Touch It, Please

Walking along the spring streets of this crowded city, a place where you’re literally always in everyone else's business whether you like it or not, I'm often struck by the amount of serious, pounding through the songlists iPod listening that’s going on. People are eyeballing their little screens as much as they're listening.

I find this odd because about the only part of the downloadable revolution that I don't get is the lack of a tactile component. There's nothing to touch. No cover art to gaze at while the music first plays. No lyrics or credits to immediately read. Yeah, I know it's all to be had on the web if you really want it, but it was nice when it all came in one package. Covered in cellophane. With a center hinge for the seeds to run down into.

It strikes me though in watching the iPod addicted generation in action that there is a tactile component, namely the device itself and that little screen where you see artist and song title. Somehow, for me a devoted iPod banger myself, it ain’t quite the same, but then I’m a guy who has shelves full of CDs and LPs and I work at a print magazine, i.e. something weighty you can look at photos in, turn the pages of and hold in your hand. Music being so ethereal and invisible, I can see how the whole need to touch became part of the ritual. Glad to see it carrying on via the mini-screen.

Al Marcy's picture

Uh, Stirful comes as a download ...

Wes Phillips's picture

Gee Robert: Yoou need a newer iPod. Mine shows me the album art while the song is playing, not that I'm looking at it, since it's in the rear pocket of my cycling jersey. I bet those iPoders you see eying their screens are gazing at album covers -- just like you did in college between bong hits.

Robert Cook's picture

Mr. Baird, I would be willing to wager that in reality," much of the staring at those tiny screens is accompained by thoughts of ""... so where did that @#$%^ song go..."""," or even ""... how does this *&^%#@ thing work!"" Also", once the round silver devils came into our lives and cover art was relegated to a barely five inch square canvas, little more than a glorified post it note, there's not much to look at. Squeeze that down to the true post it note sized screen of an iPod... you get my point. It does take time to read the micro sized font, if possible, of a shrunken cover, which may account for some of the staring, that the modern day equivalent of the ancient art of match book cover reading. Squint on people!

WonkoTheSane's picture

I'm always wondering what on earth made me put William Shatner, Woody Herman, and Wilco on the same playlist.

Stephen Mejias's picture

>I'm always wondering what on earth made me put William Shatner, Woody Herman," and Wilco on the same playlist. I'm sure it's the ""W""s", Wonko.

Paul Smith's picture

I'm surprised you use an Ipod," aren't you an ""audio"" guy?

Wes Phillips's picture

Who says iPods aren't good audio? If you rip the files with an uncompressed or lossless CODEC and use quality headphones (maybe even a headphone amp), I'd argue that the sound is high-end.