Today, I went to do one of my favorite things. I went shopping for records. Now, usually when I make that sort of statement, people either think it's really cool or really weird that I buy old and new vinyl records as opposed to CDs or digital tracks. Music has always been a really important part of my life and this is one of the ways I connect to it. There are so many reasons why I prefer and buy them.
While I do buy them partially because they look cool on a shelf, I play mine (not to disparage people who don't. I also think it's really cool when people frame them or put them on a wall). For me, they just sound better. It's also really fun to put a needle to a record and anticipate when it starts to play.
There is a nostalgic element to the appeal of records for me. My parents and grandparents have passed down parts of their collections to me in hopes that I will get something out of the music just like they did. For the music that they don't have, I go searching just like I did today. I'm really lucky to live in a great music city where it's really easy to go out and find record stores. There's really nothing like going in and finding exactly what you're looking for (I finally found Rumours today) and then going home, sitting in a chair, and listening to it. A lot of the music I listen to is older than I am, so the records make me feel more connected to their history.
The artwork is also something that has always appealed to me. Seeing things like the bright orange color of my favorite record or the dog (His Master's Voice) on the RCA logo have always excited me. Photos, fashion, cartoons, and logos of the bands, artists, labels, and albums have always been fascinating to me and tell as much about the artist as the music itself does.
Most importantly, though, I have always just appreciated having a physical music collection. I once heard Kate Nash (who else?) in an interview say that it seemed odd to her that a person's music collection could just be deleted, and I completely agree. Having records to play, hold, and even pass down to people I know and will know in the future is even more thrilling than pressing a button on an MP3 player or a computer (although I do that anyway).
I know this is a complete geek-out post, but I just wanted to share it. I had a chance to explain this the exact way I have written it down to someone today on my last stop of three stores, and it made me feel great. Maybe it made this guy feel good to that people my age haven't lost sight of what good music is and what it can do to people when they have it and play it. Or maybe he just thought I was really weird. Probably the second one.
One of the albums I picked up today was Amy Winehouse's Lioness (thanks to the person who found it for me and caused me to have a spastic freak out in the middle of the store). I'm listening to it as I write this and am excited to see this track on here. Body and Soul by Amy Winehouse and Tony Bennett: