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Recommendations staff favorites

Best of 2022: Music

by Tech Librarian Josh

  • Madison Cunningham – Revealer | CD
    • Sometimes I find a musician who releases such an amazing album that I feel required to listen to all of their subsequent albums. Madison Cunningham released Who Are You Now in 2019 and I was hooked. You can imagine my excitement when she announced Revealer would be released in 2022. The barebones of her songwriting feels familiar and entrenched in 60s or 70s pop, but especially with this album she takes some big swings in terms of arrangement and production. You’ll hear it in this song Sunshine Over the Counter, with its bubbly arrangement made up of woodwind instruments, guitar with these otherworldly effects on and this perpetual rhythm that pushes the song forward.
  • Wilco – Cruel Country | CD
    • Wilco has become somewhat of an institution at this point. They’ve been playing their brand of indie, singer songwriter, alternative rock for almost three decades. For their newest double album they lean into country as a musical style as well as making America the subject of this album, which I think is very clever. A rarity these days: it was recorded with the whole band playing live in the studio and the song I’m highlighting today Falling Apart (Right Now) has a lyric I’m very fond of “Don’t you fall apart while I’m falling apart.”
  • Natalia Lafourcade – De Todas Las Flores
    • A friend recommended Natalia Lafourcade (la-four-ca-day) to me recently and I was sad to say I’d never heard any of her music. She’s a singer-songwriter from Mexico who has been releasing albums and winning awards for the last 20 years. What hit me first was her dynamic voice. She has this way of luring me in with a hushed lyric (that I don’t understand by the way because it’s in Spanish) and then punching me in the face with a beautiful belting tone. Parts of the record, as you’ll hear in the title track, pull from bossa nova which is a soft spot for me, with Jobim-esque melodies, Sergio Mendes like arrangements, and certified Astrud Gilberto coolness.
  • Julian Lage – View with a Room | CD
    • Lastly, Julian Lage’s new album View with a Room is another great jazz trio release with amazing musicians. I’m very fond of the drummer Dave King who has a unique style and sound I don’t hear often. The headliner is obviously Julian Lage and he is, without a doubt, one of the greatest jazz guitarists of all time. He has vaulted himself with the likes of  Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass, Django Reinhardt, and Pat Matheny in his relatively short career. It’s all on showcase in their tune, Chavez.
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Recommendations

The Death of the CD?

by Public Service Associate Hannah

Did you know that CD sales in the United States increased for the first time in almost two decades in 2021? Unfortunately, this Adele and Taylor Swift momentum stalled in 2022, going from 18.4 million to 17.7 million units and $204.3 million to $199.7 million dollars respectively. After all, compact discs have been said to be on their way out for some time now. Even my coworkers in acquisitions are weighing purchases vs borrows. This leads me to ask: will I see the death of the CD in my lifetime? 

First, let’s hop in a DeLorean and go back in time a little.

Often attributed to James Russell, CD equipment evolved from multiple mediums. An inventor and an audiophile, Russell was well aware that every time he listened to vinyl records the friction from the needle degraded them and reduced the quality of the sound. So around 1965, he created a recording device that would never touch the material. But it was not until 1982 when electronics giants Philips and Sony collaborated on the “Red Book” standard that the production, distribution, and wide use of Digital Audio Compact Discs took center stage.

Now, if you are like me, you want to know what was on that first successful CD. Well, my friends, it was a recording of Chilean pianist Claudio Arrau performing Chopin waltzes. Arrau himself was invited to the plant in Langenhagen to press start. Classy!

The first commercially available CD player, the beautifully bulky Sony CDP-101, went worldwide in March 1983 with a price tag of around $700. Adjusted for inflation, that’s $2,000! At least you got to enjoy an original selection of 50 classical and pop titles including Billy Joel’s 52nd Street, Toto’s Turn Back, Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here, and Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall in your home, right?

Fast forward to when my family’s Honda was handed down to me and CDs were cresting. I didn’t know the 120mm diameter discs could bear music at a resolution of 16 bit/44.1kHz, the rate needed to replicate all frequencies humans can theoretically hear. I didn’t think about the laser beam! I just knew scratches were annoying, burning a good mix was easier said than done, and my passenger seat was the defacto case storage. Sure, I got an mp3 thingamajig, but CDs were consistent.

Back here in the present, I’d still rather wax poetic about flipping through the little booklets and realizing I was not singing the right words. But does your car even have a CD player now? Sad times. Let’s recall what we were listening to at the height of CD sales in 2000 instead. Ah yes, *NSYNC’s No Strings Attached,  Eminem’s The Marshall Mathers LP and Now That’s What I Call Music! 4. The NTWICM universe is now on CD number 83, if you want to catch up.

So will the compact disc disappear? Probably. Even Bexley Public Library’s collection of shiny plastic circles is not growing. But it is strong, and there is much time to savor yet. I’m doing my part, checking out what catches my eye as I process holds and shelve our items. Recent titles I gave a listen to include Big Time by Angela Olsen, Grace in the Wilderness by Stars Go Dim, Old Flowers by Courtney Marie Andrews, and Advent at Ephesus by Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles.  I gotta say the best way to experience it is by flipping through the cases and trying out whatever catches your eye. See you out there!

Obligatory book suggestions: 

  • The Soundtrack of My Life by Clive Davis, 2012 | print
  • How Music Works by David Byrne, 2013 | print
  • This is Your Brain on Music by Daniel J. Levitin | print / Libby
  • This Is What It Sounds Like: What the Music You Love Says About You by Ogi Ogas and Susan Rogers | print
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Recommendations staff favorites

Dance Fever!

by Public Service Associate Juliana

Florence + the Machine’s newest release, Dance Fever, might just be my favorite album of 2022. I first heard the song titled “My Love” one morning in mid May while getting ready for work, and I feel like I haven’t stopped dancing since. And I’ll tell you – after a little research – this turns out to be a very suitable response. 

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Recommendations

Summer Tunes

by Public Service Associate Owen

Summer is moving right along as we go deeper into July and look towards August. In a past blog, we’ve covered some delightful beach reads for you to enjoy if you’re spending a weekend by the lake or by the ocean – but what if you want to jam out to some summery music while doing so? Do you have a road trip coming up and need something to listen to? Are you simply looking for some new music? Luckily for you, this blog will delve into some of my favorite music to listen to during the summer, across all sorts of genres. Whether you’re working on your tan, having a cookout with friends and family, or are simply enjoying the warmer weather, these albums, pieces, and songs will help you embrace the warmth of the season!

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Programs Recommendations

Better Together: Feature Films Paired with Documentaries

by Public Service Associate Juliana

  • Blaze | dvd pairs well with Heartworn Highways | dvd

I recently borrowed a feature film that happened to pair perfectly with a documentary I’d watched the month prior.  I love serendipitous moments like this, when threads connect and suddenly things deepen and contextualize before your very eyes. 

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Booklists Recommendations

Pride Month

by Public Service Associate Nichole

While Pride festivities are mostly still on hold this year, you can still show support for the LGBTQ+ community by reading, watching, and listening to their stories with your BPL card.

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Booklists BPL News & Information Programs Recommendations

Commemorating Juneteenth

by Adult Services Library Associate Beth

Juneteenth – also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Liberation Day, and Emancipation Day – is a holiday that celebrates the emancipation of those who were enslaved in the United States. It originated in Galveston, Texas, recognizing the anniversary of the June 19, 1865 announcement of General Order No. 3. This order freed the remaining enslaved people in the state via President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.

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Booklists Programs Recommendations Virtual Book Club

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

by Adult Services Library Associate Beth

Did you know that May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month? During the month of May, we recognize the contributions and achievements of Asian American and Pacific Islander Americans in history, culture, science and beyond. Celebrate with us this May (and every month) by reading, watching, and listening to the multitude of AAPI authors and artists available to you through the Bexley Public Library and the CLC consortium! See the small collection of films, musical albums and books below to get started. 

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Online Resources

Resource Spotlight: Streaming Alternatives

by Adult Services Library Associate Christian

The convenience of streaming and the past year has changed the way we consume entertainment. While the physical medium has not died out (especially in the library-sphere, where you can still browse new movies on our website), there is much to be said on how streaming has allowed for even more content (tv, movies, music) to be produced as it does not necessarily have to follow the restraints that physical media bare (such as the cost for the production of dvds, blu-rays, CDs, vinyl).

While streaming does offer a litany of entertainment to consume, it comes with a price. Not only has the cost of streaming gone up, but the amount of streaming services have multiplied–spreading out content among several different platforms. This is why offering free alternatives to paid streaming is important, to allow the consumption of entertainment without the high cost of entry.

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Booklists Recommendations

‘Tis the Season

by Adult Services Library Associate Nichole

While the holidays feel different this year, I’m incredibly grateful that the library has helped me keep up the cheer with books, movies and music!

When I’m not listening to Taylor Swift’s latest album Evermore (currently available on Hoopla!) these are the albums I have playing on repeat:

  • A Christmas Album by The Drifters | digital
  • Christmas with the Rat Pack | CD / digital
  • The Christmas Album by Leslie Odom Jr. | CD / digital

My holiday book picks are sure to make you miss the ones you love, but they’ll also make you appreciate any “me time” you get this season!

I don’t know about everyone else, but I always watch the same Christmas movies every year; Home Alone, The Santa Clause, Krampus (we all have our favorites!). But this year, with so much time spent at home, I’m finding new holiday favorites to throw into my yearly rotation. Even better, the following titles are available on Hoopla so you don’t even have to leave your couch to find some Christmas cheer!

From all of us as BPL, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!