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Not bragging, but our music was much better

When it comes to how we listen to music, we've gone full circle.

Back when I was a little girl, I can remember almost exactly when music came into my life. I was a 9-year-old kid in Houston and my brother Mark rigged me a speaker about the size of your hand to a transistor radio to put under my pillow at night.

I remember lying there listening to Paul McCartney's "Uncle Albert," a strange little song that sort of ignited my perception of the world beyond the small view I'd had till then.

Some of you may need to Google the words "transistor radio." That was back when FM was a luxury and we listened through the buzz and static to local radio and heard what they wanted us to hear.

Later, when I was in my early 20s, I lived with my brother again in an apartment in Dallas. He had two speakers that were about the size of a refrigerator. We lived in a loft apartment with high ceilings, so Mark raised them up and hung them from the ceiling, creating what we now call "surround sound."

Mark was a pretty cool guy. I miss him like crazy.

I'd pull up in the parking lot and I could hear music blasting from our apartment from 100 yards away. The neighbors loved us.

Anyway, over time speakers got smaller, and when I bought my first sound system the speakers were down to about 4 feet high, paling in comparison to Mark's massive yet premiere speakers.

Then, first came the Walkman, then came the iPod. Personal music got real personal and people starting plugging their music right into their ears. Finally, Bose and others came out with relatively tiny speakers that had great sound. It was revolutionary. We no longer needed a moving van to carry around our sound systems; they could fit in our pockets and our bags.

But now the smartphones have nudged the iPod and MP3 players out the door and people are "streaming" their music. My daughter recently introduced me to Spotify, where for about $10 a month I can listen to whatever I want. And not only that, I can search and steal any other Spotify subscriber's play lists, from celebrities to cool people I know who have a better knowledge of the music that's out there than I do, thereby broadening my musical palate.

But once again, people are either plugging it into their ears or just listening off their phones, which, despite advanced technology, still to me has the tinny ring of the old transistor radio. Where is the sound you could feel deep in your chest, the sound that filled the air in your home and rattled the glasses on the shelves?

Come to think of it, that might explain the constant ringing I have in my ears.

Oh, but I still miss it.

Generationally speaking, I guess what I'm trying to say is ... we were way cooler than you guys are.

And don't get me started on turntables, records and CDs. The days of truly exploring an artist and hearing what they have to say are gone ... most of us just hear what the promoters want us to hear.

It's another case of technology advancing us into a corner. While for me at least, right now, there's no turning back, I know what I'm missing, and I feel the loss, just a bit.

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