Amazon MP3 Store begs the question: How much Gregorian chant is too much?

Uh ... your cross is glowing. Is it supposed to do that? (via

I’ve been a big fan of the Amazon MP3 Store ever since I figured out that it consistently undercuts iTunes’ prices. I drop in every morning to see what the MP3 Daily Deal is. At least once a month, it’s some album I’ve been lusting after that’s been given a ridiculously deep discount. (Yes, I know there are ways to get these albums for free months before they’re available from retailers like Amazon, but exchanging money for goods helps convince me that I’m a productive member of society.) Just last week I got Okkervil River‘s new album, I Am Very Far, for just $3.99.

Today’s daily deal, however, is a bit of a head-scratcher. Amazon is offering The 99 Most Essential Gregorian Chants for $1.99.

I’ve seen this “99 Most Essential” series on the site before. It’s an extremely economical way to massively expand your classical music collection. I was tempted when they offered The 99 Darkest Pieces of Classical Music for a similarly low, low price, because I’m a sucker for dark classical music. It would have given me everything from Prokofiev’s “Montagues And Capulets” from Romeo and Juliet to Bach’s “Toccata And Fugue In D Minor” at an average of about 2 cents each, which would have made up for the fact that they were no doubt recordings by second- or third-rate orchestras.

But Gregorian chant? Ninety-nine Gregorian chants?? Ninety-nine essential Gregorian chants??? I would argue that the number of Gregorian chants any music collection requires is one at most. Any more than that is inessential. It’s been 16 years since the Benedictine Monks of Santo Domingo de Silos mysteriously became pop stars. Even if there are still New Age fans out there who bought the line about chant being a relaxing escape from the stresses of the modern world, do they need to escape for almost 13 hours?

Whatever. I’m saving my pennies for The 99 Most Essential Didgeridoo Solos.


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