Thursday, April 2, 2009

Time shifts and music appreciation

On January 1, 2008, I wrote a post in my mrontemp blog entitled Hashtagging Challenges When Events Occur at Different Times in Different Locations. The post described the difficulties that occurred when Philip Hodgen and I were both tweeting about that day's Rose Parade, and our tweets were flowing into the same Twitter stream. Usually that wouldn't be a problem, except for the fact that I was watching the event on television, toward the beginning of the parade route, and Hodgen was on the streets in Pasadena, toward the end of the parade route. As I noted in my post:

If people had missed our earlier tweets that specified our relative locations along the parade route, people looking at the feed could have reached some erroneous conclusions - for example, that the Salvation Army band was marching next to women in coconut bras. Or that people were suddenly getting tired. Or (if you take all of our tweets into consideration) that many of the entries appeared in the parade twice.

The post actually gave me a bit of notoriety - it was cited in the Twitter Fan Wiki - but I have still continued to muse on the misunderstandings that can occur due to time shifts.

For example, let's say that you just arrived on this planet from another part of the universe, and the first thing that you encountered was this Empoprise-MU blog. As you read the blog, you would see two references to a song called "Life Isn't Easy in Germany" - one from December 2008, and one from April 2009. If you were to look at those two posts, as well as the repeated references to the song in my old ontarioemperor FriendFeed account, you would reach the conclusion that the And One song was one of the most popular songs of 2008.

You would be wrong - the song was released in 1993. It's just that it took me 15 years to get around to hearing it.

I could cite tons of examples from my non-trendy life - for example, the fact that I was familiar with Wings' repertoire before I was familiar with that of the Beatles. Or I could tell on the person (who shall remain nameless) who did not realize that the song "Pretty Woman" was originally recorded DECADES before the Julia Roberts-Richard Gere movie.

That's the funny thing about recorded music. Music can be recorded at one point, then appreciated by others years or decades later. Artists such as the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and Moby can be inspired by things that were, in some cases, recorded before they were born. And you have entire industries based upon oldies music, such as radio stations that play hits from particular decades. Scary thought - at some point, the 1990s will be considered fodder for oldies stations. Wanna listen to Nirvana between Geritol ads?

But one thing is for certain: this time shift only goes in one direction. We can stand here in 2009 and listen to songs from 1999, or 1989, or 1979, or 1959. But we can't go the other way and listen to songs from 2019, or 2029, or 2039, or 2059.

Well, with one exception.

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