10 Crack Commandments

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I’m pretty cheap, so I’ve typically streamed music on my phone through Pandora, the free version. 

Of course, when the ads came on in the middle of one of my brief, wheezing workouts I’d act all outraged at the intrusion, almost wanting to storm about my small basement, arms gesticulating wildly and finger pointing at nothing. But that would be crazy, and require more oxygen than I was able to intake, so instead I just fumed and likely looked generally displeased.

Similarly, the dastardly app only allows cheap people to skip a certain amount of songs before offering a bribe of watching a “short video ad from our sponsors to get more.” More being “skips.”

On occasion, as I mashed about on my phone trying to back out of this form of extortion, I’d accidentally hit “Get Skips,” or even the dreaded “Upgrade Now” button, launching me into either a horrific, nonsensical video about Subaru’s remote-vehicle-start-through-your-phone option (It can’t possibly know I own a Subaru can it? Isn’t it just guessing I do because I live in Seattle and there are 6,000,000 Subarus here?) or, worse, a Real Subscription to Pandora, which changes the user interface, utterly confusing me as I don’t like change, so suddenly I can’t finish my workout because I need to find Rage Against the Machine asap to make it through the last three minutes of my 3 mile-per-hour “run.”

It turns out we have a family subscription to iTunes. We’ve had it for more than a year. I’m pretty sure I was informed of this, but was likely distracted by anything shiny that happened to be nearby when I was informed.

Once I found this subscription, I turned into The Guy Who Walks the Dog Looking at His Phone Like a Tool, ignoring my neighbors as I downloaded all my favorite music in haphazard fashion (most of which dates back to the 90’s and super early 2000s, including my beloved Trainspotting Soundtrack and various electronic artists).

iTunes desperately tries to organize this for me, but it stands no chance. I think my app is now the visual equivalent of a college dorm room with various unwashed garments and stained food containers strewn about. At least there’s no equivalent smell emanating from my playlist.

It turns out there’s a closed captioning feature on iTunes, where all the lyrics stream in time with the song.  This has had a profound effect on me and created substantial conflict. Part of me enjoys this closed captioning, as it allows me to finally understand certain garbled or mysterious lyrics from my favorite artists. Another part of me abhors this end to the mystery, the end to talking with peers about what they think was stated in a certain line. It’s kind of like album art (or cassette or CD art) – I miss seeing it, touching it…opening it up to be surprised by its breadth or disappointed in its brevity. 

This also bring up the point, where does Apple obtain all of these lyrics (obviously some artists do not publish them) and how are they verified as accurate?  Don’t tell me, I don’t want to know. 

I will say this – like it or not, reading the lines as they scroll in time with the music makes me realize how incredible song lyrics are, how challenging they seem to create, the genius behind them. Perhaps this means I should try it (ugh, great, now I’ve said it, forget I said that). 

“10 Crack Commandments” by Notorious B.I.G. is playing right now, and while his lyrics are audible and readily decipherable, reading them really blows me away as I imagine him sitting on a couch with a pencil and paper and just writing them out, analog, in time, with lots of scratch-outs, nodding his head as he creates something out of nothing.

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Engaging irreverence, occasional coherence, often pointed, mixed with enough indelicate humor as to create a want, a craving for more.