I had about an hour to kill while waiting for them to re-install the cd/mp3 player in my 4Runner, so I wandered around the Best Buy store to pass the time.
For record store day, I did a little article on record stores-which turned out to be an excessively long article that reminisced the importance of those places while honestly acknowledging that I don’t miss them much any more.
There was a long-standing dream that I had where I wanted to run a record store, but who didn’t? The plan was to open up one in Macomb, Illinois-a small college town in West Central Illinois that may have had a record store already, if I recall. I just remember visiting the community once where everyone was in the town square for some celebration. Most of the stores were open to take advantage of the traffic, but the record store was suspiciously closed.
This seemed unbelievably stupid.
So the business plan was to be open during local events and to make sure that every Beatles album was in stock. I was convinced that eventually, people would want to buy every Beatles album ever made.
What stopped me? The owner of the Record Collector.
Actually, he never came out and discouraged me. In fact, it was just the opposite. We were having a conversation once and I was telling him how lucky he was and how I wanted my own record store too. I jokingly said “I would totally buy your store if you ever wanted to sell it.”
Not even a second past before he replied “I’ll sell it to you if you want to buy it.”
I thought he was joking at first, but he was dead serious.
I became suspicious.
Anyone who wanted to sell their established record store that quickly clearly knew something that I didn’t and what was known was probably not that good.
Looking back now, of course, I’m very glad that my “I want to own a record store” dream never made it out of the bullshitting stages.
But back to Best Buy…
I’m walking through the cd section, which if you haven’t been there in a while, you’ll be amazed at how small it is lately. For real: the fucking Blu-Ray DVD section is now competing for its floorspace, and I’m not totally convinced that Blu-Ray is even a legitimate product.
Nonetheless, I slowly make my way through the alphabetized sections just like the old days and not once does anyone approach me. Even the Best Buy staff stays clear of the cd section!
And no wonder: there’s barely anything there nowadays.
I tried to go about the section with a blank slate, looking for anything to jump out at me, but nothing managed to grab my attention.
I thought about Def Leppard’s High ‘N Dry for a moment, but got pissed at the band when I saw that they’d recently released a “deluxe Legacy edition” of Pyromania.
Twenty-two fucking dollars.
Understand, Pyromania was in everybody’s car stereo when it was first released. Everybody’s. You could not drive down Main Street without hearing the ending of “Too loud man! Too loud!” from “Rock Rock (‘Til You Drop)” from someone’s cassette desk. Or “Said welcome to my shooowww!” from “Stagefright.” Or the “Gunter glieben glauchen globen” opening of “Rock Of Ages.”
By the next summer, I was done with Pyromania and Def Leppard.
But High ‘N Dry is a good album. Really good. The last really good Def Leppard album.
Not that Pyromania is bad-I already own it on cd, actually-but it was just the idea that it needed to be revisited, remastered, and reissued as a special edition. It was sterile enough when it was originally released, why did they need to compress it further under the guise of a “deluxe” edition?
Bonus tracks? Well, there is a second disc of a live show from that time period, but no b-sides, outtakes, or demo material.
And for all of this, they’re charging over twenty dollars?
I made my way to the Jethro Tull section.
That’s right. I said Jethro Tull.
Specifically, Songs From The Wood, Living In The Past and maybe Heavy Horses. Then I’d be done with Jethro Tull.
All Best Buy had was the obligatory Aqualung and multiple copies of greatest hits compilations. They also had some live disc from a Jethro Tull from a few years ago, which I thought was pretty pointless. To be totally honest, I actually saw the show-or something similar to it-just a few weeks ago, which got me into the Jethro Tull section to begin with.
But thanks to a diminishing inventory, there would be no Jethro Tull purchases tonight.
Throughout the aisle, I kept noticing cds packaged in boxes with eco-friendly shopping bags. You know, the ones you’re supposed to bring to the grocery store with you. At first, I thought that maybe the bags featured the name of the band or artist-but no, they are just standard issue green bags with some recycle logo that even grocery stores themselves have moved away from.
It didn’t look like there was any jewel case in the box either.
Did you catch that?
It’s housed in a fucking box! Just like those long-boxes that they did away with two decades ago for environmental concerns! So here’s an “eco friendly” item packaged in a very non-eco friendly way with a music cd that really has no connection with the shopping bag whatsoever. Who approved this?
And the cds that you can get? Usually they’re greatest hit compilations (big surprise) of artists like Pat Benatar. Hit me with your best shop(ping bag)!
Moving down from the B section, I noticed an album that I hadn’t seen in years, Crosby Stills Nash & Young’s 4 Way Street, a double live album that I had no intention of actually buying, but I wanted to gander at anyway.
Now this is a double album, but $27.99 is just dumb.
This wasn’t a re-issue. There were no bonus tracks. This was a case of a long-forgotten album that is collecting dust, living in an era where cd sales are almost non-existent because of the perception that cds are overpriced pieces of filler.
And here was CSN&Y proving exactly that.
At this stage of the game, there’s no reason for this or any other title that doesn’t boast some matter of collectability can’t be marked down for quick sale. If that $30 copy of 4 Way Street hasn’t sold by now, it isn’t going to.