If you listen hard, and listen closely, you can hear why I collect vinyl.
“Lord, I was born a ramblin’ man / Tryin’ to make a livin’ and doin’ the best I can…”
It doesn’t seem like much. If you’re not listening for it you might not even hear it. But for me, it makes all the difference in the world.
I love music. I’m sure most people have said that at least once in their life. That’s actually one of the reasons I love music as much as I do: it’s something we all have in common. Music has the power to bring us together. It fills our lives with a beauty that we can all take part in because music has no barriers and asks nothing of us in return.
Growing up, my dad had absolute control over the music played in the car. There was a never ending playlist of the Rolling Stones, The Police, R.E.M., XTC, Fleetwood Mac, and so on. And I’ll be honest with you, I hated it. I was eight years old! All I wanted to do was listen to Avril Lavigne. But now, looking back, I owe you an apology for all my complaining – I’m sorry dad. You were the first one to show me the thing I love most in this world.
In grade 9 I got my first job, and with the money I got from it I bought my first vinyl record. AM by Arctic Monkeys. We all have to start somewhere, right?
When I got home with my record tucked under my arm, my dad showed me the old record player we have in the basement. It’s this long teakwood table with orange detailing and a built-in turntable on one side and record storage in the other. He put on his copy of The Beatles Blue Album and that’s when I heard it for the first time.
“Let me take you down / ‘Cause I’m going to Strawberry Fields…”
And just like that, I was in love.
To me, there’s no other way of listening to recorded music that compares to vinyl. I love holding them in my hands. I love the album art that’s yours forever. I love hunting around in dollar bins, taking trips out to thrift stores and going to vinyl auctions and fairs all in the hopes that I find the diamond in the rough.
There are a million reasons I love and collect vinyl, but the main reason can be heard right before the music comes in, right after the needle drops.
It’s those pops, cracks and clicks. They let me know I have something tangible, and while it’s not perfect sound quality and the record will only degrade over time, those sounds remind me that I own a little piece of music history. From my Bob Dylan bootlegs, to my Grateful Dead collection, all the way to my personal pride and joy–my 1971 Spanish pressing variant cover of Pink Floyd’s Meddle–my vinyl collection makes me feel like I’m holding the past in my hands.
I can’t really explain why there has been a resurgence of vinyl. It could be any number of reasons, including the reasons why I collect vinyl. But I can say that nothing makes me happier than closing my laptop, putting down my phone and then putting on a record.
“This is the end / Beautiful friend / This is the end…”