My husband and I own approximately 2,000 CDs. You know, those shiny round discs we previously used to listen to music in the 1990s. The ones we slipped into our Discman players at the bus stop.
You know the ones.
The discs accumulated over the 10 years we both worked as music journalists, back when labels had money to mail out endless bubble packs of crappy mainstream pop to anyone with a byline in a Kinko-printed zine. All 2,000 of these babies have been decorating wall space ever since. They really are beautiful, made up of bold colors and carefully chosen designs. They have been my favorite decoration in my office wherever we’ve lived.
But over time they’ve become burdensome. That many discs take up a lot of space and we’ve moved them from California to Colorado (two houses) to Pennsylvania to Nevada (two houses) to Washington. That’s seven moves. That’s a lot of effort to keep a collection intact.
And guess what? I haven’t listened to one of these discs in close to seven years.
So basically we’ve been carting what equates to inconvenient art around for 10 years for no reason. And I’ve had enough. This week I am going through all of it and giving away. (Summer break!) My dad likes old tech so he’s getting the loot. (Sorry, mom.) And it’s been so wonderful to go through it all and realize how little I care about 99 percent of this shit.
WHY DO I HAVE A BACKSTREET BOYS ALBUM?!
*Not anymore I don’t.
There are a few things we’re keeping. But it’s a complicated factorial to decide what is worthy:
1) If the zombie apocalypse happened tomorrow (or, you know, Spotify stopped functioning), would we really miss this music? Would it make a positive difference in our lives if we could listen to it. If the answer is yes, then it stays. There are not many of these, believe me.
2) If it has sentimental meaning, it stays. This is Fiona Apple (October 2005 pile: “I am an extraordinary machine, goddamn it!”), The White Stripes’ “De Stijl” (September 2001 pile: “Why yes, I do want to be a music journalist. Interview Jack White for my first interview? Sure!”, or Kylie Minogue’s “Fever” (October 2001 pile: Hell yeah we danced to this record in the offices of The Vista), or the like. This is also a small pile, but it’s not going anywhere.
3) If the record has great cover art, it stays. We’re going to make a single shelf display of all our favorite cover art and we want our favorites up there. This is Herb Alpert’s “Whipped Cream and Other Delights,” REM’s “Monster,” or Nirvana’s “Nevermind.”
That’s it, though. That’s only a handful of discs that are staying and I’m packing the rest of them up in boxes to ship off to dad in San Diego next week. It feels weird and a bit painful. But when the shelves are this dusty, and the discs are this cold, it’s time to let go. Time to move forward to the future. Maybe a music blog is on the horizon, but in the meantime, it feels good to clean house.
But no one, and I mean NO ONE, is getting their damn paws on my vinyl.