November 08, 2005

Used CD Shopping: A Love/Hate Relationship

I don't do a lot of shopping. I'm not opposed to spending money, but I usually go to stores with a specific goal, or with a specific item in mind. There's only one type of store where the rules don't apply: used CD stores. Disc Replay, to be specific. I may work at GameStop, but my favorite store to visit is Disc Replay, without a doubt. The prices are fair ($7 per CD), the selection is wide (tens of thousands), and the store is decently well organized. I haven't even mentioned the used DVDs and games that also threaten the sanctity of my wallet. All in all, it's quite an experience for a media whore such as myself, and it's tough for me to spend less than half an hour in the store.

That said, as much as I love browsing through their CDs, the process also enrages me for one specific reason: finding used copies of discs that I love. I agree, Comfort in Sound isn't Feeder's greatest record. And while I'm currently in love with it, Jack's Mannequin's Everything in Transit may not be for everyone. And despite what you may have assumed, Take This to Your Grave is a classic album, and better than From Under the Cork Tree (though the links I've provided might say otherwise).

Those may have surprised me this evening while I browsed, but the following sightings baffled me. Elliott Smith's Either/Or?! That's absolutely a five-star, phenomenal record! It's a record that should be appreciated by people of all walks of life, even if it's not your type of music. And what of The Format's Interventions and Lullabies? Not only is it one of the most catchy, loveable records of the last five years, but the themes and topics explored are absolutely universal. I don't see how someone could buy it and not find something to like about it, unless it was a horribly misdirected gift for someone who favors very specific types of music.

My final sighting is one that really had me at a loss. They had Death Cab for Cutie's Plans, which currently occupies my slot for album of the year. It got me to thinking, and I couldn't find a good reason as to why such sightings had me in a rage. I want to be angry that people aren't appreciating quality music, but who am I to say that said music is quality? Certainly many of my friends would agree with me, but that's part of the reason why they're my friends.

Used music stores have been so important to me over the last half-decade, as I've matured as a listener. I purchased my favorite record of all time, the Canadian version of Matthew Good Band's Beautiful Midnight, at the very same Disc Replay store about four years ago. Used CD stores allow us to reinvest ourselves in our music and our music collections. I would rather have one great CD that I cherish than five decent CDs that I'll rarely listen to. And that's roughly the ratio you'll find, as used CDs generally have poor resale value across the board. If you're willing to make that physical sacrifice, you may find yourself happier with your collection, as well as your overall tastes in music.

Thus, I've decided that I should be pleased when I come across a CD I love at a used shop. I can only hope that it will eventually be found by an intense fan, and it will change his/her life in some small way. Besides, I was probably only mad because I bought all but one of those discs new. I always miss out on the deals.