Music Monday: My Music History

I don’t come from a very musical family. My only real memories involving music are listening to children’s cassette tapes (Sesame Street and Care Bears), my mom’s Shania Twain, Trisha Yearwood, Celine Dion and collection of Irish folk music on family road trips. So, for the most part, music was something my brothers and I were left to discover on our own. When I was eight years old I got a clock radio for Christmas. I remember that because, as I was eight years old, I chose station “8” for my music setting: which was 103.5 QMFM. I listened to my radio every single night until I was eighteen and to this day it is still on my bedside table, set to station number eight for whenever I turn it on.

QMFM was more of an adult station so it wasn’t playing much of the music my classmates were listening to. My favourite songs in elementary school were by Vanessa Williams, Shaye, Celine Dion and Dido. I later inherited a giant stereo that I used to listen to until my favourite songs came on and I would record them onto blank cassette tapes. This probably makes me sound a lot older than I am, but with my first CD being Pink’s Missundaztood that my mom bought “because the other lady in the CD aisle was getting it for her daughter too” and my second being Celine Dion’s newest album in 2003 because I had just watched Titanic for the first time and thought that “My Heart Will Go On” must be on it, I didn’t really know what was “out there”.

On Windows Media Player I listened to random lyric-less songs I found on the internet and changed most of the names of to things I thought sounded cool. I think they’re mostly from random 90’s animes but with my made up names, I honestly couldn’t tell you or Google it to find out. Guess which one got added to the folder in 2006?

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In grade seven my best friend at the time had invited me over and showed me “Kazaa”, a music downloading site that was beyond sketchy. She downloaded six songs for me and burned them onto a CD which I’m pretty sure I still have. My family quickly became sick of me playing my little music library on repeat whenever I was on the family computer.

I started high school in 2004 and had to take the bus every day. All of the other kids from my class would listen to music on the way to school and I felt very left out so my mom gave me her old walkman. I would hide the bulky walkman in my giant coat pocket and if I reached the end of the tape before I got to school, I’d keep the headphones in and listen to silence because I didn’t want to draw attention to myself by loudly rewinding the cassette.

I got my first mp3 player that Christmas. It was this little square thing made of silver plastic that had a USB that plugged into the side that I could load my music onto right from my computer. It displayed the name and title of each song on a tiny calculator-esque screen in black digital letters. And every time the song changed the USB would flash an obnoxious blue light. It fit because I was a pretty obnoxious 13-year-old and would go into the tree house and listen to Simple Plan and Evanescence while writing in my diary.

Two Christmasses after that, I got my first iPod. My little mp3 guy had died, the plastic cracked in multiple spots and I lost the USB stick. Whoops. “Adrianna’s iPod” was a bright pink second generation iPod Nano with a matching case (that I obviously bedazzled). That thing was legitimately my baby. It went everywhere with me and “take those things out of your ears” was among my mom’s top ten phrases she said to me between 2006 and 2009.

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In those years Kazaa changed to Limewire (later, Frostwire) and then iTunes. I discovered my favourite band, Anberlin and my favourite singer, Taylor Swift. I went to my first concert and my iPod came with me on my school’s Europe trip.

SD533451Through the internet, high school, friends, and exposure to “pop” radio my music library grew to the point that I would have to pick and choose songs to fit on my 4 GB iPod. I was notorious for going through headphones at a ridiculous rate. I would say, on average, I had new headphones (/earbuds) every other month. They started out being nice ones, the ones that came with Apple products and matching pink “Gumy” ones that everyone had. The most memorable was a set that my dad found (and was extremely proud of) that came in an attached case and were retractable so they wouldn’t (in theory) get tangled in my bag or pocket. But, as they all did, one earbud died and then shortly thereafter the other would go as well. I ended up just getting headphones from the dollar store so it didn’t matter if/ when they died.

The summer after graduating, I went camping with my family as we did every summer. As always, my iPod came with me everywhere and I had the tan lines from the earbud wires to prove it. And in the tiny bathroom at the back of the trailer, I dropped my iPod in the toilet.

I’ve told everyone that I dropped it in the sink, but now the world knows the truth. Oops.

My iPod stayed in a bag of rice for a couple days of mourning and did keep working for a couple more months. The wheel soon started working weirdly (if you spun it one way it would work the opposite way on the screen) and the centre button required a stronger push at the bottom right to do anything. Soon it stopped working altogether.

Adrianna’s iPod Jr was purchased shortly therafter. I originally wanted the blue model but after looking at Best Buy and Future Shop (RIP), I ended up getting a 16 GB green 5th generation iPod nano from London Drugs.

 

Day 12: Your MP3 Player.

A photo posted by Adrianna Mary-Anne (@adriannamaryanne) on

In my opinion, this is the best iPod model Apple has released. The size and shape is ideal and the emerald green (as well as the other colours in the collection) was stunning. It had a camera (mostly for video) and a step counter as well as radio access. I admit I didn’t use the radio function as often as I thought I would but it was nice to have the option, especially around Christmas when 103.5 played Christmas carols. My favourite new feature was being able to shake the iPod and it would start playing the songs in my library on shuffle, which is how I listen to music most often.

This iPod was when I started running as well. I bought an arm band and would go running even in the rain (kind of unavoidable in Vancouver)… maybe this is what lead to the decline of Adrianna’s iPod Jr (spoiler alert). My dad found the best headphones I have had to date at a random liquidator store:  hot pink Sony earbuds that have a different structure than any of the earbuds I had tried up until that point. They actually !!stay in my ears!! which was a crazy novelty.

My baby is dying… ?

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The first sign of decline was when a single line of pixels went black. Then another, then another. By Christmas 2013 a large black ink-like smudge was on the screen and it was impossible to read anything on the display.

So then came Adrianna’s iPod Jr II (the second). I’m not joking.

I fear change ? #ipod #ipodnano #apple

A photo posted by Adrianna Mary-Anne (@adriannamaryanne) on

But, as I fear change and was (and still am not) a fan of Apple’s iPod releases since that version, I ended up buying the same model of iPod off of Amazon. I was actually really pleased, even though I did pay more than what I paid when I initially bought the 5th generation iPod. I figured since Apple discontinued it, it made sense to be more expensive.

?⚓️? #wreckthisjournal #vspink #flipflops #ipod #beach #adriannasjournaljourney

A photo posted by Adrianna Mary-Anne (@adriannamaryanne) on

#100happydays day 65: Playing this today… Thanks to @taylorswift for the anthem of my past 365 days! ? #22 #23tomorrow #taylorswift

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The last time I’ll put an @anberlin album on my iPod ? #anberlin #lowborn #bittersweet

A photo posted by Adrianna Mary-Anne (@adriannamaryanne) on

Flash forward to May 2015. I was in Las Vegas, laying by the pool beside my boyfriend alternating between playing Monopoly on his iPad and reading with music. I had recently purchased Frends headphones on clearance and was excited to try them out on our trip.

? #papertowns #frends #frendsheadphones #ipod #poolday

A photo posted by Adrianna Mary-Anne (@adriannamaryanne) on


That was the last time I saw Adrianna’s iPod Jr II. I realized my iPod wasn’t in my pool bag when we got back to the room. We searched the room, the pool, the casino and even the bowling alley. I checked with the lost and found twice a day until we left. Without my iPod.

This probably sounds like a huge first world problem but I was devastated. And, after such an expensive month I couldn’t afford to buy a new one. Then school started, and I definitely couldn’t afford one.

A new iPod has been on my wish list since then, over seven months ago.

Seven months without an iPod. Without music. While taking transit. Anyone who has had to sit on a bus and had to listen to people’s actual conversations will understand.

It has not been something I have done since I was thirteen-years-old, wearing a uniform on a bus full of my classmates.

When not commuting I have been using Spotify a lot more. But, as you probably know if you’ve been with me this far, I am a Taylor Swift fan and to find TSwift on Spotify is as easy as searching a busy Vegas casino for a tiny iPod. Same with Disney music. And as much as I love Spotify and the way it works, it isn’t the same as having a music library that you can access whenever, wherever, with or without a wifi connection. Songs would come on the radio that I had on my iPod and it would make me sad, which sounds dumb because it is simple to look up individual songs and listen to them. However, the way I have listened to music since the days of that flashing blue USB is on shuffle: pleasant surprises one after another, whether it be a new addition or a song I forgot that I had but still know all the words. And when a new album comes out by an artist I like, I can listen to it on shuffle and learn it from front to back while on the way to school. As much as I love Spotify, I wouldn’t learn songs the same way or be able to appreciate them as much as I did when I deliberately put songs on my iTunes, synced it onto my iPod, and listened to it on repeat for a day and then mixed in with shuffle from then onwards.

So, this Christmas, with the tips I got from clients at work, I decided my “gift” to myself would be a new iPod.

But which one?

Initially I thought I would just get the same 5th generation nano again. I already had all the accessories and it was what I knew and loved. Twice already.

But buying the exact same thing for the third time seemed kind of pointless. I checked prices and even from the same seller that I had gotten it from originally, it had gone up almost $50. That, as well as the fact that the Canadian dollar is doing so much worse I would be paying a substantial amount of money for nothing superior to what I had (and lost). That, as well as 16 GB was the largest size available and my music collection was quickly reaching that threshold. So I (begrudgingly) crossed it off the list.

Most people I asked for opinions told me I should just buy one of the models presently available. It would be as simple as going to the mall, walking into Apple, Best Buy, London Drugs or Wal-Mart, picking a colour and model, hand them my Visa and be on my way.

Since the release of the iPhone, iPod sales have dropped. Most people keep their music on their phones and as such, Apple has not released a new iPod since 2012 (besides revamping the Touch last year). I am an iPhone owner but don’t like the idea of having my music on my phone. With 32 GB I am fighting for space between apps and pictures anyway, and generally get about half a day of battery life. All that would be exponentially minimized if I was to listen to music on it also. iPhone ownership makes buying an iPod Touch, the only model to currently have any storage space beyond 16 GB, redundant. I like having a screen and being able to select a song or playlist, which voids the Shuffle and I just don’t like the look of the touch-screen Nano. I like having the wheel, mostly because when the iPod is in my pocket I can change to the next song without looking at a screen. I am picky, I know.

So, my boyfriend suggested the Classic. He has had two over the years, and I even went to the Apple Store with him when he purchased the one he has now. The guy who sold it to him said that it was the first Classic he had ever sold! My boyfriend raves about the battery life and with the 160 GB he has enough space for his music collection which makes mine look like that CD of six songs in comparison. Also, I would be getting ten times the space as what I had previously. I was bummed on not having my cute girly green iPod anymore and had always thought the Classics looked a little bulky, but the idea of having so much more space and a great battery life outweighed the aesthetics. I made the decision, took his advice, and ordered my new baby.

So today, I received my 6th generation, 160 GB silver iPod Classic: Adrianna’s iPod Jr III. I ended up ordering it from the same company that I had bought my previous iPod with and they even sent a free case! Words cannot describe how excited I am to put those earbuds in tomorrow morning on the commute to class.


Thank you SO much for reading this ridiculously long post. Do you have any of the same experience with iPods? Do you put your music on your phone now? I hope to hear from you!

 

 

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