Straight from my guy Jeff D Lowe where the D stands for diabolically nostalgic hypotheticals. This was one of the most conflicting decisions a young man had to make from maybe 2002-2009: how to get your iPod hooked up to the car speakers. On one hand you have the ugly yet reliable cassette-tape auxiliary chord. On the other, we see an FM transmitter that feeds to the auto-aux power outlet aka cigarette charger. If you were around to witness this rivalry then you already know shit's about to get very real.
But first: some appreciation for an iPod. I haven't thought about iPods in forever.
Absolutely crazy to think of all the effort it took to get music in your pocket. All the chords and manual downloads and CD exports and dragging and dropping and logging into iTunes and that one free U2 album nobody asked for and on it goes. Just an absolute fucking grind to get your playlist organized and uploaded to your portable mp3 player.
Back in my day I had to play music to listen to it
Point is we've come so far that I can't even begin to entertain auxiliary devices without explicitly appreciating the hardware of the era first. And now that I really think about it - they should actually bring iPods back. Every time we consolidate technology on our phones, guys like me lose an easy Christmas/birthday present for loved ones. iPods make a great fucking gift.
I didn't mean a Shuffle
Unfortunately time and technology has passed so much that the mere sight of Jeff D Lowe's tweet ruptured my nostalgic nerve center like an X-wing proton torpedo finding the sweetspot on a Death Star main reactor. And if that doesn't make any sense, just know I respect the shit out of Jeff D Lowe and that's my way of showing it in this blog.
But ultimately the big question is which one of these auxiliary devices did you prefer and to me that's a layered question. You need to consider both sides of the argument before making any big judgments here.
The cassette tape was so steady but it was a nightmare when you had to bundle it up. If you shared a car with your parents then absolutely zero shot Dad wanted that 27 foot cord taking up space in the cupholders. He wants news radio 780 WBBM playing softly and news radio 780 WBBM only. The knots that come from the cassette were unspeakable, and the wiring was sure to come apart creating the illusion of a fire hazard. It still worked but the shelf life on those things was weak.
The FM transmitter on the other hand was so sleek. You were cool for even trying to use an FM transmitter, and anyone worth their shit had at least 3 on deck at any time. That's because they rarely worked but when they did it was the sweetspot. Usually that means driving in large metropolitan areas with strong radio signals. The second you got into the corn fields on the way to college, that thing was shot.
Personally I found myself trying the hardest with this device:
A complete sham from apple. The neck was so weak you spent most of the time propping up your iPod while holding mapquest with the other. It was a recipe for disaster and I'm glad those days are behind me. But again - for the 5% of the time the Road Trip worked - you were on top of the world.
End of the day though you have to put aesthetics aside and consider the most important thing. And that's having the playlist there when you need it. Even if you have to wrap the cassette like you're cleaning up the tackle box one last time for the winter… it was worth the hassle in the long run. Nothing worse than having the playlist ready for the 3-day weekend at your friend's parents' lake house and then realizing you can't get the FM signal. I know it's boring but give me the sure thing all day.
PS - we had Jeff D Lowe on the Snake Draft this week. Definitely worth a watch on the Barstool Chicago YouTube page