Garage Sale Cassette Tapes
My attitude as regards to technology is basically "If it works, why change it?"
My cellphone, which I have had for about 7 years now, is more of a brick than my laptop is. Literally. I'm pretty sure I have the biggest cellphone in active service today.
I have had waitresses at diners eye in it shock. One even asked me if I accidentally brought my cordless phone from home.
Musically, I'm swamped. Being that I'm in my early 40s, I have a slew of albums, 4 shoeboxes full of cassettes and shelves full of CDs. I refuse to get an iPod; I have plenty of music and formats already.
Anyhow, my car ("the rolling brick", I guess) doesn't have a CD player, but it has a tape deck. Which is cool, because when else am I going to actually listen to cassette tapes?
The wife and I are in the habit of cruising around on Sunday mornings, looking for estate sales, garage sales, and yard sales (which are actually all the same thing around here; the phrasing is really just an indication of the pretentiousness or desperation of the seller). We head east on Ventura Boulevard, and look for badly drawn signs with arrows that often seem to point into trees.
The great thing is that often people will have their old cassette tapes out for sale, because no one listens to cassette tapes any more. So I can pick up classic albums-on-tape for 25 or 50 cents, and pop them in my car to listen to while I'm going to pick up work somewhere.
So, the other day I bought a few cassettes of well-known old albums, that I inexplicably have never owned or listened to. It's sort of like time-traveling back to the past.
One was U2's "The Joshua Tree", which turned out to be amazing.
The other was John Lennon and Yoko Oko's "Double Fantasy", the one John released just before he was killed. It spawned at least 5 hit singles, plus the goofy "Dear Yoko", which somehow works. So I had high hopes for it.
I know it's poor form to speak ill of the dead, and I love John Lennon. And the hit songs on this album are great. But wow, is there some truly bad music on this album.
Because half the songs are Yoko's. They ALTERNATE SONGS.
And Yoko's songs are bad. Not just bad, dreadful. Nails on the blackboard, murdering cats, crazy-woman-ranting-on-the-block godawful.
She squeaks, she moans, she sings off-key. There's not a hook to be found.
At least when Linda McCartney sang, it was dumb fun, like "Cook of the House". Not here.
And because it's a cassette tape, there's no real way to get just John and not Yoko. I found myself desperately jabbing at the fast-forward button while doing 65 on the highway, but the endless caterwalling continued.
But at the same time, John's songs are mostly about how he loves Yoko, which is kind of cool, because he isn't afraid to put it out there. In a way, a lot of his songs are an explanation; one senses that he knew her songs were -- um -- an "acquired taste", but he loves her, and he's giving her half the album, like it or lump it.
In a way, it's a little snapshot of their years together, for better or for worse.
Worth the 50 cents. Easily.