| Hey, Eddie, can you lend me a few bucks?
My new hobby is my iPod. I really am converted to their cult. It’s so mind-bogglingly fun to carry all of my music around with me wherever I go.
I’m using it as a way to reconnect to old albums I long ago discarded. I moved a lot in my college years and I jettisoned vinyl albums because they were all used and scratched anyway and I got tired of lugging them around. Besides, you could always find a used record store to buy back the albums for pennies on the dollar. CDs sounded better to me, anyway. Vinyl seemed then–and still now–inferior and obsolete.
One of the albums I’ve recently reunited with is Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run. I’ve got it on shuffle, which mixes its songs with the songs of just about every other album I own. I just heard my favorite song off the album, “Meeting Across the River.”
It’s one of those time-machine songs that transports me to my high school years even though the album was, at that point, more than 10 years old. I had consciously forgotten the song. The title didn’t jump out at me in the track listing the way “Thunder Road” had. Subconsciously, though, I know every word. On hearing it, each line of lyrics popped back into my head just before Bruce delivered it. It’s a weird karaoke feeling.
I came to this part of the song:
Well Cherry says she’s gonna walk
‘Cause she found out I took her radio and hocked it
In my mind, though, the line skips because that’s what it did every time I played that record. I hated that about vinyl. I used to imagine what the line was supposed to sound like, sometimes trying to fix it by singing it out. Now, though, I’m doing the opposite, playing it over and over again, and trying to insert that little vocal hiccup.
My slight disappointment in the song’s digital perfection is temporary. I’ll put the song in “heavy rotation” (now that I’ve found it again) and hearing the correct version will, over time, buff out the uniquely incorrect version inside my head. I’m okay with that.