By: James Cowin
If your like me, the days of walking into a Tower Record store and searching for that new U2 record, or the latest single by the Police were some of the best times in my youth. I remember waiting in line for the Use Your Illusion release, and of course there was the KISS reunion box set, which kept me up for nearly 36 hours straight! For me, the thrill wasn’t just in the music; it was the content, which always accompanied the newest tracks by my favorite artist or band. There were stories, personal messages and almost always some behind-‐the-‐scenes photos from the tour or recording studio. It was the artist way of connecting with their fans, and if you were like me, you craved the intimate details as much as the newest music.
Skip ahead a few decades and your lucky if you can find even a vague reference to Tower Records, let alone any of the cool memorabilia, which lined every wall and isle of any random store in your favorite city. Then of course, there’s the music… when was the last time you actually walked into a retail store and bought a CD? Do the words “The Razors Edge” ring a bell? Now, they say vinyl is making a comeback, and I would love to agree, but unless you count the free album Kacey Musgraves sent me during the CMA pre-‐awards last year, I’m not seeing it.
Meanwhile, if you want anything from the White album to the new Will-‐ Made-‐It tracks, you can have them in HD clarity, and downloaded to your favorite device in about 45seconds. But, these are just empty music calories, there’s no meat on the bones, and as far as you know, that new beat from Calvin Harris was done in a studio and not his basement. Or, that amazing track from the Grascalls was tested on tour, and not with their family and friends. The problem is, unless you subscribe to the sensationalism proliferated in the social tabloids, it’s difficult to distinguish what’s fact and what’s well placed fiction.
The bottom line is, our generation is desperate for a means with which to share music and other media, but with renewed access between artists and fans. Personally, I dream of a day when I can reach onto the digital shelf of music on my device, and not only download that amazing new song by John Newman, but I might actually find something interesting to coincide with the music already resounding in my ears. Until then, I will continue to yearn for the stockpile of CD’s and LP’s resting peacefully in my closet, reminiscent of a time long forgotten.
Let us read, and let us dance; for these two amusements will never do any harm to the world.”