There’s more bottom, more clarity on Amazon Music HD.
I thought the guy was gonna come and repair/finish the file cabinet today. They shipped me a replacement part, but it turns out he’s coming on Monday.
So I decided to set up my Playbar.
I got one for hosting a panel for Sonos a few years back, about music piracy and the future, remember that? But it sat in a box and when I went to plug it in it wouldn’t update, the software was just too old, even though it was perfectly capable otherwise.
They shipped me a replacement unit and today I hooked it up.
After I recabled my stereo system. Audioquest sent me new cables. The only problem is they’re for either professional or better stereos than the one I have, the cable was too thick. And I spent hours twisting wire, scraping back plastic, wondering if when I was all done whether the stereo would work.
It did. Which stunned me. Truly.
Then I had to hook up the Playbar. It went splendidly until I tried to get rid of the message on the TV, saying the sound was off. I followed the instructions on the Sonos site, but they just wouldn’t work, but then I figured it out. I wasn’t able to control the volume from the remote, but then I was, ah, the feeling of accomplishment! Does anybody do this stuff anymore, or do they just call somebody? Then again, the way the average person lives, there’s no necessity for this stuff. But if you’ve actually got a home stereo…
I want to know how things work. That’s what I loved about computers. I bought my Mac Plus in ’86 to do the “Lefsetz Letter” and I became as intrigued with tech as music. You’d hit a problem and sit in front of the screen, pondering a solution, which would eventually come to you, although sometimes I wasted an entire day and night unable to fix the problem only to call the publisher the following day for them to tell me it was a bug. I mean once I start, I want to finish. I can’t leave things undone.
And Felice was explaining to me how to enter the code for the new zone on the alarm and I couldn’t get it right. I told her I didn’t want to know the steps, that wouldn’t help me, I wanted to know how it WORKED! I guess it’s kinda like that old cliche about giving someone a fish and they can eat for one day, but teach them how to fish and they can eat forever.
Then again, are these skills even necessary anymore? I mean it was the same way a hundred years ago, you had to know how to fix your car, but no one does that anymore unless their car is old or it’s basic maintenance, like changing the oil, everything’s computerized and what’s even better, the cars don’t break regularly like they used to. Try using that excuse sometime, no one will believe it…MY CAR BROKE DOWN! But for decades you heard that, at least in my life.
Now Amazon HD is a sleeper. Spotify and Apple get all the press. And if people think high quality, they think Tidal, maybe Deezer. But Amazon has Alexa. Then again, I find the voice integration works a bit better with Apple Music. Maybe because I don’t have to wake the app up, my iPhone is always ready for Siri, especially in my car, with my new Alpine I call out “Hey Siri!” and she comes alive on screen and I can ask for anything in the pantheon, it’s really cool, really satisfying, makes me smile, you’re not limited to playlists, what you’ve thought of earlier. Sure, I could wake up the Amazon app and click on “Alexa,” but I might have an accident in the process.
But since I’ve got Verizon Unlimited, I’ve been streaming Amazon HD on my hikes, I can hear the difference, but not like on the big rig.
You can take me to paradise
And then again you can be cold as ice
We weren’t expecting much, Fleetwood Mac had been around forever. They’d been through Peter Green, Jeremy Spencer and Bob Welch, they were a blues/rock outfit, part of the firmament, but almost equivalent to Savoy Brown.
But then we heard the above lyrics on the radio.
We were addicted to the radio, FM was part of our DNA like social networks today, only we listened, we did not participate, we knew who the stars were.
And when “Rhiannon” broke from that same LP, Fleetwood Mac became stars. Took quite a while in fact, the better part of six months, but the band went from sideshow to the main stage.
And then came “Rumours.”
Most acts can’t follow up their big hit albums.
But the Eagles did with “Hotel California,” and then Fleetwood Mac did with “Rumours.”
The single was “Go Your Own Way,” which I didn’t come to love until about ten years later, I was looking for the more soulful stuff, the stuff that set your mind free, that allowed you to rattle around inside your own brain.
But I bought “Rumours” the day it came out, I needed it that much, we needed that much.
And the standout track was “Dreams,” you heard it immediately. And sure, Bill Clinton liked “Don’t Stop,” but that was upbeat, and like I said, it’s the mid-tempo stuff that I like, that Fleetwood Mac made its bones on.
Now the first track I had to play over and over again was “Gold Dust Woman.”
But now I’d rather hear “The Chain,” which opens side two. It’s the kind of cut that does not fit the formula, that’s not made for AM radio, it wasn’t until about fifteen years later that people truly acknowledged its specialness and started to talk about it and cover it. Sure, Lindsey’s twinkling, but it’s John McVie’s bass that locks the track down.
Still, if you asked me the best track on “Rumours,” it would be “Gold Dust Woman.” You never heard it on the radio, no one talked about it, but it truly set my mind free, took me away from humdrum life to that place only music can take you, I’m not talking the in-your-face assault which obliterates you, but the kind that expresses humanity.
Did she make you cry
Make you break down
Shatter your illusions of love
And is it over now, do you know how
Pick up the pieces and go home
Oh, it’s so hard to pick up the pieces and go home, you want to stay connected, you’ll work to make it work, like a drug addict who can’t go without, even though after you go cold turkey, you can go someplace better, but it does not feel like that at the time. And some people just cannot be held, they always keep you guessing, are you together or not, are they committed or not, sometimes they’re so troubled by their own challenges that you’re a second class citizen, you can’t fix them.
Now when I used to buy stereo, when I used to evaluate it, decide on which products were superior, my go-to LP was Supertramp’s “Crime Of The Century.” I just pulled it up and I was brought right back, this was long before the band had hits, when you were either part of the club or you weren’t. This was deep and meaningful, this was not about eating kippers and taking the long way home, it was about the indoctrination of young people to their detriment, that’s what people forget about rock music, it was a signpost, a guidebook to an alternative lifestyle, it was different from an AM ditty, it was deeper, the musicians were religious figures, that’s why you had to go to the show, not to hang out with your buds and shoot selfies but to communicate with the gods, to bathe in their wisdom.
I had a half-speed mastered version of “Crime Of The Century,” still do, but now my go-to stereo evaluation track is “Gold Dust Woman,” can the stereo reproduce Mick Fleetwood’s bass drum after the lyrics end, can it pick up John McVie’s descending bass notes? Can it sear my soul?
We wanted to get closer to the music, it just wasn’t sauce, something you worked out to…actually, we didn’t work out and our music wasn’t portable, you bought the best stereo you could afford to luxuriate in the essence, to be taken away.
So it’s kinda funny. If you’re interested in statistics, this essence doesn’t appear, it can’t be quantified and these stellar cuts are not cookie-cutter and don’t fit the hit radio paradigm.
So I’ve got a Sonos box hooked up to my stereo. I can stream from my phone, from my desktop, and after spending hours getting everything connected, that’s what I did.
And I immediately pulled up “Gold Dust Woman.”
It sounds so sweet.