Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Tower, Best Buy, etc

I'm really sad that Tower Records is practically gone. I enjoyed going there to pick up the latest new releases and buying obscure indie releases. I went out today to buy 3 releases which were coming out today, Ali G "Indahouse" DVD, Beatles "Love" CD, and Tom Waits "Orphans" CD. I had to settle for Best Buy because that was the closest store to my house. Of course they had the Beatles CD, but when it came to Ali G and Tom Waits, there was nothing in stock. I asked a seemingly hip clerk to check the computer for stock (he ended up not being familiar with either Ali G or Tom Waits, ughh). As it turned out, they had only ordered one Tom Waits CD for the store (sold already) and didn't even order the Ali G DVD! Good lord! You'd think after the success of Borat, they would've ordered at least a box-slot of Ali G DVDs. With the exception of when I'm near Amoeba or Virgin MegaStore, I'll have to do most of my buying online which sucks cuz I love going to a physical store to buy stuff on the first day available.

Best Buy sucks also because of what they did to independent record stores in the mid-1990s. In order to lure people to their stores to buy electronics and appliances, they sold most of their music at or below cost. As a result, local mom-and-pop stores went out of business. At that time, I worked for an old indie record chain in Chicago, Rose Records. They had around 30 stores in the Chicagoland area and all had to close due to Best Buy. The 3-story flagship store downtown (where I worked) was purchased by Tower Records, and they retained the original staff. Tower was a great company to work for, and I consider it one of the best jobs I've ever had. An end of an era is certainly at hand.

At least I got the Beatles CD. I've been a fan of the mash-up movement and was excited that George Martin and his son, Giles, completely reworked 26 Beatle songs. There are some spectacularly chaotic moments on the CD, but a lot of the songs sound too similar to the originals. It's usually in the intros and closings of the songs where they really do some fun experimentation. If you're a Beatles fan, like I've always been, it's a fun new perspective on their work.

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