I’m not saying I’m against having bonus tracks on CDs. It’s just… why hide it? Why go to that effort? Why not just stick an extra track at the end and say “Here – this is an extra song. A bonus, if you will. It will come on, as track 12, immediately after track 11, so that you don’t even have to look for it. Please do enjoy it with our compliments.”
Perhaps if I were a less forgetful and also less jumpy person, it wouldn’t bother me as much. But it’s quite honestly getting to the stage where a hidden track has almost led to me crashing the car more times than I can count on my fingers. It’s the CDs with an extra track at the end – where, after the “last” song, the CD doesn’t automatically go back to track 1 again. Instead, it stays on the final track, playing only silence. Then, about ten minutes later it reaches the bonus track, which you’d miss if you just went back to the beginning.
It happened me again tonight. My problem is that I am easily distracted, and will often become lost in my own little world. A lot of the time I depend upon modern technology doing things for me, because otherwise I would forget. Simple things, like the microwave beeping every 30 seconds to tell me there’s still something in it. Rio the Clio making a subtle but effective siren-like noise to tell me I’ve left my lights on again. That type of thing. So, were it not for the fact that my CD player not only automatically begins to play when I start the car, but also goes back to track one by itself when the CD is over, I would probably drive around in silence a lot of the time, simply because I would never remember to press play.
You can see why it might be a problem, then, that on some of my CDs there is a ten-minute period of silence before a hidden track. I just don’t realise that the music has stopped; I carry on driving, lost in my thoughts. Then, suddenly and without warning, on comes the hidden track. By this stage I have forgotten that I was ever listening to a CD. Or that I had it on full blast. It doesn’t help when the artist in question has chosen a particularly upbeat track with which to surprise me. There is no soft piano intro, no gentle acoustic strum. No, it is a full-on Big Band extravaganza, with drums, electric guitars, and a loud blast of a harmonica. In short, it is like an announcement of The End Of The World. In my car.
There I was tonight, sitting at the end of the Waveney Road at a dubious will-I-won’t-I sort of Give Way junction. I was on my way to deliver Granny’s birthday card, and wondering if the Spar in Galgorm sold decent flowers. A bus was ambling towards me, and I hesitated for a moment before deciding I could easily nip out in front of it. I put my foot down, released the clutch, and began turning left. At that precise moment, the sound explosion of the hidden track filled the car. “Flamin’ Nora!!” I squealed, quite bizarrely. I have never used that phrase before in all my life – I can neither explain nor justify it. The steering wheel slipped beneath my hands and I veered towards a queue of stationary traffic, whilst my feet panicked on the pedals and caused the car to start some sort of roaring, bouncing expedition. I was the whole way out to Galgorm before I stopped hearing my heart pounding in my ears.
I bet they don’t consider this sort of thing when they’re producing CDs, you know.