Maybe it’s because I’ve been single for most of my adult life and lived in New York City for the last 17 years, but I’m very attuned to “the next best thing” attitude that pervades this city. Seemingly every person you meet in this city is on the lookout for “my next ex.” Never content with what they have or who they’re meeting at that very moment, potential suitors are constantly swerving their head from side to side and looking over their shoulder for something better. And in a city of 8 million people, there usually is something “better.” Is this the view of a cynical, hollowed out shell? Perhaps. It’s all incredibly shallow, and yet I’m just as guilty as anyone of this behavior. But it’s not all about dating.
I’m an instant gratification kind of guy, so I understand the thrill of discovery of “the next best thing” and the need for a constant influx of “new,” especially with music. But the loss last week of most of my music collection has made me rethink some of my priorities.
As I was deleting all the albums from iTunes (nothing was housed there so it’s not like I lost anything further), I felt actual pains as I saw titles vanish into the ether of cyberspace–LPs that I’d ripped years ago, copies of acetates, composer promos…gone. I tell ya, it was heartbreaking. (It became even more heartbreaking when I found out too late that I could have exported the list of all the albums into an Excel spreadsheet. Now I have no idea what I had.) But as I was trying to figure out how I was going to rebuild this extensive library, I thought, “Why?”
Am I going to miss certain titles? You bet. Can I find those titles again? Probably. But, ultimately, did I ever have time to listen to even the tiniest fraction of 5,000 albums? Of course not. So perhaps it is time to focus on the still-extensive collection I still own. As I go about digitizing all the CDs again, it was suggested that I blog about my rediscoveries. I just might do that. Perhaps I’ll dust off the old Lost in the Shuffle series.
There will still be an influx of new music as I receive review copies and continue pouring my hard-earned dollars into this industry that means so much to me. I’ll still get excited about releases of new and old film music. But this time around, I plan to enjoy what I do have instead of constantly looking for what I don’t. And count my blessings that the only loss this time around was a digital file and not something far more serious.
The next best thing is right here.