Confessions of a File-Swapping Drama Queen

When Napster became popular in late 1999, it gave me instant access to all the music I could possibly want to hear–you name it, and chances are I was downloading it during my days on Vic 6. (While we’re at it, how great was Reznet when it was actually fast? I used to wake up at 6 o’clock in the morning for the sole purpose of downloading…and yes, this probably helps to explain why girls wouldn’t talk to me in first year.) But while I devoted at least 50% of my downloading efforts to finding rare and unreleased Pearl Jam songs, I also spent a lot of time searching out music I would never, under any circumstances, have ever dreamed of purchasing–either because it sucked and yet mysteriously appealed to me (see: the Bloodhound Gang, “I Wish I Was Queer So I Could Get Chicks”) or because actually buying it would have been an emasculating experience (the Backstreet Boys, “I Want It That Way”). This, I feel, is the real reason a lot of music fans are also such passionate file swappers: because the new technology has enabled us to build a collection of embarassingly bad music, yet also afforded us an excuse (“it’s free!”) so we don’t have to feel embarassed about acquiring it. So when the music label executives were whining about file sharing leading to dwindling album sales, it always puzzled me…I mean really, how many people who downloaded a copy of “Oops! I Did it Again” would actually have gone out and bought the album?

The answer, I feel, is very few…and in the spirit of full disclosure, here are some of the embarassingly bad mp3s currently clogging up my hard drive:

  • ABBA, “Waterloo” and “The Name of the Game” (go on, I dare you to hate on either of these songs…not to mention almost any other ABBA song…)
  • Beyonce (feat. Jay Z), “Crazy in Love” (I can actually justify its presence–it’s related to a patient from KGH)
  • Coldplay (one song would be heinous enough, given what I’ve written about them in the last little while…I have five)
  • Cyndi Lauper, “Time After Time”
  • Deee Lite, “Groove is in the Heart”
  • Destiny’s Child, “Bootylicious” (this one I can’t explain away)
  • Deniece Williams, “Let’s Hear it for the Boy” (yes, that’s Footloose)
  • Len, “Steal My Sunshine” (although I feel as though songs related to Frosh Week ’99 should fall under some sort of exemption clause)
  • Not one, but two songs from the Mamma Mia! cast recording
  • Mandy Moore, “Candy” (but at least I don’t have the video on my hard drive)
  • Mandy Moore, “God Only Knows” (I wonder what Brian Wilson thinks about all this…)
  • Mindless Self-Indulgence, “Tom Saywer” (MSI and Rush? Surely you jest)
  • Nas, “Get Down” (which I didn’t even realize was on my computer until it randomly came up a few minutes ago)
  • Neil Diamond, “Forever in Blue Jeans” (hehehe)
  • Pat Boone, “Love Letters in the Sand” (don’t ask)
  • Pink Floyd, “Comfortably Numb” (I don’t care if it’s the Live 8 version–I should be tried and convicted for treason for having this drivel on my computer)
  • Vitamin C, “Smile” (again, the frosh week rule applies…which also explains why “Where Are We Running?” by Lenny Kravitz is still on here)

The real gems are on a random CD-RW I’ve got filed away somewhere in this room of mine; if you could see some of the titles on that disc you’d probably want to vomit in your own mouth. But this, I think, is the reason that file sharing absolutely rules: it lets you own bad music, but gives you an easy out if you feel the need to justify having it. Which sort of undermines the very purpose behind this blog entry, actually…

Finally, two unrelated items of business:

  • If you’ve ever had a woman accuse you of not listening to her…well, now you have an excuse.
  • As tempting as it was to write off a day of my life in the hopes that the “Rolling Stones at the Phoenix” rumours were actually true, the thought of spending the night camping out on Sherbourne Avenue all alone just wasn’t that appealing. Plus, why bother paying $10 to see the Stones in a club when you’re already paying $75 to see them from the second-last row of the Rogers Centre? I’ll tell you: because the company wouldn’t be nearly as good.
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