So I’m listening to a playlist today, and Every Beat of the Heart comes on. This song is special to me; it was part of a cassette my sweetie made for me in, like, 1991, when we were separated by a thousand miles of desert and swamp and hill country, when he literally recorded 90 minutes of KROQ for me, because there was no good radio in my place of exile. I listened to that tape until it warbled.
Fast forward a few years and I’m trying to re-create first a cassette, and then a CD, version of that tape, for posterity. There’s no internet yet, so I have to find and purchase Actual CDs to pull this off. I search for Railway Children in every record store we entered – and we entered A LOT OF RECORD STORES, kids, ask your parents – but it wasn’t until 1998, when I was browsing a record store in Strasbourg, France, that I found the CD. (Sad side note: Every Beat of the Heart turned out to have been the best song on the CD, but it was only 5 francs, so I still think it was a net win.)
Now, I loves me some YouTube. I love the fan-made “videos” that consist of a single still picture, but mean you get to listen to that song you heard that one time ages ago. I love finally seeing videos I never got to see on 120 Minutes. I love finding new-to-me songs by artists for whom I’d only owned one or two songs on compilations.
I love all of those things, but I love having a story to tell, too, and “I entered a series of keywords and hit enter and there it was” doesn’t quite compare to the squeal of joy I let off when I found that CD in a tiny French music shop.
I’ll never not love the way technology solves problems and breaks down barriers, but I hope people are living their stories in other ways.