Since I arrived in Clifton Springs, New York, I have been borrowing CDs from the local library. The collection is not great—there are hardly any classical recordings, and the collection has not been updated in quite a while—but I have been able to find recordings of artists I already like and have listened to CDs of other artists about which I knew little.
I am especially fond of library collections of recorded music. When I was young, I borrowed LPs from the New Orleans Public Library. At the time, my knowledge of classical music was pretty much limited to that found in the 1940 Walt Disney film Fantasia. I may also have been familiar with Peter and the Wolf. I don’t remember if Peter led me to check out a recording of the Prokofiev Second Piano Concerto or whether I chose a recording of it at random. In any case, I listened to the concerto over and over and fell in love with Prokofiev’s music. I now own an extensive collection of Prokofiev recordings, sheet music, and biographies.
Perhaps you now understand why I was investigating the Clifton Springs Library CD collection as soon as I got a library card.
I can report on some of my experiences from doing so. My happiest discovery was the singing of Diana Krall. I may have encountered her once before on YouTube, but that hadn’t really registered. I plan to hear more of Ms. Krall. I borrowed a CD of Britney Spears to see what she is all about. I could not finish listening to it. I plan never to hear from her again. I took out a Taylor Swift CD. I actually listened to this several times without coming to hate her. She clearly has talent, but if I never hear her sing again, I will not regret it.
I have checked out many recordings of singers I already knew and liked, among them Gordon Lightfoot, Carly Simon, James Taylor, and Willie Nelson.
The jewel case and liner notes—do people still use that term—for Taylor Swift’s Red is on my desk right now. I like the fact that the lyrics for all the tracks appear in the accompanying booklet. It is introduced by a “PROLOGUE” written by the artist. I am somewhat mystified by that booklet, however. To begin with, all the body text is set in red 8-point sans serif font. It is very hard to read. Lyrics, rather than being presented in the usual fashion, is run in with virgules separating the lines. This increases the reading difficulty. But the really strange feature of the text is the occasional substitution of a capital letter for what should be a lowercase one. (See the image below of a sample page of the booklet.) What is this all about? Was the text input by an incompetent typist? Is there some hidden message here only understood by Swifties? Who knows?