Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about music and the role it played in my life over the years. I think I’ve been pretty passionate about music ever since I discovered MTV and VH1 on cable television in 1995. As I’ve started to listen again to more music last year, after a few weird years, a lot of fond music-related memories have been on my mind. This article is about one of them.
When I was in high-school I used to create CD compilations of all my favorite music at the time.1 Due to my love for titanium and chemistry2, and to show my rebellious streak3, I named each CD “Titanium Edition, vol. X”. I think around the end of high-school I had about 10 such CDs, so the complete “Titanium Edition” contained a 1500 songs. Those CDs went to many parties in those days and they will forever have a special place in my heart, even if my taste in music changed a lot over time.
I still recall how hard it was to find where the right song was, especially once I had had a few drinks. Carrying around a stack of CDs wasn’t fun either. Music discovery was hard and friends, TV channels and radio stations were my main sources of ideas. Pirating music wasn’t exactly easy either, given how slow and expensive internet was back then. I think my first subscription for Internet over LAN was $20/month for something like 300MB/month total traffic. We’d exchange music with friends and I’d spend a lot of time scouring the LAN (usually with the help of DC). Younger people here probably have no idea what I’m talking about. I’m trying to make a point, though - because it was so hard to build a music collection, one had a lot of pride in theirs. Efforts give meaning to stuff.
Fast-forward to 2011 (years after my high-school graduation) and the world of music is quite different. CDs and mp3s are a thing of the past, the streaming revolution has disrupted the music industry. I’m not sure if my computer back then even had a CD/DVD-ROM. I have a vague memory that it did, but I’m not totally sure.4 I do remember that this was the year when I signed up for Spotify and that the first order of business was to turn my “Titanium Edition” (TE) CD collection to a Spotify playlist. Despite sharing the same name, the old and the new TE were quite different. No surprises here I guess, as I was a different person at the time. I recall that between 2005 and 2011 I developed a deep appreciation for alternative and indie rock. I blame it on all the teen/college dramas I liked to watch back then and their (awesome) soundtracks. I’m not ashamed to admit I picked up quite a few tunes from shows like The O.C., One Tree Hill, Gossip Girl and The Vampire Diaries. The famous Sean Parker playlist “Hipster International” had a profound effect on me as well. I must have listened to it like a thousand times. Over the years my TE playlist grew to reflect my latest (re)discoveries and obsessions. I’d listen to it at home, at work, at parties, on the street. TE was a product of love and a source of a lot of joy.
I’ve noticed that after 2014 I’ve added only a handful of songs to my TE playlist. This makes me sad, and is directly related to starting a very demanding job in 2015 that eventually almost killed my passion for music for various reasons.5 Last year I’ve decided that enough is enough and I vowed to change this. Fresh start. Broaden my music horizons. I’ve created a couple of new (tiny) playlists that reflect the music that I enjoy today - Meta Mix and Meta Hipster. I’m still not sure what does the word “hipster” mean exactly, but it seems that hipsters have a pretty good taste in music.
The original TE CDs have been long gone (lost?), but their legacy lives on. They were the soundtrack of my life during a pretty exciting and dynamic part of it and are forever part of me. As is music. You can learn a lot about a person from the music that they enjoy. Perhaps after this article you’ll learn something new about me. Keep playing!
P.S. My most recent song obsession has been This Must be the Place by Kishi Bashi, which I picked up from D.C.’s Titans. Another bad show with great soundtrack.
Needless to say that this was mostly pirated music I’ve downloaded in mp3 format from various sources. ↩
Don’t ask. ↩
We’ve had enough of gold and platinum in music. ↩
I haven’t seen physical CDs in a very long time. ↩
The main being that my days were a constant string of back-to-back meetings, which severely limitted my time for music. ↩