing “inception” on the listener. Any record worth listening to from start to finish has been made to share, teach, impart or give something to the listener.

This concept has been all but lost lately. I was talking to a friend of mine the other day about a little debate she had with her 17-year-old about how she only buys single songs off of iTunes and never hears the whole records.

99 cents for a song is an easy buy for an easy fix of a catchy tune.

My kids are all under 10, and they gravitate toward this too. They like a song that is playing as they prance through the room, and they ask for it to be played over and over and over. It’s a normal tendency.

But there’s another thing, for those of us to whom the likes of the “peer-to-peer” universe has infected. When we have access to everything, nearly everything ceases to be special.

Let me repeat that. . .

When we have access to everything, nearly everything ceases to be special or precious to us.

I have gone through phases where I had so much stinkin music on my computer that I’d never know what to listen to. I could download the entire catalog of any recording artist of any time.

But the magic is lost.

When I was 16 I was so in love with the album “Siamese Dream” by Smashing Pumpkins that I couldn’t wait for the follow up collection of out-takes and b-sides to come out. I skipped school to be the first one into the record store. Then, I went straight home and listened to it beginning to end, three or four times.

There was so much anticipation with each record, but with the age of file “sharing” this has become a lost delight. Most kids really don’t look forward to new cds. You click the download button, load your iPod and add it to the play list.

This morning I downloaded “Oh How the Mighty Have Fallen” by alt-rock legends, The Choir. They’re an amazing bunch of guys who write convicting and insightful masterpieces about life in Christ.

At lunch, I enjoyed every last note and lyric. I ingested the album. I loved it. It took me somewhere, and it was somewhere that I wanted to go. I felt, by the end, close to the band and their heart. I heard them… and I came back from my lunch ready to enjoy my friends, work. . . my life.

In a recent newsletter put out by a great guy named Jeff Goins, he quoted Stephen King saying that “Art is a support system for life, not the other way around.”

I love that God has given us music. I love that these recording artists put hundreds of hours of heart and soul into these recordings. I want to experience them with them. I want to utilize art in the way that it was made to be utilized; a support for life. It breeds new perspective, encouragement and reflection, it’s great.

This is one more area where our society is simply hell-bent on disposable consumption. We’re treating art, movies, music the same way we do fast food.

We all know what happens when we eat too fast. You get indigestion. Right?

I’m beginning to believe that it’s the same with life, the universe, and everything. . .

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