Don't Cry For Me Out-Of-Print Spent Poets Import CD's

By dean

     Picture the scene: someone you know has been going through an unsettling, bizarre, and rather heightened little patch in his life. Which means that in order to try and help stave off his pains he -- yes -- feels compelled to sift through his large record collection. The problem is that he only seems to go after the same handful of albums each and every time. And he rarely returns to them when times are good.

     Is it possible to hurt an album's feelings?

     There are certain records in our collections that only seem to get our attention when we are in the exactly right mood. Moving on to a new change in your life? You'll probably find something like Oasis' "Whatever" in your stereo a few times. Heard the recent news that the MPAA is making even the discussion of digital encoding an illegal act -- in an allegedly free country like the United States no less? Some Kid 606 or Redneck Wonderland will get a spin or two. Having a lot of intensely emotional matters with that someone? Out will come the James. Some Suede. But only certain albums of theirs too.

     For some reason, there's a small number of songs (or albums, or bands) that work for you in such a powerfully personal way that you will only listen to them when you need them the most. For instance, take the low points in your life. If you're feeling completely and utterly alone in a world that's turned into nothing but one, unending screech of shit, you'll latch onto an album like dog man star and listen to it as if it were a close friend trying to help you out. Yet, when the reverse happens and you feel amazingly content, absolutely ecstatic, and simply on the top of the banish such an album to its usual lonely, specialized home in your collection.

     How would this make you feel? Pretend for once that someone you knew only knocked on your door when he had just learned what the term "benign" meant. Imagine if a friend only called you when he felt like drinking Drano to see which colour his pee would turn into. I'd feel a bit used too. It's nice to be there for someone -- and to help 'em out -- but if that's the only time you're with them, it'd be a bit rude.

     I guess some of these types of albums can be hurt. Take them when we need them, ignore them when we don't. Although, maybe it'd help if they knew one of the reasons they are only listened to every once in awhile is precisely because they mean that much to us. I mean, if somebody listened to Laid three times a day, every week, every 12 months, for the past seven years or so -- how really important is that album? Its unique power is gone. He's just going through the motions whenever he listens to it. Instead of doing that, however, say this guy keeps the album away from his ears 98 percent of the time. It's sort of a compliment. When an album like this is finally pulled out for a serious going-over, it's one of the most meaningful experiences of his life. In this way, it's a smart, reverse joy. The more he respectfully chooses to only listen to certain albums when he needs them the most, the more he's expressing adoration for them. You see, those albums of ours aren't being "ignored" in those more neutral moments of life, they're actually being treasured.

     So can you actually hurt an album's feelings? Probably not. I don't think any of us have consumed enough Ecstasy to start believing that just yet. But if they did have feelings, they'd actually be pretty lucky. Because they have no idea how much they help. Especially in dire times. And I think we can all agree on that. If our beloved albums knew what we truly felt about them, those unique, extraordinary, personal records of ours probably would not be able to stop blushing.