The Rich Girls Are Weeping

28 March 2006

Do this thing with me instead of tying on a tight one tonight -- or a brief message to our dear readers:

We all love free things. Everyone does, especially when it comes to new music. For a lot of us, a love of music is an expensive, nasty habit -- and the mp3 blog is like the methadone we need to keep our monthly budgets under control.

Opponents of the digital distribution of music (legal or otherwise), be they record executives or audiophiles, always fall back on the same old line that that the mp3 just isn't the same quality as an actual hard copy of the music that you'd purchase in a record store or other retailer -- be that a CD or vinyl, due to the compression of music files such as mp3s or AACs or m4as.

This isn't bullshit, it's completely true. Even the files you're paying a dollar a pop for at the iTunes music store aren't anywhere near a comparable quality either (though I'm sure there are people who will tell me I'm wrong, or wrong for questioning Apple's obviously successful business practices, but I digress...). If we were all listening to FLACs or other lossless files, I'd be telling you a different story here.

Anyway, my point here is that generally, most music isn't of the depth or quality for there to really be a need to hear the hard copy versus an mp3 -- if anything, that's the one lesson the mp3 blog has taught us!

However, with that being said, I finally picked up a hard copy of the new Neko Case album, The Fox Confessor Brings the Flood, last night after listening to mp3s for the past few months.

The sheer bulk of extraneous sounds and luscious texture that I was hearing for the first time was so overwhelming that it literally drove me to tears (there we go, crying again -- never say we didn't name this blog accurately -- well, we aren't rich, and nor are we the upper class feminists Eno was parodying in his song, but I digress...).

I can't encourage you more strongly to pick this album up, everyone involved needs your support, as well as your hard-earned cash -- and besides, I haven't even begun to discuss the gorgeous liner notes which are themselves an objet d'art -- with illustrations by Julie Morstad and collage/assemblage by Neko -- that merits serious long-term perusal and admiration.

That's all, I just needed to get that off my chest. Thanks for (and keep) reading our little words here and sampling the music that we think you might like. But, most importantly -- keep supporting the musicians whose art you love.


Blogger Pat said...

I hope Neko turns this into a series of children's books: "Fox Confessor Controls The Hurricane", "Fox Confessor Transmits The Avian Flu", "Fox Confessor Orders A Second Season Of 'The War At Home'", and, of course, "Fox Confessor Has Two Mommies".

Tuesday, March 28, 2006 8:29:00 PM  
Blogger chris said...

Well said.

Also, I think I know your answer but how does this record compare with "Blacklisted"? I liked a lot of what I heard on that, but after a bit it started sounding like the same note getting struck.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006 8:29:00 PM  
Blogger kathryn said...

No, you're right, most audiophiles I know won't touch iTunes Music Store files because they only go up to 128 kbps. It's pretty obvious when you compare a 192kbps MP3 file with an iTunes Music Store file of the same song. But as we all know iTunes Music Store's business model is really about the 99-cent disposable pop song, the masses at large don't really care.

I'll probably be picking up a hard copy of Fox Confessor Brings the Flood ASAP thanks to you. Gracias.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006 12:08:00 AM  
Anonymous brian said...

Wow, my purchase of Fox Confessor was what made me think the exact same thing! I sat here, headphones on, stupefied by all the things I could never hear on the computer files.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006 3:08:00 AM  
Blogger Fried Rice said...

i couldn't agree more.

"fox confessor" is a great album.

apart from the obvious advantages mp3s have (with the whole posting on blogs thingie) they can never compare to the music on vinyl or even on a cd. which is one of the reasons why i always like to pick up hard copies of good albums - even if i already know all the songs.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006 7:30:00 AM  
Anonymous karen said...

it's awesome that you took the time to point this out.

i think i always noticed a difference, but spending lots of my free time with an analog-inclined engineer has only made it more obvious what the limitations of mp3s are. no matter how high the bitrate they sound different, digital, compressed. this is part of the reason i don't have an ipod (they're great and they have their uses; i'm just very aware of their limitations), and it's a big reason why i'll be one of the last people to abandon my cds for electronic files floating around in the ether (when that inevitably happens).

people think that if computers are involved, if the music is made of 1s and 0s, then there's no error. nothing could be further from the truth. that's why the digital clocks and converters the big pros use cost thousands of dollars. if you're sampling something thousands of times per second, you can't be even a little off on timing or amplitude or the end result will be mud. once you introduce file compression like in an mp3, that adds a whole other level of possible error and muddiness.

mp3s are great for sampling and for getting something across when there's no other convenient way, but if you really love a piece of music they're no substitute for a proper recording.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006 11:42:00 AM  
Anonymous mjrc said...

I got all verklemps reading your account of the Fox Confessor. If just reading about it makes me cry, it'll really be worth plunking down the cash.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006 3:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

just passing this entry...
hey you sound like you hate itunes and ipod...
and if you do....
it's a total waste of money buying music from there and the player itself sucks. not only that...the people who have ipods use the ear pieces and GOSH THEY PLAY IT SO LOUD! they ruin their hearing whil trying to be cool. it's so sickening.
ok ok i'm done ranting about this now.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006 6:57:00 PM  
Blogger cindy hotpoint said...

It's amazing how people can really miss the point entirely.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006 6:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Mikey said...

I just wanted to let you know, Ms. Weeping Rich Girl, that I heeded this command immediately, tho I eventually succumbed to the iTunification of my life and ripped the album losslessly. Still, you are so right: thank you!

Thursday, March 30, 2006 6:00:00 PM  

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