If you are serious about music, you have to love vinyl. There’s just no other way. Digital music doesn’t have the same intimacy that vinyl has. The interaction you have with it is so different, so impersonal, even though in many ways it can be individualized so much that you think it’s more real. But nothing does it for a music junkie like vinyl.
I grew up in the 70s and 80s, so mine was the last generation to really experience the glory that is vinyl. CDs started becoming popular when I was in junior high school, but I just couldn’t jump into it. They were so small! You couldn’t have cool album art like Sticky Fingers or groovy inserts like The Who’s Live at Leeds. How could music be any good in that format?
Music changed along with the technology of recording, distributing, and promoting it. Making music more accessible is the best thing that has happened over the past 30 years. But music itself has not gotten better. Not that everything recorded strictly on vinyl was brilliant. But it somehow still seems better than most of the crap that’s out there right now.
I still have every record album and 45 I ever owned. Some would call me a hoarder, but I prefer the term collector. (Well, I am a hoarder in a sense, but I don’t see that as a negative when it comes to vinyl.) I think about Rob in High Fidelity when he’s reorganizing all of his LPs autobiographically. This blog is sort of the same idea for me. I listen to a record and when I hear each scratch or fuzzy noise I remember who I was and what I was doing when I first became obsessed with it. It’s perfect.
A few days ago a friend of mine told me she knew a guy who had several hundred albums he was going to throw away. She asked if I wanted them. Hell yes! I told her. We had no idea what the doomed vinyl collection contained, but I did not hesitate to offer my place as a safe refuge.
She and another friend delivered everything to me in four cardboard boxes, and let me tell you what an exciting evening that was as the three of us went through each one! There were favorites—The Beatles, Monkees and Supremes, lots of Sinatra, some blues 45s—and stuff I either didn’t know—who is Sandy Nelson?—or hadn’t listened to much of—The Ray Conniff Singers, Guy Lombardo, and Godspell. I still have to sort through everything properly, meaning I have to categorize each record by musical style and then alphabetize by artist and put in chronological order. For a hoarder/collector and obsessive organizer, this is a dream come true!
Long live vinyl!