As micro-SD cards have grown in capacity and come down in price, I have gradually moved almost my entire digital music collection to my smartphone. That includes music purchased in the mp3 format, mostly from Amazon music, about 75% of my CD collection that I ripped to mp3 files on my computer, and even some mp3s recorded from vinyl. That means that there are something north of 6000 music files traveling with me every day. I have very eclectic musical tastes ranging from what we used to call hard rock to jazz to the most delicate of chamber pieces and sting quartets. I also like my music loud. My wife, Muri, does not, not like her music loud or share my broad tastes. As a result, I listen to music my way mostly when I am alone in the car or on headphones. My Bose Quiet Comfort headphones are my favorite when I’m working or napping in my recliner. Yes, I like my music loud when I nap But in the park, particularly when I’m walking I prefer earbuds. Therefore, walking is when I explore old … mostly forgotten … favorites in my collection. One way to do this is to put my music player app, PowerAmp, into its Shuffle All mode, giving a random assortment of 6,000 plus songs. Yes, that sometimes means listening to Diana Krall singing Jingle Bells in June or putting up with with that one clunker on the Electric Light Orchestra’s Greatest Hits. But I also get to hear forgotten favorites like Sting’s When We Dance.
Of course, the other approach is to scan through the roughly 600 albums on my micro-SD card and pick one I haven’t listened to in a while. Monday night, I was feeling antsy at about 8:30 in the evening and decided to take a walk in the neighborhood. That is not a decision to be made lightly because we live at the top of a hill … unless I want to walk back and forth on our cul-de-sac for forty minutes, my walk is bound to include a substantial elevation change. Standing in our driveway, I started my Runkeeper app, which monitors my distance and records a map of my course, and I opened PowerAmp. Flipping though the Album menu, I picked out Johnny Mathis – 16 Most Requested Songs. I know what you’re thinking … slow walk guaranteed.
But the evening was cool and the moon was full and as I let the nostalgia of the most romantic singer of my adolescence slip over me, my pace settled into my usual 19 minute miles. In my high school years, Mathis’ album, Heavenly, always made it to the turntable at parties when we tired of twisting to The Twist and cha-cha-ing to Only the Lonely. And at the University of Connecticut, my college sweetheart and I saw Johnny Mathis in person, holding hands in the Brundage Auditorium. Yes, she’s still my sweetheart and also my wife.
A Certain Smile (a certain face, can send a unsuspecting heart on a merry chase). Heavenly (that’s how it feels when you’re with me). Chances Are (’cause I wear a silly grin the moment you come into view).
Corny old love songs in a cynical age. Maybe we’re better off with a more realistic view of love. But at 70, I’m happy to be a romantic whose cynicism runs and hides when the love songs come on. And no one writes lyrics like this anymore.
Have a great weekend.