journalism that swims
against the current.
Music Picks

Why I'm Buying CDs Again

Three recent top finds.

Thom Wong 13 Sep

Thom Wong regularly writes for The Tyee's Music Picks column. He wrote the 40 bLinks column for The Tyee, and writes the Thomas in Law School blog.

image atom
The Bees: U.K. indie band pollinates North America.

I've started to buy music again. Perhaps this shouldn't be as noteworthy as I think it is, but considering the music industry is in a free fall, my personal attempt to save it might give execs something to cheer about. As you know, music execs are avid Tyee readers.

Over the past four months, I've probably bought around 20 CDs, a number easily representing my same purchasing patterns from the last half decade. As I am ostensibly supposed to give music suggestions in this column, please find forthwith a sampling of my recent purchases.

Dean & Britta -- 'Back Numbers'

The Sound Opinions team considered this record one of the best albums of 2007, to date, and, while I'm not sure I agree with that assessment, it is a very enjoyable listening experience. While I know that damns it with faint Coldplay praise, it is a perfect record to put on while one is preparing a meal of sautéed baby bok choy and clams.

Standout Track: "You Turned My Head Around." It shimmers with Spector-esque production and a chorus so joyful you'll want to fall in love to it.

Peter Bjorn and John -- 'Writer's Block'

I know, I know -- everyone knows this album. They were on Gray's Anatomy! They whistle! While undoubtedly the indie summer hit of this year, "Young Folks" is not the standout track. In my mind that goes to...

Standout Track: "Paris 2004." "Monday morning/We have to fly back home again/While I'm sleeping/You paint a ring on my finger with your black marker-pen." Maybe it's because I am in love, or maybe it's the Cassis talking, but when Peter (or Bjorn or John) told Sound Opinions (seeing a theme here?) that this was his partner's favourite song, well, how can one avoid dreaming all day of Paris in the springtime?

The Bees (also: A Band of Bees) -- 'Octopus'

First of all, why couldn't I buy this album anywhere in Canada? (I don't consider HMV "in Canada." I know that makes no sense. Leave me alone.) What I meant to say is, why is this album $24.99? How many people are going to spend a quarter of a c-note, an entire quarter, on an album with 10 songs? I'll tell you how many -- one. And whomever that person is who went outside of Canada to HMV and bought this album before I could get back to the store -- shame on you. Shame, shame, shame.

Standout Track: "Listening Man." Let's say you don't have a computer and don't know anyone who does. And let's say you don't have a library card, or a dollar to spend at an Internet café, or the wherewithal to go into a store with Internet and "test-drive" one of their laptops. If that's the case, then I suppose you might not have seen the amazingly endearing, albeit possibly misogynistic, video for "Listening Man." But for everyone else -- if you haven't seen it, shame. Shame, shame, shame. Watch it now.

Related Tyee stories:


  • Share:

Facts matter. Get The Tyee's in-depth journalism delivered to your inbox for free

Tyee Commenting Guidelines

Comments that violate guidelines risk being deleted, and violations may result in a temporary or permanent user ban. Maintain the spirit of good conversation to stay in the discussion.
*Please note The Tyee is not a forum for spreading misinformation about COVID-19, denying its existence or minimizing its risk to public health.


  • Be thoughtful about how your words may affect the communities you are addressing. Language matters
  • Challenge arguments, not commenters
  • Flag trolls and guideline violations
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity, learn from differences of opinion
  • Verify facts, debunk rumours, point out logical fallacies
  • Add context and background
  • Note typos and reporting blind spots
  • Stay on topic

Do not:

  • Use sexist, classist, racist, homophobic or transphobic language
  • Ridicule, misgender, bully, threaten, name call, troll or wish harm on others
  • Personally attack authors or contributors
  • Spread misinformation or perpetuate conspiracies
  • Libel, defame or publish falsehoods
  • Attempt to guess other commenters’ real-life identities
  • Post links without providing context


The Barometer

What Environmental Impacts Are Most Concerning to You This Summer?

Take this week's poll