I bought my very first set of in-ear headphones last weekend. Is that an embarrassing thing for a music critic to admit? Is it even more embarrassing to disclose that they cost $10? I’ve always hated in-ear sets, have always felt safer with earbuds; I remember picking up a decent pair at some point in high school after the Future Shop opened in town and failing to understand how they worked, why they either sounded crappy or hurt my ears. My dad couldn’t figure it out either, and we brought them back the next day and swapped them out for a standard pair of earbuds. Why take the plunge now? Because somehow, I am an adult, or something like one, and I have decided a week or so of ear canal discomfort is worth a considerable jump in day-to-day sound quality. (That, and I have it from a good source that Santa is stuffing some decent headphones in my stocking for Christmas. No word on whether they’re over-ears or in-ears, but I figure I should be prepared either way.) With that said, these headphones are horrendously uncomfortable and tinny to boot, with little bass and a lot of shrillness on the high end. They’re decent with isolation, but I’m having trouble wearing them for periods longer than 20 minutes, and I have no idea which bud is the right size because they all feel awful. Here’s hoping the impending leap in quality is accompanied by an equally sizeable leap in comfort.
I was putting together a few pitches for albums receiving release in the new year, and while completing a bit of background research I realized that this Tumblr has been around long enough for me to have written about listening and seeing these bands live during their previous album cycles. Perhaps it’s foolish of me not to go into every Wednesday night having steeled myself for a “WHOA, time” moment now that I’ve passed 21, but damn, this got to me. Digging up posts from anything before this year with a site search and giving them a quick skim is like opening dozens of short-term time capsules I’ve left around the house and yard, each one holding an empty beer cup from a sparsely attended show or a page from a book I read or a piece of a Grindr chat transcript. Quoth the prophet Drizzy: “I’m really too young to be feeling this old.”
Saving most of my thoughts on this in the hopes they find their way into a lengthier, more focused post or a future review, but seriously: Canada’s greatest musical failure of the ’00s was keeping Sam Roberts trapped within its borders. Find me a Canadian born after 1990 who didn’t, at the very least, spend a year in high school plowing through the Sam Roberts discography and I will demand to see their passport, first health card (red and white, NO PHOTO) and a tape of them performing “O Canada” with a group of elementary school peers.
Oh, and maybe some of you have noticed that I’m not tweeting at @jamiesoncox anymore, and maybe a subset of that group is wondering why I haven’t written anything about it yet. My friend Jake is putting together an ebook, and I’m saving the goods for that, so please stay tuned. For now, I will leave it at this: it was not precipitated by anything other than general frustration and fatigue, I’m feeling pretty good about my life without it, and I’ll log back in on Jan. 1 to recover my data but I’m not sure if I will stick around or slip back into the shadows, handle intact. I’ve also been eating more pizza, but that’s a pretty clear correlation ≠ causation thing, I think.