I don’t care what anyone says, the ritual of release day is one of the biggest thrills ever for a fan of music. That is the thrill I’m currently engaged in as I write this and because I can’t adjust the fabric of time I’m writing this reflection in order to watch it pass.
So what exactly am I talking about?
I’m talking about the fact that today Nine Inch Nails are releasing their first studio album in five years – titled “Hesitation Marks” – and because I respect music I have waited until its official release date to go to the record store to purchase it. I could have downloaded it, listened to the stream and of course stole it illegally but there is no thrill in that. I can’t interact with the album on a personal level through that ritual and I respect that the young humans and the older humans who have adapted (sigh) feel that the download (legal or illegal) and the stream option are more convenient but they carry no joy or thrill. I may be speaking strictly for myself but I’m willing to bet that the emptiness that sometimes fills your soul when you indulge purely in data comes as a result of there being zero effort involved in your consumption, I mean fuck, you didn’t even leave your house.
This tradition is a cycle that I’m constantly locked in and I plan my whole life around these release schedules. I budget like a motherfucker and make sure I have the adequate funds to buy these records when they are released and the release schedule – as I look at my own personal calendar – is stretched out to December. All of the great music being released between now and then has been budgeted for and I’m already readying my diary and budget for the 2014 schedule. I love buying records and I love going to the record store to do this. I also love going to the record store and buying stuff “just because” but by and large the most thrilling day is release day.
The reason this day is so thrilling is because it rewards your patience. In some cases you’ve been waiting years for this album to be released and leading up to the release you’ve taken every chance to indulge the glimpses, the singles, the tracklist and the artwork but I never go out of my way to try and hear it. I know this modern era gives you more access and chances to hear it but I’ve got no time for that, I respect music way too much.
So on days like today I always find that I’m up early; my excitement outweighs my need for sleep. Everything around me is totally right on, this is the best mood you’ll ever see me in and for all those fools who want to see me at my most happiest and positive I say to you just come round on the morning a new album is being released by an artist I love and you’ll fucking experience that. The few hours between waking up and the record store opening usually involve listening to the artist’s previous works fuelling the excitement further. Then, once 9:00am hits the first thing I do is ring the record store to confirm the album has arrived and is in stock. Once I hear that it is I then drive to the record store to purchase the album.
Walking into the record store and approaching the shelf and seeing the album on the display is one of the most beautiful things ever. I usually spend a moment just staring at that display with a smile on my face, consumed with so much happiness that I could cry. It has finally arrived, release day and here I am just moments away from hearing the new album. I go to the shelf and pick up a couple of the albums until it feels right and then once I’ve picked my copy I go and buy it, hop in my car and put the album on the car stereo and just drive until I’ve heard the whole thing. The remainder of the day I remain in a zone of pure happiness and spend all of my time listening to the album.
There have been album release days where I’ve taken days off work to make sure I had the whole day to listen to the album and there have also been occasions where I have ended up travelling all over town just to make sure I have that album. I’ve been known to buy both the special and standard edition of an album just because I’m caught up in the rapturous moment of release day. I’ve forgone social activities and food just so I can have the money to buy an album on release day. If it’s the difference between going out and socialising or saving my money to buy more records, I’ll take the buying records option any day of the week. I tried the iTunes thing once but it just felt so empty and there was no thrill, it just felt so fucking impersonal and I just couldn’t live myself doing that all the time.
I guess I feel this way because this ritual has been happening ever since I got into music. The levels I would go to in order to make sure I had that album on the day it was released truly astounds me now when I think about it. In high school, instead of spending tuckshop money I’d save it and put it aside to buy new albums that I knew were going to be released. I’d fucking starve at school just so I had enough money put aside to cover the purchasing of those brand new albums. It was always worth it and I’ve developed such meaningful relationships with the artists I love as a result of this ritual.
So what’s the point of this all?
If you love a band or artist, pay the fucking money man – we live in such free society that we can afford to pay for our fucking music but then again sometimes freedom is wasted on the free
To quote my fellow record buying fiend and participant in the release day thrill Luke Dutney:
“I’ll pay what they’re charging for a band I like. If you like a band, buy it. If you download illegally (STEAL) a band’s music YOU ARE NOT A FAN!!! If you don’t like what a band charges don’t buy their shit and shut your mouth … I don’t want to hear your whining!!!”
I couldn’t agree more
Happy Nine Inch Nails Release day – now leave your house you lazy fuck and buy a record at a record store and start respecting music.
Dan Newton xo