Sunday, September 7, 2008

Sponge and Cheap CD's

I'm listening to Sponge's Rotting Pinata (forgive me, I'm too lazy to look up the n with a tilde on it) album. Really, I'm only interested in two songs, Plowed and Molly (16 Candles), but I bought the whole album anyway. Because I'm a dinosaur.

Well, not entirely.

The logic is this: I could have spent $.99 apiece to get the songs off iTunes, probably $.89 apiece off Amazon mp3, or I could just spend $2.99 to get the whole album off Amazon Marketplace. That's $2.99 after shipping, mind you.

Clearly worth the extra dollar to be able to rip the album as a 192 mp3 (Amazon mp3's are typically 256, which is overkill, but kudos to them for doing it) and explore the rest of the album for good songs that weren't on the radio. I'm just over half-way through, and so far nothing is jumping out at me. So everything except the two songs I was after will most likely get deleted from my ipod to free up space, but I'll give it a chance.

It's a very early 90's record: rough, un-polished production, you can hear the influence of the non-Nirvana Seattle grunge scene. Pennywheels made me think of Alice in Chains, Drownin' has an early Pearl Jam vibe. Lots of jangly guitars a la The Cure and some shredding a la the 80's metal scene, but not much in the way of genuinely memorable hooks. It's a background noise album, and it's not trick to understand why it was listed for a penny on Amazon Marketplace. It's a shame it's so raw--I understand that this was in vogue in the 90's, but it just doesn't help the record any. The guitar work is very impressive, and as such, it's an album that might have benefited from a bit more polish in the mixing/mastering stage.

I also purchased Metallica's Black Album under similar circumstances (don't worry, plent of polish on that one). Although it had a full 5 songs I was interested in, and I paid roughly $5 for it (I don't remember how much, exactly, but it was certainly less than $6). Still on par with Amazon, but having the disc gives me more flexibility, and it still ends up filling my ipod. And, in the end, if the other 7 songs are a disappointment, to the recycle bin they go.

Of course the irony of this is that I'm purchasing these legally (I'm a musician, so the I tend to feel oddly conflicted about "stealing" music) and the artist and label don't see a penny of it. Amazon's making a little. But mostly I imagine this is the pre-ipod generation cleaning out space in their storage units by liquidating their old CD collections.


Ah, we've arrived at the hidden track--the staple of 90's albums. This one is hidden after about a minute of empty space after track 10, a method that was more effective/popular than the "zero" track (where you hide a song in the negative space before track 1). Although, weirdly, it looks like this song has an 11th track. Could it be an unlisted track after the hidden track? It's like a cliche within a cliche.

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