Oversized velvety concert posters, CDs in those big plastic casings, charming handwritten employee recommendations. A once-frequented teenage hotspot, today the record store serves more like a museum than a local hang out. It’s an emporium of musical memorabilia, an homage to a world that was.
When I was 11, my parents dropped me off at the McKinley Mall with a handful of dollar bills in my pocket. I bypassed the Gap and Burger King and bee-lined it straight for Record Theater, Buffalo’s oldest and largest independently owned record store, and I purchased my first CD single: SWV’s “Weak.” I’d been to Record Theater before and sauntered up and down the aisles but was too young of a human to actually have (or need) money. But that day I had it in my hand, I could touch it, those smooth Sisters With Voices and I bought it with my own lawn-mowing cash. I was the proud owner of a compact disc. And it wasn’t just “Weak” once. It was the Radio Edit, it was the Bam Jam Jeep remix, and the R-N-B remix.
As I grew up, going to the record store was a semi-event, something to do by yourself or with a friend on a day off from work. Grab a coffee and let’s go get lost for an hour or so. Flick through the endless vinyls, their covers bigger than the thumbnails we see now. Ask Jack, the ear-gauged manager about what song is playing. Jack points to the display that says “Playing Now.” Oops. Probably buy something and unwrap it in your car. Head home with it playing. Keep driving until it ends.
The latest trends in music and fashion are likely to be found right here in the blogosphere. Just one click and you know what to where to that Friday night romp. Just one click and you’re listening to that mysterious electro-pop Swedish dude on your iPhone as you head out for the evening dressed in nu-corduroy to that Friday night romp.
“Oh, I love them,” your friend says when you tell them what you’re listening to.