If there is one thing I haven't lost as I've gotten older, it's that euphoria I feel when I get new music. The emotion and every ritual involved continue to this day.
Don't you remember that feeling of buying new music when you were a kid? That time is different for everyone. For me, I was 10-11 years old and made enough allowance money to buy at least one record a month and some 45s in between, then cassettes when they came along.
I'd plan the whole week around Saturday, when I'd run to the record store to get the new Kiss (yep, there was also Pete Townshend, Leif Garrett, Shaun Cassidy, Steve Miller and other music groups that date my ass). As I left the store, I cradled the record in my arms against my chest. Once home, I would unwrap the plastic, take the record out carefully and breath in that new vinyl smell.
My mom had a great stereo in our living room with these huge cushy headphones. I'd put the record on, take out any lyrics included in the sleeve and lay down under the dining table. I listened from beginning to end. Back then you'd have to get up and move the needle from song to song. No remote controls for record players. Back then we cultivated the value of listening to an album in its entirety. We had no choice.
Today, my music buying experiences are a little different. Recently my 6-year-old son came with me. We went to Zia Records. To get him there, I lied. Yep. I told him they had a Laurie Berkner and Dan Zanes selection. Actually, they could have, but they didn't.
When we opened the door, he said out loud, "Mom, are you sure this is the kind of place you should be taking your kid?" I said, "Of course, it's a music store. Let's go get some music." "Mom, I don't know if I can go in there. It smells funny."
You know, it did smell funny, kind of like the guys in there had been working hard and going out for smokes in the back during their breaks, mixed in with the smell of new CDs.
"You'll get used to it. Let's go!" He went in and helped me look for my CDs, and of course we looked for Laurie Berkner and Dan Zanes. No selection. Bummer.
We went to checkout. "You guys really need to get some Laurie Berkner and Dan Zanes," my son told the guy at the cash register. I smiled. I paid and held those CDs close as we headed for the car. You can't really cradle CDs, even if you wanted to.
My purchases: I'd recommend the latest from Spoon, and Editors. Although the first listen was spotty, with a kid in the back complaining about my "strange music." I realize I miss my mom's stereo, those cushy headphones and that dining table. I need a grown-up-with-kids version, which today ended up being my car.
The feel was almost the same. At stoplights, I looked over the CD jackets and read the lyrics. These bands are great. I recommend them for the car, or if you have uninterrupted time at home, under your own dining table (you really need an oversized tablecloth that almost touches the floor). I hear a bit of The Jam in this new Spoon album. I've seen Spoon, but Editors are new to me. The lyrics bite a bit like the The Smiths. I'm happy right now, even if I don't have the dining table from my past. Right now the music is enough.