Retail therapy

Today I engaged in some retail therapy and decided to buy a bunch of music on CD including

  • Pet Shop Boys – Elyisum – The main reason I went shopping
  • New Order – Retro
  • Alanis Morrisette – Havoc and bright lights
  • Kylie Minogue – The Best of
  • David Gahan – Paper Monsters – A steal at $1.99!

Chicago is one of those cites where I like to go shopping for music, like London.  Let me loose in HMV on Oxford St in London, 333 Yonge St (which is a pale shadow of what it was in the early 90s) or a Virgin Megastore and I’m in heaven.

Except, here in Chicago, the Virgin Megastore I was looking forward to visiting is now no longer open.  I knew Virgin had shut down the store in San Francisco, but looking at their website, I had not realized they shut down in the UK, Ireland, Spain, US, Canada, Australia and Japan!

They are open in France, Germany, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, UAE and Oman.

On the “Elysium Track by Track” with David Walliams, Pet Shop Boys mention that a staggering 96% or 98% of music is now purchased online – I cannot remember if that was in the UK or internationally.  I knew things were dire in the physical distribution market for music, but I didn’t realize it was that bad.

And that is sad.

I asked someone that, with the Megastore being closed, where does one get music?  HMV?  Can’t find one in Chicago.  FYE at 26 East Randolph St. is the place to go from what someone suggested to me.

So after work, I had a Chicago experience on the ‘L’ – my first time going around the Loop.

I had a great time just looking for music, and I couldn’t be happier.  It’s been a long time since I did that.

There’s nothing like having your hands on the real physical project.  Being able to read the lyrics, reading the liner notes.  Without this, the music is too impersonal.  You never see details about who worked on what track, who was involved, what equipment was used, who do the artists want to thank, who is the album dedicated to?  Nothing unless you get an iTunes LP, and even then it’s only if it’s programmed into the multimedia interface.

Music is not something to just be consumed.  A collection should be nurtured. Listened to and enjoyed.  And that from an artist who has a track on iTMS and has pretty much only released music digitally.  There were/are physical copies of Bear Tracks 3 out there, BTW.

You’re only getting part of the experience.

I also still like listening to albums in the order in which the artist or band laid them out on the album.  Often they tell a story and it’s quite an art to make an album flow, much like how a DJ takes you on a trip at a club.

Then, of course, there is the quality question.  Nothing beats a CD relative to M4As, MP3s, iTunes Mastered, etc…  Some say there’s nothing like playing vinyl – the warmth, etc… And I can appreciate that after having bought albums in digital format that I had only previously owned in vinyl.

I’ve fantasized for years about, and have wanted to put together an actual physical album – be it on CD or Vinyl, complete with artwork, etc…  It’s about time I stepped up to the plate on writing more music.

I digress.  After leaving FYE, I couldn’t wait to open the albums so I rushed over to the Washington – Blue station to get the train out to Cumberland station, to meet up with a coworker back at the hotel for diner.

On the station platform I opened up each album and read the liner notes, the thank yous, the equipment used, some of the lyrics, and in particular the interviews in the New Order Retro box set.

Very much my happy place.

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