I haven’t done much research on the subject outside of seeing a few blurbs here and there on the internet about it… But Columbia House is returning by jumping on the vinyl resurgence of the last 7 or 8 years and might offer a subscription service model based on that format alone. Columbia House’s music services really took a hit in 2000 a year after Napster and the advent of the MP3. I have fond memories of being a Columbia House subscriber in the mid ’90s. Fond in the sense that at the time the selection was “ok” and being a teenager that didn’t drive and having a minimal allowance something about scouring the Columbia House CD booklet (I think CDs and Cassettes were their only formats then) for “something” and then writing out the selection codes out the provided order card or even at times using their stamps that were of the cover art signifying the albums you wanted to lick and stick on the card and waiting a few weeks to get a CD in the mail was how we did things back then. I also have fond memories of being a jerk teenager, when I joined before doing the ethical thing, and essentially stole from Columbia House. I am sure I wasn’t the only one! The joys of life before credit history.
I have mentioned in past post write-ups that I really dived into record collecting in 2003. It’s weird, I guess, to think of 13 years ago as the early days of record collecting in my life. In the 13 years since my tastes have changed, bands I liked years ago I find myself not really able to get into anymore, the emotional response has somewhat faded I guess. One thing I have thought about recently in the wake of Bowie’s passing is that when I started out buying records on a semi-as-a-paycheck-could-allow basis is that the Bowie section of the record store was always refuge. We take technology for granted, the ease of streaming, looking a band up on YouTube, etc, but in 2003 though the peer-to-peer file sharing services were common the simple act of downloading an mp3 was still a chore if one did not have a high speed internet connection. In 2016 it’s easy to hear a band’s catalogue and decide to purchase it in some physical form or the other. In 2003 it was hard to blind pick and album in a record store. Sure, record stores did allow for listening in store at listening stations. I was an odd shopper, maybe I still am. I’d sift through record bins, examine covers, examine the condition of the record. Sometimes, it’s hard to imagine it now, I would often have trouble deciding on a record to buy. But I’d always find something in the “Bowie” section. The American pressing of Space Oddity for $6 dollars in 2003 really altered the course of my record collecting journey. Bowie purchases were easier then, much easier now considering he’s left this planet for another. I couldn’t go wrong. Even his ’80s material, that even he disliked himself, I’d love. Bowie was my record store refuge.
I was thinking about Bowie; obviously due to his death. That in turn made me think of Brian Eno. I was reading someone’s take on Bowie’s Lodger album and how, in their opinion, it was a difficult listen. I can honestly say Bowie’s late 70s era is a bit lost on me as I skipped the famed Berlin trilogy of Low, Heroes and Lodger and focused on his early work and his 80s work (for some reason). When I first listened to Lodger I wasn’t taken aback, as I found it to be a great listen… Eno’s influence was all over it. And in that regard Eno’s fingerprints are all over a lot of music that I do enjoy. From Roxy Music to U2, Eno’s work has definitely made music interesting. I was 15 on the cusp of turning 16 years old in the grungified year of 1993 and U2 dropped Zooropa in June. What an interesting listen that album was. It really stands out as a good headphone album. He made guitars not sound like guitar and pushed U2 to not be U2. If that makes any sense. So this really isn’t a Bowie tribute on my part, and I apologize, but it’s more of a Eno worship piece. As I get back into updating more I will share some memories of record collection in regard to Bowie.