Thursday, September 27, 2007

A Big Day

Made a big technological leap yesterday: I purchased my first downloaded songs. Amazon has opened an MP3 store that kicks out high-fidelity MP3s (256 kbps, 44 kHz) with no DRM (for those of you in the cheap seats, DRM is Digital Rights Management which doesn't allow you to move or copy song files). Finally!

I'll say it again. Fuckin' finally!

This is so cool. As I sit here listening to my purchases, I feel like I did when I was old enough to walk down to the local Red Owl (our local grocery store / everything store) and buy 45s of songs I heard on the radio that day. It's literally thrilling.

I never hopped on the iTunes bandwagon because you had to sign up, and most of the time the tracks have DRM. And, like most other places that sold MP3s, you had to create an account just to look around. Just didn't interest me.

Amazon makes the purchases extremely straightforward. The average price of an entire album is $8.99!!!!! Singles are 89¢! The previews/samples work much better than they ever have before, too, so you can get a good listen before you click "buy."

The Foo Fighters album might just be the last CD I ever buy.

Here's another cool thing. I can recommend stuff, and you can procure it RIGHT NOW if you want.

For example, some great stuff:

- Elvis Costello's "Bedlam" from his Delivery Man CD. One of his best latter-day tunes. It sounds like a drunken stripper careening into poles and garbage cans. Only Elvis can spit a lyric like that.

- "Saint of Me" by the Rolling Stones. Like with Elvis above, this is one of their latter-day classics that got no airplay, but it's as good as "You Can't Always Get What You Want" and personally, I think it's a companion piece - a look at the other side, say - to "Sympathy for the Devil."

- "Blue Avenue" by Elton John. The only other good track on the LP, but it didn't get airplay here in the states. Beautiful song.

- Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes," which everyone loves, but it's never been on one of his anthologies (that I know of).

- "Moon, June, Spoon" by Spot. I was amazed to find this available. A great rocker about trying to choose which girl to stay with, and about rhyming, another great theme. Of all the songs I'm recommending here, this is one I'd politely beg everyone to check out. It ends up on about every 5th CD I burn, and I never tire of it.

- A Magic World (really "From Which I Came / A Magic World") from the Eels. Get past the intro noodling, and a gorgeous song starts. I pulled my copy into Audacity and cut the intro off so it'd go right into the song.

- The live version of Robert Palmer's "Every Kinda People" has about the best bass performance I've ever heard. The atmosphere of the live tune is amazing, too.

- Joe Cocker's phenomenal live version of "Unchain My Heart." Just listen to that groove they hit.

They even have wonderful obscurities, like A Lecture on Geek Mythology by wax.on that Whisky Prajer recommended a while ago (and I second that emotion).

They've got plenty of biggies like Stevie Wonder and John Lennon, and great guilty favorites like Steve Miller and Sweet (who I've always thought was who they were jabbing the most in This is Spinal Tap).

They have lots of goofs like A Gregorian Chant Tribute to Elton John! And k-tel albums!

A great way to find a single you might be look for, search for "20th century masters," which are a series of compilation albums for many artists. Do be careful about all the "sound alike" albums they have out there. For now, always always listen to the sample before you buy.

My right pointer finger actually hurts this morning after yesterday's surf-fest. I'm surprised my mouse didn't blow up. Let's be careful out there.

1 comment:

Rick said...

Congrats! I'll be checking this out this weekend.

Finally someone has the guts to do away with the DRM. Fatuous Steve Jobs chides the music industry for the DRM, but try and cross-platform the Mac OS!