25 November 2006

Lost in the Sale Rack Jungle

Why is it that when I'm sitting at home, I can list about thirty CDs I want, but when I head to Tower's Going Out of Business Sale, I can't remember one? This happens to me in used CD stores, too. I look at the aisles brimming with copies of "Cosmic Thing" by B-52s and the "No Alternative" compilation, and I get overwhelmed. As was the case today at Tower, I wander aimlessly past shelves full of discount albums, and my brain goes numb.

This is why I prefer to shop only when I have a very specific item in mind. Otherwise, I get distracted by stuff I don't really want but still feel compelled to examine. Today, for instance, since i didn't have a goal, I allowed myself to study the track list of "Paula Cole's Greatest Hits" and an album by When in Rome.

Inexplicably, I also scoured Tower for CDs I already own. I was actually excited to see that they had a copy of Madonna's "I'm Breathless," which I've bought both on CD AND cassette. (ca-what? exactly.)

Why did finding the CD in a store make me genuinely happy? Sometimes, I'm a mystery to myself.

When I'm not seeking out my own catalogue, my approach in these cheap music environ-
ments often devolves into a vague hope for inspiration. I cast my eyes over the "rock/ pop/r&b" bins, believing that somehere... somewhere among all these Aaron Carter albums there is one CD that's waiting for me. If I can just see it, if it can just reveal itself to me like Excalibur rising from the water, then I will claim it and be changed.

Sometimes, I imagine I hear the fantasy CD whispering my name. It calls to me, muffled behind stacks of unwanted greatest hits collections.

And most of the time, I don't have the patience to answer its call. If there's too much stuff in a store, I get tired of looking around. Inevitably, I abandon all my expectations of finding the perfect disc and instead just look for interesting stuff that's immediately visible. Endcaps? Yes, please!

Today, though, that path of least resistence proved fruitful. Lazily scanning the "L" shelf, I spotted "The Essential Cyndi Lauper. At 40% off, it was only $8. RIng it up!

A few minutes after leaving, I realized I should have looked for Regina Spektor's new album. But it was too late, of course. I contented myself with Cyndi, holding her collection over my head like a warrior's prize.



At 8:35 PM, Anonymous AdamH said...

No more Tower Records?! Damn.

Paula Cole's Greatest Hits? I'm sorry. Was that a 3-track CD? :D (I did purchase her CD, what was it, "This Fire" or some such in a moment of weakness. 10 years on it's still just as lousy.)

It's getting harder and harder to buy music in the real world. :(

At 11:28 PM, Blogger Mark Blankenship said...

No love for Paula Cole, huh? Well, I can understand that. "This Fire" does get pretty damn self-indulgent. For me, though, there are still a few songs on there that I like.

That said, there's no reason for her greatest hits to have over a dozen songs. Yes, over a dozen. And none of them remixes!


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