The bargain CD bin
When I visited my friend Susanna last year in the British Virgin Islands, she mocked me for continuing to purchase CDs.
“You still buy CDs?” she asked. “Why?” Then she speculated that my irrational attachment to physical media was in line with my years-long refusal to get a cell phone, or switch my email from AOL to gmail.
Susanna is right: I am a technophobe. I usually regard new technology with suspicion, before eventually breaking down and accepting it. About three years ago I decided to give up landline and rely entirely on my cell phone, and I made the transition to gmail long before that. So I’m not completely incorrigible. However, I cannot bear the thought of converting my music collection from disc to digital. My CD racks line the wall, and help keep albums and bands I might otherwise forget about at the forefront of my mind. Keeping all my music on a little gadget or my laptop doesn’t seem like nearly as much fun, or as interesting.
I also enjoy swinging by the occasional music store or yard sale and sifting through the used CDs for good deals. With the decline of the music store, such trips have become much less frequent, but not too long ago I found myself at a flea market in New Hampshire, and in front of a table filled with used CDs. Now, I maintain a mental list of music, and there’s usually something I want to get — the new XX CD, or an old Runaways album, to name two bands currently on my mind. But used CD bins often contain albums you didn’t even realize you wanted, until you saw them. At the flea market, I found two CDs I suddenly felt desperate to own: George Michael’s “Faith” and Young MC’s “Stone Cold Rhymin.’” Even if these CDs proved to be a huge disappointment, I would only be out $2. How could I walk away from a deal like that?
Both “Faith” and “Stone Cold Rhymin’” have been in my possession for about a month, and I’d say it was $2 well spent. My college roommate used to play “Faith” from time to time, and I came to recognize the songs “Faith” and “I Want Your Sex” as extremely catchy pop hits, and the song “Father Figure” as a world-class power ballad, if you’re in the mood for that sort of thing. I purchased “Stone Cold Rhymin’” so that I could achieve my lifelong dream of owning a copy of “Bust a Move,” but the other songs on the album, such as “Principal’s Office,” are pretty good, too. Both “Faith” and “Stone Cold Rhymin’” make for good driving music, as they are both fun to sing along with. I don’t make nearly as many mix CDs as I used to, but the mix CDs I make in the future will likely include “Bust a Move.”
In any case, it’s hard to see completely rejecting CDs when buying CDs still holds such simple pleasure for me. I still buy books, too, for pretty much the same reason. And unless I have to, I see no reason to stop hunting around for musical and literary gems.
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