Saturday, October 24, 2009

On musical madness (please help!)

As you might have gathered from the tale of my desperate hunt for “the orange book” and then “the new orange book” thereafter, I can get fairly obsessed with things I want. Actually, it’s not necessarily the fact that I want them; it’s the fact that I want to solve the mystery... For my mind to let go of it, I needed to know what book this was. I needed to know if it was worth the search. Similarly, I can see a movie featuring an actor I know I have seen before, but I cannot place him/her. This will send me into fits and usually I’m not able to fully enjoy the movie until I figure out where I have seen this person before. Luckily, I have IMDb to help me with this. Unfortunately, there is no similar database for books (to my knowledge, anyway). If there is such a website, where I can type in “book with a really orange cover in X shop in Oslo on March 21st 2009” and it will come up with The Other Hand by Chris Cleave, then I urge you to tell me about it.

Recently, the problem expanded. Now it also includes CD’s. When I visited Minnesota not long ago, we went to the Mall of America. There I heard a CD that has haunted me ever since. Below is my first attempt to figure out what CD this actually was:


I visited your store at the Mall of America on Monday the 12th of October. I absolutely adored the store - both the items displayed, the ambiance of the store and the friendly staff. Browsing around, I noticed another thing I liked – the music.

When I was ready to purchase the items I selected I noticed that on the register there sat a CD with a note ("now playing"). I asked the clerk whether the CD was for sale, which it was, but as this was the very first shop I had entered in the mall, I was not ready to impulse-buy the CD.

Walking around at the mall, though, I could not get it out of my head. Thus, after having thought about it for a while, I decided to go back and buy the CD after all. However, this being the Mall of America, and me having a poor sense of direction, I actually could not find the shop again (it didn't occur to me until later that I could have consulted the receipt from my purchase to find the name of your store, which I had already forgotten, and then look it up on my mall map. Ah, well. Since I also had a flight to catch, it was probably just as well that I didn't. Anyway).

Since I didn't get a chance to buy the CD at your wonderful little store at the Mall of America, I tried finding the CD in a shop in Michigan, where I'm currently at. Unfortunately, by the time I got to Michigan, I had already forgotten the name of the artist and the title of the CD. My memory really is as bad as my sense of direction. Obviously, I didn't find the CD.

Tomorrow I leave Michigan to go back to Washington, D.C. where I'm based (my time in the Mid-West having been nothing but a pleasant vacation). Since I still keep thinking about this CD, however, I am wondering if perhaps the staff in your store could be helpful in figuring out what CD it actually is I'm looking for. See, I'm not even going to be in D.C. that long – at the end of this month I will be going back to Norway where I actually live – so this might be my one and only chance. If I can find out which CD this is, I might be able to buy it while in the U.S. since I doubt it is possible to find it overseas.

I have, naturally, noticed that your store has an online branch. I don't know if you also sell CDs online (I browsed your website and could not find it, but you know – sense of direction and all that...). If you do, and if you think you'd be able to ship it to the East Coast before I go back to Norway (or, alternatively, to Norway, but I am guessing this will be more challenging), I would be happy to purchase it from your online store. Otherwise I would be extremely grateful for your help to at least figure out what CD it is I am talking about, since my own memory is so inadequate.

This was the CD played at the Afternoon shop at the Mall of America, Monday October 12th at 10.31 (according to my receipt). The clerk I spoke to was Joan. I talked to her about the CD, so she might remember me, but then again, I completely understand if she doesn't as I can only begin to imagine how many faces you must see every day at the Mall of America.

The music was possibly jazz, or at least jazzy, but I did get the feel that there were several musical genres involved. On the cover there was the picture of a woman (or her face), and I seem to remember the name of the artist was a single one (like Madonna, only I think this one started with a K. Maybe). What Joan did say, however, was that the CD was very popular.

I don't know if you at all will be able to help me. I do realize that I must seem a little crazy going through all this trouble trying to figure out a CD I heard once, in a store that I most likely will never get to visit again (sadly, I must say, since I really liked the concept of the store). If I ever do get to go back to the Mall of America, or to any of the other locations you're at (or if you branch out to Norway), I certainly will visit again. And not just to inquire about the CD. Also, I know I probably ought to have directed this email directly to the Mall of America branch (or Joan), but unfortunately I did not find any other email addresses than this one.

I apologize for writing such a long email to explain such a simple problem – hopefully you will have gotten a few laughs out of it. I would be very grateful for any help in the matter.

Have a nice day!

Best regards,

Cruella Collett

A few days later, I received a nice reply, suggesting that the CD I was looking for was one by “Jem”. I googled this, and found a Welsh pop singer by this name. I visited her website, where she had samples of her album.

Although the music was nice enough, it was definitely not what I had been looking for. I sent a note back to the store, thanking them for their effort, determined that it was not for me to figure out this one, and that I just had to let go.

Easier said than done.

Despite myself, I have been roaming record stores ever since. Since I don’t know the name of the artist, the album or even the genre, it’s easier said than done finding the CD. I even asked a clerk in the music department of Borders the other day. One additional piece of information I offered her, was that I remembered the artist sounded a lot like Melody Gardot. Even the cover looked a little bit like her, with a female profile looking slightly away as she often poses. Frankly, the similarity to Gardot was one of the reasons I didn’t buy the CD in the first place, as I had heard of Gardot (but forgotten her name, otherwise the one name only thing should have tipped me off), and I figured that I’d be able to find her album elsewhere, and thus not further stretch the capacity of my already packed suitcase.

The clerk at Borders tried to do a search for me on “if you like Melody Gardot”, but the only thing that came up was Diana Krall, and as I’m already familiar with her music, I knew it wasn’t her.

Once again my efforts were futile. Then it occurred to me that I might try one last thing – the internet community. It never ceases to amaze me what you can find using the Internet these days. Therefore I am asking you, if you have any idea what CD or artist I am talking about, if you have an idea how or where to find out, if you know someone who works at “the Afternoon” at the Mall of America… Any ideas will be welcome. And if I still can’t figure out what CD this is, I really have to forget (or go mad trying).

Currently listening to: (hoping that some of the songs it selects as "similar to Melody Gardot" will turn out to be the "not-actually-orange-but-as-a-reference-point-I'll-still-refer-to-it-as-the-orange-CD". In the meantime I'm getting lots of great, new musical experiences)

Currently reading: John Connolly's The Gates which is AWESOME!


M.J. Nicholls said...

Eep. I've had that dilemma. In my experience, a few years down the line, when you've forgotten ever having heard the artist, the song will visit you like a belated ghost.

I use the All Music Guide's database for music searches ( or type a snippet of lyric into Google. But if you have nothing to type into the search box, then... eep.

Best o' luck. I'm intrigued to hear this mystery music now.

Cruella Collett said...

Mark - I think is my new favourite website (after the giraffe one, naturally)! Thank you!!! I have not yet figured out how to trick it into finding the CD I'm looking for, though...
And I promise I will share if I ever find out!

Chary Johnson said...

I hate it when that happens. You looking for a song/ CD and don't know the artist's name nor album. I can totally relate. I hope you find it soon so that you can let this mystery rest.


J. M. Hunter said...

The only recent, popular, somewhat jazzy album by a female singer taht I can think of that has a profile looking away is Feist's The Reminder.

Do you know any of the lyrics? Even just a few words together? Sometimes if I don't know a song or artist, but I know that somewhere in the song it says "my feet move of their own accord," or something then I can usually stumble upon the right google combination to find what I'm looking for.

Tundiel said...

Hahahaha, I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when they read your email.*snorts*

Good luck with the CD hunting!

Cruella Collett said...

Chary - thanks - here I thought I was the only one with this problem...

J.M. - You know, the Feist album really struck me as a potential kandidate. I'm not entirely sure this is it (no, I don't have the lyrics - lyrics are almost the very last thing I listen to when it comes to music, so I'd be more likeley to know the guitar riff, but I guess that's less helpful). In fact, since it's been about two weeks since I saw/heard the album, I'm not entirely sure I would recognize it anymore. It could be Feist. At any rate, I'll check it out. From the little I heard at (thank you again, Mark!), it sounds like you may once again have directed me to a to me new and awesome artist. You = musical guru!

Tara - yeah, I figured there was no way I wasn't going to be annoying with my silly request, so I might at least try to make it a little amusing for them...

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