Have you ever accidentally come across your Christmas presents in a closet, and been faced with the decision as to whether you should shake them to figure out what they are, or close the door gently and pretend you saw nothing?
I ask because, as the release of Bo’s CD approaches, we will all be faced with a similar decision.
Do you remember the way it used to be – only a few years ago – when the release date for a new CD was sacrosanct? When, until that day, you had NO idea what you were going to get?
As a kid, I used to take the bus from my little English village all the way into town, and buy my CDs at Virgin Records, and then, with no Walkman or iPod, I still couldn’t listen until I got home so I’d rip off the seal and read every word of the liner notes on the 40-minute journey home before finally, mercifully being able to rip off my coat, throw down my bags, put on my headphones and lose myself in the magic surprise of a new album.
But it’s just not that way anymore. Bruce Springsteen’s new album is still 4 weeks away and last week fans found 30-second snippets of every song on a German online record store. Within half an hour, the clips were ripped and shared on every Bruce fansite.
I debated. I really did. For about 10 seconds. And then I listened to them all in quick succession, gobbling them down like a binge-eater stumbling upon a jumbo box of Chips Ahoy.
A few months ago I found Jason Isbell’s as-yet unreleased CD on the Internet for free download three weeks before the CD came out. I tried to resist. But I was too eager to hear the music and I gave in (Don’t yell at me!! I still bought the CD when it came out because I don’t steal music – but I just couldn’t wait that extra 21 days).
And that brings me to Bo’s CD. I love Bruce and Jason, but not in the way I love Bo. This CD feels like the culmination of everything Bo’s fans have waited for since that moment when he first sang Drift Away on Idol and we thought some variant on “Whoa! That guy is GOOD!”
I really want to experience the CD the way I used to. I want to savor the anticipation. I want to imagine myself on that long bus ride into town. But I know that clips – and maybe the whole CD – will appear online before October 23rd. I’m not sure I’ll be able to resist that little ‘listen now’ button on Amazon. And even if I do, will I be able to avoid the discussions of fans who did hit that button? Perhaps this would be a good time for a trip home to England?
I haven’t decided what I’ll do when the inevitable happens and I have the chance to cheat, but I suspect it will be Chips Ahoy all over again.
How about you? What will you do when snippets of each song appear online?