It was one afternoon a number of years ago, and I had just gotten off work. I made a trek to the mall, and stopped by the music store to look around. I was restless and looking for something different. For whatever reason, I thought, "Hey, I always liked the song 'Whip It'. Maybe I'll check out some Devo." There was a Greatest Hits CD for the band there, so I bought it.
I fell in love with Devo's music that day. Since then, I've bought a lot of their stuff. I had always "liked" Devo, but getting exposed to more than just two or three of their songs put me over the top. Then I became a fan.
This entry is not about Devo.
The music store where I purchased that CD - the Lake Charles Sam Goody (formerly Musicland) - closed in December. Its mall rival Sound Shop was shuttered several years before that. Lake Charles Music shut down their CD section, ending what had once been Harvest Records. The last location of Zypien's Music was demolished to make way for a Raising Cane's restaurant. Today, I can't think of a single music store in the immediate area. Not one.
I held out some hope that the F.Y.E. store in DeRidder would survive, due to a lack of nearby competition from places like Best Buy. Alas, it was not to be. I stopped by Tuesday to see banners advertising the store was closing. I made it back by on Saturday to try to pick up as much as I could of things that I had wanted. I may try to make it in one last time, but I know that every visit might be my last. And when it is gone, that will be all.
There are people far more eloquent than I on both the pro and con side of this story. I just would like to say that, without the immediacy of seeing a lot of things right in front of me, I don't know if I would have risked money on them. Would I have even bothered getting into Devo if it hadn't been readily available right when I wanted it? I can't even begin to answer that question. Even a couple of days might have made a lot of difference.
Yes, I know all about downloading, and online retailers, and big chain stores like Wal-Mart, Target, and Best Buy using music as a loss leader, and great prices, and all of those things. But for me, the thrill of discovery - the magic of taking the chance on something new and it paying off - is something I'm not sure can ever be replaced.
I mourned the loss of records when the world left them behind, and I still miss them to this day. Oh, they're still around, but much harder to find, and really, not many folks care anymore. Now, record stores are rapidly joining them as a bygone of an era when the music actually, y'know, mattered. But time marches on, and nothing I do will stop it.
Goodbye, record stores. We had fun.