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I love music. That is something of an understatement. I am always listening to music. Everything can be made better with music: trips to the grocery store, lines at the BMV or mowing the grass. A quick look at my iTunes says I have over 12,000 songs available at my fingertips. Yet I always looking for something new. That brings us to the reason for this column. My local library has well over 40,000 CDs in their system. And the best part is that it is free. I would never spend money on a CD of an artist I know nothing about. But from the library? At most, I waste an hour while watching TV on mute. So join me in playing what I call “Library CD Roulette”.


N.E.W.S by Prince

Release Date - 2003

Run Time - 56:00

Album Art - 2 minutes with Photoshop

Reason for Rental - Since the spine of the disc only reads “news” I thought that The News released an album sans Huey Lewis. But I like Prince, so it was still a good choice.

Listening Experience - To start, the album only has four tracks of 14 minutes each: “North”, “East”, “West” & “South”. First impression is not great. I tend to dislike longer songs when they feel like they are not building toward something. Not to mention that Prince can be rather, uh, batshit insane sometimes. Much to my enjoyment, that is not the case here. This is Prince dabbling into jazz. The strength of the albums rests in the saxophone of Eric Leeds. This really sounds like a jam secession with some vauge sense of narriative. My only real complaint with the album are the track lengths. The album kinda blends together in such a way that nothing is memorable. Had this been an album of standard length songs, perhaps even a few with vocals, I would like it even more.

Score - Elevator music. Nice to have in the background, but not something I would go out of my way to listen to again.


Get Yer Boots On: The Best Of by Slade

Release Date - 2006

Run Time - 1:00:28

Album Art - Average

Reason for Rental - The Cover Art. Although, I thought it was a newer band.

Listening Experience - Almost completely forgettable. This album is pure classic rock at it’s most average. Of the 16 songs on the album, I only had heard two before. One of those is a Christmas song (“Merry Xmas Everybody“) that I have to heard at work every holiday season on what seems like an endless loop. The other being “Cum On Feel The Noize”. While it is a their original song, the Quite Riot version is more iconic. I have listened to this twice now, which is rather odd for this little game I have made up. I cannot for the life of me remember anything about the remaining 14 songs.

Score - A waste of my theoretical dollars. The two recognizable songs are most likely on compilations that are better.


Jungle Jim and the Voodoo Tiger by James Luther Dickinson

Release Date - 2006

Run Time - 39:55

Album Art - Cartoony

Reason for Rental - The cover says it is the greatest album on earth. How could I not?

Listening Experience - As much as the Slade album was forgettable, this was just plain boring. Dickinson was going for something of a mixture of Rock & Blues with a little Cajun spice thrown in for good measure. What results is an album that never achieves what it sets out to. After a bit of research, it seems like this an album of covers as well. A good covers album should make me want to find the originals. So, this album fails yet again.

Score - Buy Dr. John’s Gumbo by Dr. John. It does everything this album sets out to. And it is awesome.


Stranger Than Fiction by “The Wrockers”

Release Date - 1998

Run Time - Two Discs Too Long

Album Art - Pulp

Reason for Rental - Warren Zevon + Stephen King.

Listening Experience - Look. I love novelty records as much as the next guy. I have songs from such vocal legends as Muhammad Ali, Jackie Chan & Uncle Jessie from Full House on my iPod and love every second of it. But this album? Why? To fully explain, this is a two disc set of ‘famous’ authors singing. And by famous, I mean Stephen King, Maya Angelou and some people I don’t know. These celebrity things are supposed to be fun. This is just bad and borderline insulting at times. I feel more dumber for having listened to that. At the end of the day, this entire thing was for various charities with a focus on literacy so I cannot be too mad at the thing. I just feel that more money could have been raised had everyone just wrote a short story and sold a book.

Score - Take the $25 this album costs, and donate it to your local library. Or buy a kid a book. This way you feel warm and fuzzy inside and not the blood that is coming out of your ears.


As the very nature of this column suggests, everything is random. I struck out with this batch. Nothing was lost and writing a review was rather fun. On the other hand, that is no way to end the first column. After much thought, here is a ‘blast from the past’ successful find playing this game.


King of Yesterday by Jude

Release Date - 2001

Run Time - 47:06

Album Art - Goofy

Reason for Rental - My sister worked for a smaller library when we were still in school. Since she was my ride, I’d be stuck at the library for hours on end. I sat in the corner with my CD Walkman (I suddenly feel old) and listen to all the CDs. This was simply the next one in the row.

Listening Experience - Instantly catchy. This is what pop music should be more often. Fun. Simple as that. Not so say that all the songs are sunshine and lollipops. My favorite song, “Indian Lover” deal with a psycho ex-boyfriend who would rather see her dead than with another. But the songs are still fun and will get stuck in your head for the end of time. Sometimes, it is nice to hear an album that is light and fun and pure fluffy goodness.

Score - BUY IT NOW!!! Seriously, I cannot recommend this enough. This has been one of my “make myself feel better” albums for over a decade now. Some of the songs are $0.70 on iTunes. Go buy some. I’ll wait.

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