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There was a time in the not so distant past when a person sitting at a pregame or full-blown house party had their work cut out for them if they wanted to be in charge of the music. It required a playlist that could appeal to everyone’s sensibilities. Every time I go somewhere now, you’ve got people from every corner of the room screaming at a little box to play a song that they want to hear. It’s all about me, me, me, me now.
Back in my day, during the peak of my hard-partying days, Barack Obama was still the President of the United States. We had hope for the future. I was hardly making enough money to pay my rent every month, my iPhone 6 was the latest thing on the market, and I was happy as a fucking clam. It was the tail end of 2014, and it felt like my whole life was in front of me.
I lived for the weekend and I relished in the fact that I was the go-to guy for the aux cord at any and all social functions. I had a playlist that ebbed and flowed for three and a half hours. All sorts of genres populated that playlist, and it wasn’t unlike the olden days when people would sit through an entire record without changing the song.
Okay… so admittedly it’s not totally like that. Trying to find the beginning of one particular song on a record is difficult to do, and on a playlist from Spotify or my personal iTunes library, you can just pick what song you want to hear.
But I’m talking about records of old and my playlists being similar in that you didn’t really want or need to change the song because every single one of them was a certified heater. “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” by Tears for Fears cohabitated with “My House” by Flo-rida and Mark Morrison’s seminal hit “Return of the Mack.”
My taste in music was, and still is, downright democratic. There was simply no need to change a song. All you had to do to get the party jumping, and continue to stay jumping, was let one of my playlists rip. The aux cord stood on its own for years as the go-to way to play music.
Plug the aux cord into your phone or your laptop, hook it up to some premium speakers you took from your parents’ basement or found at a thrift store and the let the motherfucker play. No fidgeting, no requests, no worries. You still had the occasional drunk girl come up and ask where the music was coming from so she could listen to ASAP Rocky’s “Goldie” for the fifteenth time that night, but all you had to do was tell her there were jello shots in the kitchen and she’d forget all about the music.
Nowadays, Bluetooth technology has taken control of the house party scene. And while it is incredibly convenient, and the need for large studio style speakers is no longer necessary with products like the Google Home and Amazon Echo (but let’s just call it an “Alexa” because I like that better).
I don’t want to turn this into a “back in my day everything was simpler and better” but goddamnit, man. I really believe that three or four years ago, at least in the stereo realm, it was better. Every home and apartment I visit now has a Google Home or an Alexa sitting on their kitchen counter or on a shelf in the living room.
Putting aside the fact that these things are absolutely, 100 percent without a doubt spying on you, half of the time these shits don’t even work correctly. Every time you want to change a song using your voice with Google Home, you’ve got to say, “Okay, Google, play ‘New Years Day’ by Taylor Swift on Spotify.”
And while this may seem innocuous and easy to say, just imagine having to say that every single time you want to listen to a song. Imagine trying to do that with a room full of drunk people yelling and carrying on.
The aux cord never made you do shit like that. You plugged it in and you moved on with your life. Half the time you’re trying to talk to one of these new-fangled contraptions it doesn’t even pick up what you said correctly.
So sometimes you’ll want it to play that banger “New Years Day” by Taylor Swift and it will just go “Okay, here’s a radio station I found on Pandora with songs similar to “New Years Day” by Taylor Swift. Not what I fucking asked for, Alexa but thanks for good try, good effort, I guess.
I use the aux cord in my living room still because it’s easy. But it’s also as an ode to a simpler time in my life. One of these days I’m sure an Alexa will finally hit me on my birthday or as a surprise gift, but until then I’m going to continue to use the aux cord. It’s easier and simpler. Plus I like to watch people squirm when I tell them that requests will not be taken inside my home.
In my house, we listen to music with Bose speakers hooked up to an ancient stereo system, and it’s all delivered via a two dollar aux cord that I bought from the now defunct Circuit City. Take your Google Homes and your Amazon Alexas and stick them where the sun don’t shine. .
Image via Unsplash