It won't be long now. The current generation of youth will soon forget the existence of CD's, or compact discs. Gone will be the tall, narrow shelves and creative stands designed to hold the cases, complete with their cover art and lyrics.
And dare we even mention the old record albums?
The best feature of the album was that the cover was large enough to frame, only after it was autographed, of course. The album cover from days gone by was designed to be huggable as we listened to lyrics tainted with the same angst that filled our teen-aged hearts. We saved up our money to buy the album on its release date, rushing home to listen in its entirety, following along word by word with the lyrics included on the inner sleeve.
Even better than the lyrics were the liner notes that told the stories behind the songs; painting mental pictures of dimly lit recording studios at midnight, explaining how a song was written, and revealing who or what inspired those treasured words.
The recording and radio industries are still adjusting to the $.99 one-song-at-a-time world in which we now live. Kids learn of new music through the internet, or perhaps by hearing it on a television show, watched commercial free at their leisure, of course. They will always purchase music, but only a song here or there, rarely an entire collection once known as an album.
If the truth is known, I feel sorry for the teens of today. With their On Demand mentality, they never have to wait for a favorite to be played on the radio, singing it together with their friends who have also waited all day to hear it. They may never have the patience to accidentally discover a new song carefully hidden right after a huge hit on a CD. They rarely even listen all the way to the end of one song, much less an entire project. By skipping the entire album, they may never acquire all the pieces to the puzzle.
To accompany my bubble bath time recently, I slid a favorite CD into my boom box and listened to a story put to music, spread out over a 30 minute period. Like waves of an ocean, it ebbed and flowed, with each song finding its perfect fit, like characters in the story. The overall message would have been missed if those same songs were heard on "shuffle" through my Ipod, or if any of them were deleted from the story.
Time changes, and technology will continue to do its best to keep up with our hurried and impatient pace of life, enticing us to become less emotionally attached along the way.
But great music is timeless, and in order to feel what the artist felt when they were creating their masterpiece; sometimes it requires sitting still and listening all the way to the end, until they get finished sharing their songs all of them; in the right order; like chapters in a book.
Janet Morris Grimes, the author The Parent's Guide to Uncluttering Your Home, released in 2011. She launched Abbandoned Ministries to lead others to seek God, as Abba, during abandonment. For more information, visit http://janetmorrisgrimes.com or http://abbandondoned.com.