There are so many ways that technology has changed my life over the last 16 years - The ability (curse) of being able to work from wherever I am, improved communication, food ordering, reviews, etc, the list is truly endless. But there are very few technological advancements that that I appreciate as much as the ability to instantly identify music.
Remember before Google and Shazam. back when you'd hear a song on the radio (usually in the car) and if the DJ didn't announce the song title before you were out of earshot, you'd probably never be able to identify the song? I hated that. I always felt like there was so much good music that I simply lost because I never could figure out what it was.
Some of my favorite songs, came from times that I'd just refuse to leave the car (or wherever the radio was), until I knew what I was listening to. (This made me very popular with the driver, especially during no-commercial marathons). Without exception, if a song compels me to sit there, unwilling to leave until I have identified it.. it will be a song I listen to for the next 20 years. (so far)
1. Driver 8 - REM. Driving (passengering in my case) down Huguenot Avenue in Staten Island, sometime in late 1985/early 1986. when I heard this on the radio and couldn't believe how much emotion Stipe had in his voice, particularly since he didn't oversing it. I had no idea who R.E.M. were, really, and there was no way I was leaving without the name of the song.
2. The Obvious Child - Paul Simon. This one, I recognized the artist right away, but Rhythm of the Saints had just come out and I had no idea that he'd released a new album. The drums just completely captivated me, and his relatively gentle voice over such large music was irresistible. While he got much more acclaim for Graceland, I will always love this album, and this song remains a pick-me-up when I need it. I saw him in concert on this tour, and it was a stage full of musicians, I think four drummers played this live, and there he was, in his t-shirt and baseball cap, looking small but sounding huge, and never once getting lost amid the 20 or so people on stqge with him
3. Hotel Yorba - The White Stripes. My boyfriend at the time lived on Long Island and I remember sitting in his truck outside his house until the local modern rock station identified who this was. It sounded like nothing else current, and I spent much of the time trying to figure out if it was an old song I hadn't heard before, or something new. I've always been a sucker for countrified rock, and this song (which reminds me still of the Kink's Muswell Hillbilly) was just a perfect blend of genres. That coupled with the anguished tone in Jack White's voice pretty much made me an instant fan.
Now that I have Shazam on my iPhone, I can tell what a song is in 10 seconds.
I'm grateful for the ability to find the songs, and I know that anyone who drives me is grateful for the ability to get out of the car in a timely manner. I do hope, however, that I can still be as engaged by a new song, even if I don't have to be trapped in the car to do so.