Monday, March 7, 2011

Rescued From The "Bargain Bin"

Ah, the Bargain Bin. Although almost any album you could ever want is now available on the Internet whether it be through Amazon, iTunes or any of the other digital music providers, nothing beats the feeling of digging through the bargain bin (or used bin if you prefer) at a brick and morter record store and finding a great album. I remember when I was younger I used to go with my dad to a store called Disc-Go-Round, at least I am pretty sure that was what it was called, and spend hours upon hours digging through the racks of CDs that lined the walls. Although the store was mostly used CDs, there was a few new releases toward the front of the store and some of the used CD's were pretty cheap, but still relatively expensive. However, if you got lucky, you would stumble across a great album that was literally only a few dollars. I miss the feeling of making these great discoveries and of going to a place that was all about music and talking to the people who worked there about what they thought of a record and asking them for recommendations.

In honor of record stores and the thrill of finding an album you love for dirt cheap, I present a list of my favorite "Bargain Bin" finds.

1. Harvey Danger "Where Have All The Merrymakers Gone?" - Ah, good ol' Harvey Danger. I am sure most of you are vaguely familiar of the band and their one hit "Flagpole Sitta" which was in heavy rotation towards the tail end of the '90s. Unfortunately, most people bought the album for that song alone and copies began flooding into used record stores everywhere. I grabbed my copy for about $3 and it was one of the best purchases I have made. Sure, I still absolutely love blasting "Flagpole Sitta" from time to time, but the album as a whole is full of great, fuzzed out indie-rock from start to finish.

2. New Radicals "Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too" - Another album that seemed to flood used bins across the country. The band had a few hits, but they are probably best known for their song "You Only Get What You Give" where singer Gregg Alexander name dropped a few celebrities at the time and calling them fakes, which did not sit well with those mentioned (though Alexander later said he only did it to see if that is the only part of the song the media would focus on and, surprise!, it was). You can sometimes find this album for like $2, which is a steal because this is one of the best pop-rock albums I have heard in a long time.

3. The Verve "Urban Hymns" - Another great purchase I have made after spending an eternity rifling through the used bin. Although "Urban Hymns" is an excellent album in it's own right, this album is worth whatever you pay for it based on the strength of "Bittersweet Symphony" alone. Although the song gained noterity due to the band being sued  over the use of a sample of an orchestra version of The Rolling Stones "The Last Time", the fact remains that is still one of the greatest songs I have ever heard and still sounds timeless 14 years after it first hit the airwaves.

What are some of your best "bargain bin" purchases? Do you miss going to record stores or do you prefer the convenience of shopping online?


  1. I bought Edwin McCain's Messenger in a bargain bin once, and yes I did it for the same reason as everyone else. For the uber cheesy heart-wrenching song "I'll Be." BUT, I will say it turned into one of my favorite listens...ever. And I'll Be is almost my least favorite song on the album. "Ghosts of Jackson Square" and "Prayer to St Peter" were life changing for me. The last one, more so now than ever.

  2. The Verve, "Bittersweet Symphony" is classic! I'll be cliche and say it reminds me of Cruel Intentions but again that was a classic film for us 90s kids next to Clueless. I can't say I find much in the bargain bins of music stores but I don't really look too hard since I can obtain music from iTunes and all that jazz. Pretty interesting post though!

  3. Time to shoot straight with you Rich. One of the perks of being a WNYO DJ is the fact that they have a ton of free CD's of random artists who they never put in the system. I always like to try and pick some of the up and give them a listen to see if I can find something I like. It's a fun time, and they are free, which let's face it, is the best price to pay for anything.

    Best thing I ever found in there was "Beat The Devil's Tattoo" by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, a pretty album from top to bottom, I say check out the title track if you have the time

  4. Jess I love that song! It's pretty fantastic, and reminds me of the same thing. And ironically, Angelia, I also got an Edwin McCain CD as a bargain before (and by bargain, though, I mean sorting through my parents old cd's and taking them knowing they don't listen to them anyways haha).
    I can honestly say, I don't even buy cd's anymore. I started to for a while, just to get the covers out of the front for a decoration I have on my wall (an entire grid surrounding 8x11 posters of all my favorite movies, geeky, I know.) I'm just too used to downloading or buying things off of iTunes, and the two huge stacks of CD's back at my parents house in my old room is pretty much a sign that I don't even use them anymore...