A Eulogy: The Death of Tower Records.

Tacoma used to have a Tower Records, down by the mall sort of. But, it closed down before I was able to do any damage (all due to the fact that it closed down before I was 16 and able to drive). Regardless, I had a Warehouse Records mere biking distance from my house that gobbled up the bulk of my music-buying business in my formative music-listening years (that is, before it tragically burned down and relocated, incidentally enough, across the street from where the old Tower Records used to call its Tac-home). However, Tower Records was always on my mind as a quasi-Mecca for all things music. You've gotta understand, since the 60s, this store (first opening in Sacramento, California, before branching out nationwide) was THE chain to go to if you wanted not only new music, but hard-to-find music. In its heyday, famous musicians in the 60s turned to Tower Records for rare blues records you just couldn't find anywhere else. The Sunset Tower in Los Angeles turned out to be the focal point of the chain, frequently holding in-house mini-concerts and high-profile record release parties.

Which was why I was so incredibly stoked to find one in the U-District upon enrolling in the UW. You have NO idea how much money I dropped in that store. Granted, market trends started dictating that Tower turn to selling DVDs and a bunch of other unnecessary crap to stay in business. Didn't matter to me, though. If I had time to kill for any reason, odds are you'd find me there, just browsing, eventually walking out with a handful of CDs I'd later enjoy, rip, and sell off. I couldn't begin to count the bucks I devoted to furthering the Tower Records cause that was supposed to go to "school books."

But, let's face it. The advent of the MP3 killed off the compact disc. Who's gonna be dumb enough to buy music when you can easily get it for free? After a while, I even stopped buying CDs unless I JUST couldn't find a free alternative anywhere on the Internet (of course, my rampant laziness is an indication that oftentimes I never really pursued too many alternative venues). So, I can't say I'm too terribly depressed. While I may have contributed more money to the cause than your average Joe Musiclistener, I stole more than my fair share as well.

I guess the shitty thing about it is the fact that there's one less place for me to kill time in. I'm not a girl, I can't go into a clothes store and immerse myself in boxer shorts or jock straps for hours on end. I read, but dammit I don't care about books like I do about music! For me, it's always been CD stores (and, to a lesser extent, sports card shops ... yeah, good luck finding any of THOSE anymore ... damned unreliable collectables industry). While the Tower Records of the world are closing down for good in the coming weeks, shitty places like Virgin Megastore, FYE, Sam Goody, and these pissant crossover stores like Best Buy, Barnes & Noble, and Walmart are taking over. The selection in each of these places is crap! You get Top 40, you get selected big name classic rock, you get WAY too much rap that goes out of style faster than my farts, and that's pretty much it. Did you know that the Tower Records here in New York City has FOUR levels? Three levels just for music and a basement full of DVDs. That's amazing! You'll never see that again!

The only solace I can take is in the fact that there are still independent record stores out there fighting the good fight. Sadly, one by one, they'll all fall by the wayside eventually. I guess I'll just have to enjoy them while I still can.

So, to anyone who's interested, go to Tower Records soon. I don't know about other places, but all the CDs and DVDs here were at least 30% off. Surely, that discount will increase as the final closing date nears. Go out and show your appreciation for the Dinosaur.