Remember those old Case Logic cd cases that held a gazillion cds? Well, I have one that is full of about 200 cds mostly from the mid 90s. Some of them are on my iTunes, but most of them are not. We’re talking everything from Norah Jones to Wu-Tang to Carl Thomas.
So, I multi-tasked over the weekend and started digitizing as I worked on various projects. I thought it was going to be a pretty mindless task of popping in a CD, transferring over to iTunes, take out CD, put in another and repeat. Didn’t turn out that way.
For one thing, I found that I just didn’t care about some of that music anymore. Like, for some reason I own three Michael McDonald CDs and I dig him and all (Who doesn’t like that one song with Patti Labelle?), but three CDs? Too much. The memory on my laptop is finite after all.
The other thing that gave me pause during my digitizing process was that whole grown woman sensibilities vs adolescent lack of feminist perspective and appreciation for humility. Music is a very special thing. It’s not just something to make you dance or nod your head. There are moments, people and feelings attached to particular songs and during adolescence when every fiber of your being is on fire and yearning for something “real,” you will latch on to popular songs that seem to speak to you at the moment. Those songs become synonymous with those hormone-infused, life-shaping moments.
No matter how awful the music might have been in your adolescent years, you probably have a sentimental attachment to a few tracks that if those same songs were made today, you would not even give them a second listen.
The CDs in my case are mostly from mid to late 90s, which for me means high school and the first couple years of college. By then I had already gone through my west coast phase (Hi-C, DJ Quik, Second II None, etc) and was more into the east coast back packer-type stuff, the NY gangsters (Biggie!) and party music like Busta Rhymes. “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See” IS my freshman year of college. I will dance to that song when and wherever it comes on. Holla.
But then at the same time, I don’t need “Money, Cash, Hoes” on my iPod. Haven’t listened to it in years and I don’t miss it. Same goes for a lot of the songs from that era that were as gluttonous as they were misogynistic–just gross all the way around. Hmmmm, gluttonous and misogynistic. Sounds like the popular songs of today!
That’s not to say that I don’t have some eyebrow raising songs in my iPod because I definitely do. My feminist sensibilities are not so iron clad that I can’t drop it low and enjoy a good beat for four minutes if I choose to ignore some of the less than intellectual lyrics.
However, I’m appreciative of the fact that while I was listening to Too Short, 2 Live Crew and all those folks way back in the day as a little girl in pigtails, I also had Salt n’ Pepa, Queen Latifah and MC Lyte.
I tossed some CDs/tracks that don’t sit well with me now as a grown woman, but I still kept the vast majority of my CDs because it is mostly good music. When kids today look through their digital archives 15 years from now, what kind of “balance” will they have?
Do you still appreciate the music you liked as an adolescent?
Demetria Irwin is a New York City-based freelance writer/editor. Follow her on Twitter, @Love_Is_Dope.