What if we give it away

Every so often I come across a song that I “re-discover”. Basically it’s a song that I may have loved at some point in my life and listened to over and over for a period of time. Eventually, I move on to another song and make that the center of my musical life for a period of time and so on.

About two days ago, I re-discovered one of those songs. I was listening to a station I created in Pandora and at some point in the afternoon it began playing What if we give it away by R.E.M.

The song was from the Life’s Rich Pageant album. It was a fairly successful album, but not a huge seller by any means. So to hear an obscure song from an obscure album was interesting. What was even more interesting was that I adored that song when I first heard it, but hadn’t really listened to it much over the years. As the song played in my Pandora player, I began to remember why I liked it so much. I’ve now been listening to the whole Life’s Rich Pageant album for the last few days and enjoying it thoroughly.

In this age of digital music and instant accessibility I find that I sometimes overlook songs or albums entirely. For example, a few weeks ago I was again listening to Pandora and they started playing a song by Belle and Sebastian. I liked the song so I immediately went to bit torrent some of their albums. Within 10 minutes I had their entire catalog in my iTunes library. Figuring I’d listen to it later, I went back to my Pandora and forgot about it. Years ago, that would never have happened. If I heard a song I liked, I would go to the local record store and buy the CD. I would get home, tear it open and start playing it. I’d almost certainly listen to the whole thing beginning to end and probably listen to it several times over the next few days. While  a part of me likes the speed and ease by which I can obtain music, another part of me misses that experience of going to a store and buying the CD as soon as it’s released. Another experience lost in the digital tradeoff.