By Brett Essler
Upon accepting the unenviable assignment of living with, and reflecting upon, SuperHeavy (1) for 10 days, my first task was to find a way to obtain the record free of charge. Since I'm too old to understand illegal file sharing, I gravitated toward the public library.
As a former student of pop culture with a painfully slow Internet connection and early bedtime, the library hold queue is the primary method in which I assess cultural currency. For instance, as of this writing I am 756th in line for one of the 266 copies of the Steve Jobs biography and 53rd for 23 copies of the Breaking Bad season two DVD. Library request popularity metrics allow me to nod confidently in the affirmative when these or other cultural touchstones are discussed during holiday party or office water cooler conversations.
For the SuperHeavy CD, I am first in the library queue for two available copies. This demonstrates just how low the expectations were for SuperHeavy among the librarians who order popular music for the collection.
Two weeks pass since I made my request, and I have received no notification from the library. I suspect the CD is in whatever purgatory newly acquired supergroup CDs find themselves in upon receipt by the library: cataloging, processing, transit, shelving. I begin to panic. Will I need to employ a teenager to show me how to download the album from a dubious Russian file-sharing site? Daydreaming, I picture myself being lead out of my apartment building in handcuffs by the FBI, busted for stealing Mick Jagger's intellectual property.
Worse yet, will I have to break down and buy it? Downloading it from iTunes or Amazon would likely be easy, but a digital file has no resale value and I'm too square to try and deduct this on my taxes as a business expense. After looking at the prices on used CD copies, I realize that the physical CD also has no resale value.
My wife suggests one of these hot new streaming services, like Spotify, but I worry that -- by neglecting to uncheck a hidden security box deep with the settings tab -- my musical preferences will be broadcast on the Internet for eternity, or until I can afford $10,000 for a brand reputation management service to issue a cease and desist order to remove the search result.
Finally, like a hypochondriac researching symptoms, I Google "SuperHeavy album" and am directed to a site curiously named Does Like Music. Why, yes, I does. DLM (seriously, no time to spell it out again) is streaming the "deluxe" version of SuperHeavy. This is too easy, why hadn't just done this in the first place? And so, the opening chords or SuperHeavy waft out of my tinny computer speakers and it the reason I was stalling dawned on me. Once you begin a 10-day supergroup challenge there is no turning back. Super heavy, indeed.