I have never really felt for the CD as a physical product. To have the feeling for holding it, looking at it, open and discover it. I have never been anywhere close to the excitement I felt when I finally held a wished-for vinyl in my hands. Nostalgic illusions? Maybe.
And even if it doesn’t explain the big changes in the music industry, it meant that I rather painlessly could lose the plastic in favour of harddrives, memory cards and web streams.
But a couple of months ago, when I got my hands on Pär Edwardson’s CD “Bodybuilding – but with centimetre”, that “hold in a physical album”-feeling awoke. Wisely the ugly transparent plastic plastic cassette had been replaced with a hardboard cover. On the album front the protagonist himself was portrayed in a photo taken in his youth, with hair style and clothes typical from those days. When I opened the album I found a small collection of similar photos from the same era with names below each. “Is that really Kee Marcello? No, surely not, or…” Simply put, a small photo album. On the right there was a pocket containing a folded mini poster. Unfolded it showed me the origin of the album title “Bodybuilding – but with centimetre” and on the back side of the poster, all the lyrics. A mini adventure to sum it up.
It was also an adventure listening through the record. Even though I had listened to Pär Edwardson before, it was somewhat of a surprise for me. I expected a record filled with his great pop songs, late-Beatles-melodic with his special touch and sound, unique in themselves and that really stick in my mind after listening a couple of times. Subtle, satirical lyrics where some frases together with melody form good hooks. And sure, I found those songs, but also a lot more than that: lo-fi blues, hard rock (with Kee Marcello Marcello as guest), a couple of covers (Thunderbolt, Whip It!), interludes, a wiener waltz, long songs, short songs. And also these fantastic pop songs I knew from before. Confusing? Hardly. Instead it formed a whole that I haven’t grown tired of, held together with the feeling Pär Edwardson wanted to convey when he created the album. A real album!
Even if physical containers of music may be on their way out, I do hope that artists continue to create albums. Albums where there is space for more than the most direct songs. Chapters, timebound or not, of the musicians’ artistry which we can read through and come back to and experience. When it comes to Pär Edwardson, I happen to know that he is working on a new album, and I’m grateful for that.
Listen to three tracks from the album “Bodybuilding – but with centimetre?”:
Visit Pär Edwardson: