Scouting through Pitchfork.com's end of the decade round up the news that the ipod has been around less than ten years genuinely shocked me. How quickly we forget the joys of our first walkman and the invention of the auto reverse button.
In retrospect it has been a busy decade for music based technologies. The CD died, against all odds the vinyl record came back (to some extent, although not sufficiently to save a lot of already very average record shops), record labels spent much of the latter part of the past ten years shitting their collective pants as it became increasingly obvious that the vast majority of the public really were more than happy taking music without paying for it. Not sure what they expected, the MP3 makes music invisible and by default worthless to many. No more impressing girlfriends with your neatly catalogued CD collection...
Back to my original point, although my ipod is not my main source of musical enjoyment, I do own one, 80GB chocked full of painstakingly categorised albums complete with artwork (Japanese whenever available) and it comes as a total shock that the little fuckers haven't been around long enough to celebrate their tenth birthday yet. I remember my first one, 540Euros and it was utter rubbish, the most expensive book end I have ever purchased. In order for it to work I had to upgrade my computer and then it died every three months for a year.
Life used to be so much more simple, aside of wondering where the battery cover went, you just had to adjust the headphone chord on occasion so that both channels worked and change your batteries around in order to milk the last life out of the slowly fading music... No more giving and recieving mix tapes either, a shame not least because I had it down to a fucking art, it was the one part of the courtship beast that I could have taken gold in. Well, Thurston Moore thought he was pretty good at it too so maybe silver. Thinking about it the film High Fidelity will look entirely alien to a viewer ten years from now, not because of the record shop focal point but rather because the mix tape is used as a continual plot device througout.
'Mommy, what's a mix tape?'
Anyway, what am I reviewing here?
Bad Brains 'Rock For Light'. Right.
Why? Because I put it on this morning while I was getting ready for work.
Why? Because I needed something that would be over in the time it took me to shower and throw my work clothes on.
I used to have so much time for this band. There was just something so unbelievably cool about them. Nowadays, after the come back, the Supreme tie in, the Vans shoe line, the breakfast cereal (probably) it does smart of overkill just the tiniest bit. Yes they were instrumental in the birth of Hardcore, yes they are the only band to have succesfully fused said Hardcore with reggae but do they really need to be a brand? Probably not. That said this aftershock of consumerist hype will no doubt be good for a band that genuinely deserves the recognition and it does of course give an entirely new, younger audience the opportunity of experiencing something new and worthwhile.
And afterall, 'Rock For Light' is a great album, the sleeve might be shit and the production might be reedy-thin but it has 'Sailin On' on it and 'Sailin On' destroys.