Last weekend, my friend Alex Wang, a local education researcher and music collector, invited me to visit some secondhand CD/DVD/electronics shops in Hong Kong’s working class Mong Kok and Sham Shui Po districts. As we started pouring through countless CDs, I realized that I had forgotten what it feels like to search for work by my favorite artists and discover hidden gems.
The only regret I have about my recent purchase (shown above) is that the ABBA “Gold” album was produced in the U.S. (No offense against my home country), because later I found a superior quality version of the same disc. Alex explained to me that the CDs produced in America are (or were) of relatively lower quality than those produced in Japan or Germany. The other two albums I bought, Gaga and Bjork, are both German-made and feature a characteristic silver inlay visible at the bottom of the disc (a product that actually deserves a “jewel case”). I’m still thinking about returning to buy the better version of GOLD for collector’s value. Hey, for $29 HK (approx. $3.75 US), why not?
Since the immensely convenient music platforms iTunes and Spotify emerged, I have spent less and less time enjoying the record store experience, which includes person-to-person discussions about musicians, music history, and sound quality, as well as the joy of viewing album artwork. And let’s not forget, CDs tend to have better audio than streamable mp3s.