The line between interest and obsession is fine but distinct; for example “The Real World” reruns or “The Real World” at the 10 spot, and healthy skepticism or the the Seattle WTO riots.
Yes, obsession is generally an unattractive quality, but when it rears its ugly addictive head, one has no choice but to appease its insatiable call. That is the desperate but necessary point when obsession becomes investment.
If that Erik Estrada autobiography is really what you need to complete your “CHiPs” shrine, does your happiness really give you any choice but to buy it? No, but you do have a choice in whether it’s going to cost you 50 bucks, an irrational eBay bid, your soul …
For those whose record buying habits have entered the bondage of obsession, increase your happiness while cutting your budget at Amoeba Music.
Amoeba Music barely qualifies as a chain record store. Hollywood’s branch of the superstore is only the third Amoeba in America, the other two occupying legendary status in the Bay Area. Still, the name and ubiquitous logo have become synonymous with volume, economy and knowledgeable personnel. Perhaps to determine the worth of Amoeba’s newest branch, one should examine the store through these three lenses.
Amoeba’s volume is, without dispute, astounding. Records and CDs fill every inch of the vast floor space, concert and release posters for sale line the walls, and a DVD/video section and eight listening booths make up a large loft.
Every stylistic section is divided into new and used divisions, and while the new divisions leave no musical stone unturned, the used sections are gratifyingly thorough and often replenished. Unlike most record stores, though, Amoeba focuses its effort not solely on rock, hip-hop and electronica, but also its classical, jazz and world music sections, allowing one to complete all of their record shopping at one place.
The economy of Amoeba leaves only a little to be desired. Although the used section is plentiful, popular new releases still have the rather pricey tag of $11 to $12. That’s highway robbery compared to many other used stores, but when one remembers that Sam Goody is selling the new Jay-Z for $19.95, perspective settles the score. Many CDs are in the under $10 range and special prices are attached to those CDs that have taken a beating but still play without skipping. Furthermore, for those that like their hip-hop sans expletives, a special section of edited albums sell for a fraction of their original used price.
Amoeba’s staff, while somewhat aloof, is definitely more knowledgeable than the teens working at the Musicland next door. Although it is no rare occurrence to hear “Mazzy Star aficionado to the front desk please” over Amoeba’s speaker system, usually at least one employee is within arms reach to assist you with finding a record you may only know the title track to. Personally, I hummed a sample to a staff member in the hip-hop section, who immediately recognized my humble version and pointed me towards the new Ghostface Killa album.
Amoeba Music is a store that is not overwhelming to the casual shopper, but mainly caters to the obsessed record buyer.
January 24, 2002