While on my way back from voting in the Federal Election, I dropped into the Vinylpalooza Record Fair to have a browse. I picked up several cassette tapes to play in the car of bands that I’ve always been partial to; B-52s, Blur, Prince and Talking Heads.
Talking Heads, Remain in Light was the first tape in and for the past two weeks, it hasn’t been taken out. Apart from being such a great album, I’ve been reminded of the notion of listening to albums rather than relying on the randomness of shuffle to select the music I listen to. It’s a beautiful thing. Each track moves into the next with a short second of silence and you are forced, in a good way, to listen to the tracks in the order that the artist intended.
I also found that the order of the tracks triggered very strong memories of listening to the same cassette as a teenager some 20 years ago. What I found most interesting about this is that I’ve listened to these same tracks on CD or iPod regularly but have not had the same level of nostalgic memory recall as I have when hearing these songs in the album order. It is the sequence that has stuck in my mind all these years; deep memory recall, reaching back two decades, triggered by a defined sequence of sounds.
It raises interesting questions about the effect of technology on our experiences. Are we losing our connection to our past through the manner in which we now interact with our media? Will my sons ever know the wonder of listening to a complete album and deep-linking their memories while doing so? I think yes is the answer to the former and hopefully I can counter the latter through persuasion.
Here’s to the lost art of listening to albums and the best method for recording our lives in our heads.