Sweaty palms, anxiety descending with countless thoughts of wrong doing flooding my mind. My fingers nervously etch away at the keyboard. The link appears and I am now at the final stages of doing something that I once thought impossible. My first full download of an album is about to begin. Six weeks after its release, Arcade Fire’s new double album, “Reflektor” will soon by sitting pretty in my iTunes listings.
For one of my favourite bands to release a critically acclaimed album and for me not to own a physical copy this far down the track following its release is strange territory indeed. There was a time when I would pull a day off school or work to be on the door step of my local record store the moment a particular album was due to be released. It was always important to have that new album at the first opportunity.
From about the age of 15 through to my early thirties there was a common ritual in my life. When a desired act of mine had a new album coming out I had to own it at the first chance. Most of you may not understand though. Some of you may think me utterly crazy.
The whole process was a bit of a strange. An idealism I held for so many years which was a regular part of my life. I would be there bang on opening time, often too soon for the new arrivals to be out of the box. If needed I would wait around whilst the friendly shop assistant made every effort to dig about trying to find it. Sometimes, and to my great disappointment, the order would not have arrived on time and I would be forced to go back the next day. That was always a rubbish feeling. First world problems yes? If it was indeed available on the day of release my world would be a most enjoyable one. I knew what lay ahead for the rest of that day.
Once the purchase of my new found aural pleasures were in a bag and safely under my arm I would take them home, close the curtains, light some candles and let the room fill with the bold sounds of my new purchase. Of course there were days and nights when things didn’t work out. After all, not every artist can perfect all the time can they? Morrissey aside that is,
Maybe now you are thinking me a right and proper nut job? Mind, there truly is no greater pleasure than allowing a work of art from a desirable band or artist to be released upon your senses. Looking back my youth and formative adult years remain full of countless memories from days and nights sat alone in my room with new music invading my inner senses. Often you would need a second or third listen to really capture the essence of your newly acquired album. Also taking into account this was a time before the internet where your only preview of an upcoming release would be the lead single and a couple of b-sides.
Fast forward to 2013 and here I am, going against the grain and committing a crime. Perhaps not such a bad crime. There will be a time in the coming weeks where I will be able to buy my very own physical copy of “Reflektor” so if I am trying to compensate for my guilt then there it is. Less than 24 hours on I feel incredibly naughty. How do people download music and films all the time and never pay for a product? Do you ever feel like you are taking an income away from a performer, artist or producer?
Last night when I downloaded “Reflektor” there were other albums that crossed my mind. Arctic Monkeys, Franz Ferdinand, Bloc Party, Paul McCartney and British Sea Power are just a few acts that have albums our in recent months that I still don’t own. I had set myself a strict rule though. Only one album! No doubt I will get back into buying albums on the day of release at some point down the track. It all points to the changing landscape of life I guess. The days where I would eat beans on toast for a week so I would have enough money to buy a new release album seem a thing of the past though.
For now I am happy to live with my guilty pleasure. It has prompted me to think of days gone by and albums that really did have a monstrous impact on my life. Here is my top 10 albums bought on the day of release. In no particular order……
Suede – Dog Man Star (released September 1994)
Radiohead – OK Computer (released May 1997)
David Bowie – 1. Outside (released September 1995)
Morrissey – Southpaw Grammar (released August 1995)
Scott Walker – Drift (released May 2006)
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Self Titled (released October 2011)
David Bowie – The Next Day (released March 2013)
Morrissey – You Are The Quarry (released May 2004)
Blur – Think Tank (released April 2003)
Pulp – This Is Hardcore (released March 1998)