Monday, September 04, 2006

Why I Love My iPod and Hate Trendiness

School is officially back in full swing, and that means that everyone is out and about and walking to class. And what is it that it seems like everyone has? More pervasive than freshmen in Illini shirts, fake blonde hair, or effeminate Polos? Those little white headphones, and the iPods attached to them.

Walking around campus, I'd have to guess that about one in three people have an iPod on, just going by all the standard white headphones I see. The thing that I question is how many of these people have iPods more as a fashion accessory than as the incredibly useful mp3 player that they are.

I got my iPod years ago as my high school graduation present, and since day one, it has not had any less than the full 40 GB filled. At the time, they were a newer thing, and weren't a totally universal trend yet. (Mine is a 3G, old by comparison to most. I mean really, how many iPods do you see that have the buttons instead of the clickwheel?)

Since I'm averse to trendiness, but love technology and have an addiction to listening to music all the time, I'm torn over how to feel about explosion of popularity in iPods. They're incredibly good at what they were designed for, I just have my doubts that people really care about anything other than keeping with the trend. It's like Ugg boots; I'm sure they're warm and all, but really, that's not the reason people buy them.

One of the biggest indicators to me that people have iPods solely as a fashion accessory is that everyone wears those damnable white iPod headphones. Now, if it was just a pair of nondescript, white set of headphones, I'd be fine, but I have quite a few problems with the iPod headphones. First of all, they're uncomfortable, and on top of that, don't stay in your ears well at all. Also, they really suck when it comes to sound quality, which should be your number one concern if you actually bought your iPod to listen to music. Coming back to the Ugg boots analogy, while I'm sure they're warm, when someone's wearing them with a skirt and tube top in line for Kam's in January, warm isn't really their concern. People wear the iPod headphones because they honestly don't care about the music coming out of them, they want everyone on the street to know that they have an iPod.

As for myself, my iPod is barely recognisable as such, with a blue rubberized cover on it to protect it. For headphones I have some decent Sony earbuds for walking around with, and some high end Sennheiser headphones for really doing any decent listening or DJ'ing. I wear my iPod because I want to have my own personal little soundtrack as I'm walking to class, and even though I know it shouldn't faze me, I still cringe whenever I see the girl on the bus with her iPod Nano with the white headphones and Ugg boots.

1 comment:

Paddy said...

Just for you, Kyle, I found some of my favorite quotes from Chuck Palahniuk's "Lullaby".

"You turn up your music to hide the noise. Other people turn up their music to hide yours. You turn up yours again. Everyone buys a bigger stereo system. This is the arms race of sound. You don't win with a lot of treble.
"This isn't about quality. It's about volume.
"This isn't about music. This is about winning.
"You stomp the competition with the bass line. Your rattle windows. You drop the melody line and shout the lyrics. You put in foul language and come down hard on each cussword.
"You dominate. This is really about power."

...

"These music-oholics. These calm-ophobics."