I can’t remember the last time I bought a CD.
I’ve been an obsessive Spotify scroller for so long that I almost forgot CDs even existed. It’s a real shame too, because I remember the hours I spent collating playlists and burning CDs as a kid.
Cars and music go hand in hand; they are deeply embedded in culture and also very tech-reliant. So it’s with some joy that I recently rediscovered the CD, and here’s how…
After purchasing my 996 Turbo and travelling some 150 miles home, I’d not really given the stereo much thought. Although this particular car was equipped with the optional Bose system, I spent most of the journey terrified, listening intently for any knocks, bangs, squeaks and rattles. Luckily there were none, but it wasn’t a journey rich in audio pleasure.
The next morning I woke to an email from the previous owner, who, for the purposes of this story, we’ll call Mr. G. We’d shared a good rapport during the sale and he was kind enough to pick me up from the train station, so it was fair to say I owed him one for that favour. The email was to ask if I could return his CDs, and without hesitation I replied with ‘yes, of course’.
This got me thinking though… Mr. G was a gentleman approaching a much finer vintage than I, and despite getting on rather well, to say we come from different walks of life would be an understatement. ‘I wonder what those CDs are?’ I kept thinking.
I’d imagined Mr. G cruising along his favourite road, flicking through the 6-CD stacker, cranking up his tunes. For some reason it made me feel kind of warm inside to think how the car might have been enjoyed before me; Mr. G had certainly looked after it well.
1. Rod Stewart – The Story So Far. The Very Best Of
2. Frank Sinatra – My Way. The Best Of
3. Barbara Streisand – Love Songs
4. Matt Monro – The Singer’s Singer
5. Abba – Gold
6. Celine Dion – All The Way. A Decade Of Song
Knowing how much joy they would have brought Mr. G, I packed them up and prepared to ship them home. But not before my mind wandered and I started to imagine what my perfect 6-CD stack would be. What would I be sliding into the changer to replace them?
The first draft of my list changed over the course of a week, but limiting yourself to just six slots means you must choose classic albums you’ll never tire of. In my 996 the changer sits in the nose of the car, so there’s no swapping them out on the fly: once they are in they are in for the long haul. Here’s what I’ve chosen and one line to explain why:
1. The Streets – Original Pirate Material
If you’re a 30-something from the UK, this will resonate with you.
2. Black Sabbath – Paranoid
I don’t know how something released in 1970 can still be this relevant.
3. Joy Division – Unknown Pleasures
No singles were released from this album and it never charted, which is mind boggling.
4. Wu-Tang Clan – Enter the Wu-Tang
I first heard this in my dad’s Astra Coupe Turbo and it blew my mind – 20 years ago.
5. The Prodigy – Experience
Car culture and rave culture run side by side, and the samples of everyday objects in this is sublime.
6. Kraftwork – The Man Machine
This was made to be enjoyed while travelling at 200mph across Germany.
An added benefit of physical music media is that the sound quality is much better. It’s not something I’d missed with streaming until firing up a CD again, but you can notice the clarity. Perhaps even more fun is the album artwork you get along with the CDs. Some of the sleeve art is awesome; it’s an extra level of communication that gives more context to the music.
So, if like me you’re limited to just six slots in your CD changer, what are you going to choose?