Sunday, December 7, 2014


In junior high my mall store of choice for all my music needs was called Camelot:

I realize this picture is of an obviously closed/out of business Camelot, which is fitting. Camelot eventually became consolidated with other various mall music stores to form f.y.e. in 1998. RIP, Camelot.

Those were the days of buying cds trapped within their giant plastic rectangles, or cassette tapes shrink wrapped in neat stacks. Going to the mall was already an event--perusing each and every rack in Camelot was a bonus adventure all on its own. I remember my favorite area of the store--a wall near the register on the right side containing all of the latest radio singles. The cassingle collection. Behold:

of note: not my personal collection...this is just a picture I found on the internet

The cassingle aka cassette single was absolutely brilliant for the junior high kid experiencing let down and heartache for the first time. The tape consisted of a side A, which contained the main single/radio hit, and a side B, which would contain an instrumental version of the hit song on side A, or a b-side not-as-popular track from the same artist. That was it. This was a time when Mariah Carey, Bryan Adams, All 4 One and Color Me Badd thrived on the shelves. The cardboard sleeve holding the cassette would usually contain some unused image or artwork from the artist's album, or a movie poster shot if it was from a soundtrack. For $3 to $6 you had a song you could play and rewind over and over again to properly emote any/all adolescent angst.

Here is where I admit to buying Brian McKnight's "One Last Cry" as a cassingle in 6th/7th grade and playing it over and over again when the boy I liked kissed my best friend. I did the same thing with Janet Jackson's single "Again" and countless Boyz II Men tracks. Just me and the boom box, bulldozing through my bramble of emotions one rewind at a time. Things are quite, quite different now with our iTunes and spotify playlists and email mp3 attachments. You can still start the song over as much as you like, but I can't say it's quite the same. I'll always remember the sound of the tape spinning back onto its wheels and the thud signifying completion. The sinking of my young little heart would pause long enough for the song to begin again, and then continue its descent for the duration of melody.

RIP, cassingles. I think of you often.

ps: it looks like a lot of people now sell cassingles on ebay.

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