I am not a luddite. Far from it. I love to pull up a playlist I effortlessly made on my phone’s Spotify app and send it to my Bluetooth speakers. I am quite pleased that the years of Limewire, a 200-cd booklet and taping songs off the radio are now behind me. But there are some things I miss. One of those is combing through a record layout to read the list of bands that are thanked.
One of the reasons, of course, is because that used to be a wonderful way to figure out what other bands you should be checking out. That was pretty much an explicit stamp of approval that if you like their band, then all of these bands are going to be up your alley. While that wasn’t always true (why did everyone always thank Mucky Pup?), a good band’s thanks list became a valuable reference when writing new albums on the folded-up list you kept in your wallet for any time you neared a record store.
True, we are no longer in those times, when the risks and rewards were so much higher. Buying a CD just because you saw the band name-checked by Life of Agony seemed like a totally normal maneuver back then, compared to today when that kind of investment and palpable excitement seems irresponsible or deranged. Like I said, I don’t really miss that, and while the ease of music consumption today may have removed some romanticism, I try and not take for granted how convenience has allowed so many forgotten or ignored gems to fall into my lap.
But there is one thing I think that future generations will miss out on thanks to the disappearing thanks lists.
See, for those who didn’t grow up in LA or London or a subway ride away from CBGB’s, thanks lists represented a community. Here were people that were touring and playing together and being this entity that you so wanted to be a part of. These musicians had become friends, bonded, were fully supportive of each other playing music while your band struggled just to find a show, or keep band members; or maybe you were one of the people at home writing riffs and lyrics without a band, though you knew exactly what you would call it.
Among all the goals and daydreams of the wanna-be metal musician, there was that relatively modest one where some day soon you’d open a new CD, search the layout and, crammed in that long list of bands you idolized, there would be your name.