Tuesday, 14th November '06

Gramophone Is Bad for My Wallet

So you think us "Join the Revolution" types (see Universal Music v. Sharmaan Licensing Ltd, "The Kazaa Case") are breaking the music industry? I'll have you know I spent a very generous $67.60 at the Gramophone (Scotts Shopping Centre) Clearance Sale today.

Something I like a lot about Gramophone is that they are a nice little accessible franchise which sells good music at good prices. Unlike HMV and Tower Records, which sell good music at terrible prices and Sembawang Music and CD Rama which sell bad music at good prices.

Allow me to display the spoils of war. I will also do some price comparisons because I need to justify that I have not let myself and my POSBank account down tonight.

I am now the proud new owner of:

1. Gipsy Kings Live -- Gipsy Kings

Gramophone Price: S$11.90
Amazon Price: US$11.98 = S$18.68
Amazon Average Customer Rating: 5/5

Hmm. Perhaps not as cheap a steal as I thought it would be. But I did need some world music education and the guys who sang "Bamboleo" can't be bad. And since watching the CSI episode "Snakes" a couple of days back, I've had a bit of an itch for Spanish / Mexi / Mariachi type stuff. This isn't quite the Narco Corridos (think gansta-mariachi, as Catherine Willows says) that CSI showcased, but well. It's hard to acquire this by any other means than purchase, really.

2. Lifeblood -- Manic Street Preachers

Gramophone Price: S$11.90
Amazon Price: US$14.49 = S$22.57
Amazon Average Customer Rating: 4/5

According to Wikipedia, this album isn't characteristic Manics, which is a little sad. I also just found out off Wikipedia that it's post-Richey James. Because I'm just getting to know the Manics beyond "If You Tolerate This (You Children Will Be Next)", this may or may not be the best way to start on them... learning about them first by their changed sound. Anyway, I jumped on this one for two reasons:

First, it was a case of choosing a CD by its cover. Which is far more legitimate than choosing a book by its cover, if you think about it. Artist get a lot more input in their album art than authors get in their covers. And the insides are great too. Glossy inserts (and I mean hard gloss, which gives Mac lip products a run for their money) and a blood spattered CD label. Yummy.

The other reason is this was the only Manics album available in the store, at least on the clearance sale list.

3. Hey Ho, Let's Go: The Anthology -- Ramones

Gramophone Price: S$16.95
Amazon Price: US$28.99 = S$45.15
Amazon Average Customer Rating: 4.5/5

The Godfather's of Punk. You don't really need to justify a $16.95 purchase of a 2CD greatest hits collection with 58 hit singles including titles like "Blitzkrieg Bop" (which makes me insanely happy each time I listen), "I Wanna Be Sedated" and "The KKK Took My Baby Away". smile

4. The Queen is Dead -- The Smiths

Gramophone Price: S$11.90
Amazon Price: US$14.99 = S$23.34
Amazon Average Customer Rating: 5/5

Wikipedia says, "... the record reached number two in the UK chart, and is now generally thought of as their best work. In 1989 SPIN magazine rated The Queen Is Dead as number one of "The Greatest Albums Ever Made." Subsequent "Greatest Albums" lists by numerous music publications have placed the album at the top or within the top ten, including the NME and Melody Maker. In June 2006, the NME even dedicated an entire issue to the twentieth anniversary of the record's release."

For rifling through clearance sale material with only a vague notion of what the Smiths were famous for, I consider I've done very well with myself.

5. The Very Best of the Smiths -- The Smiths

Gramophone Price: S$14.95
Amazon Price: US$15.95 = S$24.84
Amazon Average Customer Rating: 4/5

Because I'm a sucker for cheap greatest hits sets.

So, not a bad job, if I do say so myself. I've missed a lot of things about having real, tangible records in hand since the advent of this digital music phenomenon. The excitement of taking off the plastic wrapper for the first time and hoping against hope that that paper sticker you see is on the ouside of the wrap and not right on the CD case or, heaven forbid, the actual paper insert inside. The tenderness of fingering the jewel case ever so gingerly to avoid soiling it with prints. Placing the disc in the player. Easing the insert out of the 4 little semicircles of plastic holding it in place, enjoying the sensual nature of just touching it and admiring the texture and resolution. Opening the insert and crossing my fingers that all the lyrics are in there. Reading the song credits and appreciating the people behind the whole work, and learning that these people, the backup vocalists, the extra instruments, the producers, the sound engineers and guest musicians do exist. Reading the thank yous and shoutouts. Admiring the pinups and publicity shots. There's a tingly sense of personalness in owning a real object, and I admit, it's kinda nice.

Not least because I know that if the IPOS comes banging down my door, that's one work of art they can't take away from me.

The only downside, ironically enough, is that I feel mildly guilty. Like I betrayed something (besides my wallet). Someone once told me it should be against principles to pay for music. I never really believed that, but something still feels a bit like I sold out. A guilty pleasure, but who cares?

Ciao, I'm going to play with my new toys.

en ying snapped a shot of life @ 10:24 pm
[6 photographs developed.]

6 photographs developed.


hehe..new music for you means new music for me yes? tell me if they are any good! and sigh, i didn't know you liked manic street preachers. I have all their stuff O_O Best song is still A Design for life =)

to en and gerri: nah, the usual pmsing =) no worries *huggle*

and yes we should all meet up soon. You guys up for a machu picchu trip in 2009? haha


enz.. those CDs are on sale cos no one else would want to buy them!!! AND.. i've never eaten a chutchut before..i prefer their cousins - lala - and ham... big grin


[qiong] haha, i only know "if you tolerate this"... it's an amusing song. what machu picchu?

[babs] it's a bit hard to see why no one would buy them. ask qiong, ramones and the smiths are some of music's most influential bands, they defined their age of music. if there were no ramones there'd never be green day, and if there were no smiths there'd be no radiohead and oasis. it's important history! smile
gipsy kings are a top spanish band, so i don't expect they'd sell well here. and MSP are... alternative but very influential too.


ok ok smile u win !! ur music taste is the best !

eq2 plat:


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