The Album’s Influence

Kasra - Paoli, Pennsylvania
Entered on April 7, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

I cannot feel the speed. The speedometer reads 55 while the signs read 30. My safety needs have gone into hiding, and I am in no mood to find them. The radio is blasting, but it’s that song which is overtaking my cognition and finding outlets into my emotions. This album will change my life. It’s waiting for me. My being and experiences have intertwined so intricately that this song would find me, and I would in turn find its counterparts. Limewire was only my introduction.

I just need to get to the CD store. Holding the album complete with the compact disc, booklet, and any associated art is the only thing that will justify my love for the artist. iPods and mp3s do not come close, because I believe in the album. Listening to it is the second step.

First, I will listen to the song that inspired me to buy the album. This is the same song that said to me: “Please, purchase my brothers,” I should give it my immediate attention, because without it, I would never receive the artist’s full influence. After this I will start from the first track, and listen to the album throughout. I must at least experience the album as the artist intended. The songs weren’t ordered and structured accordingly for no reason. The artist wanted me to listen to the album the way they heard it, and out of love and respect, I will do so. Once I have done so, I feel I am equipped to listen to it however I want.

Being a musician myself, I like to consider the artist that inspires me. Putting an album together is not an easy process. There are many factors vital for its functioning. Such would be song writing, song recording, signing contracts (making commitments), production, collaboration, artwork, etc. Frustration can easily lurk into any step along the way. The final product is a reflection of the process—all positives and negatives included. It is not fair to the artist that I only experience parts of it by downloading some of the songs. They put the time, thought, and energy to creating their work, and I will pay them back by devoting my time, thought, and energy to understanding music from their perspective.

I do not oppose downloading music—legal matters are not what concern me. I do not feel that I owe the artist my money, only my attention. Downloading music may be a necessary step to the experience. I need some sort of preview before I decide I like the music enough to acquire the album. However, notice that it is a step, and not the whole. Even if I downloaded or burned every song from the album, in the order that the artist chose, I have still missed out on the entire experience. The physical CD is what I want, because the physical CD is what the artist made. If I am to be inspired by another’s influence, I can only justify my inspiration by experiencing the whole.