It’s 1:30 am and I can’t sleep. Insomnia creeps into my mind like a fungus, itching like a bad rash. So I go to my files. I take a few albums to listen to, out of over 300 that I own, and it’s already a chore, but I end up selecting my LP team. I take my champions to the magic machine and place “The Best of The Band” on the spinner, making sure the needle is in the right place (track 3 of side A).
Headphones on, open-minded and ready for the music, I’m looking forward to “The Weight” playing with that beautiful acoustic intro and the words “I stopped in Nazareth, I felt pretty much dead.” As the songs continue and the records change, I find my mind at ease. Comforted. Because if there’s one thing I love more than movies, it’s vinyl records. These musical relics that convey both the nostalgia and the hipster chic that seem to be all the rage right now.
Most people love music, but there are different levels to that love. He listens to whatever’s on the radio or participates in CDs (which you listen to when there’s nothing good on the radio and you’re tired of mocking fire and brimstone preachers). Now everyone is obsessed with playlists on apps and artists barely get a dime. But all of these are meant to be on the go. Everyone has a place to go and they can’t sit and let the music play.
Listening to a vinyl record is something else. You can’t mix order and it’s not portable. You have to make a conscious effort to put on an album and listen to it. Just listen and let your imagination take you.
I first became addicted to vinyl when my aunt gave me a record player for my birthday. I then bought LPs of “Rumors” by Fleetwood Mac and “The Dark Side of the Moon” by Pink Floyd and have been in a whirlwind ever since.
Walking into a record store is an experience in itself. When you walk in, you see mountains of records, from mainstream to obscure. You push your way through the plastic covering these albums and notice all the imperfections that separate an original release from a modern reprint. Some album covers are worn, some have dust, and some have the previous owner’s initials written in Sharpie. Bad for its value. But good for the consumer.
I guess I could listen to the Rolling Stones’ “Exile on Main Street” on Amazon Music. But there’s something about vinyl that I’m obsessed with. Maybe it’s the need to collect things to fill the shelves. Maybe it’s the amazing cover art. Maybe it’s the fact that the album was released on vinyl and not listening to it on a turntable would make me an impostor.
There’s just a beauty in the medium that not only I see, but millennials and Gen Z as well. Over the past few decades, generations have tried to downplay the size of music. From LPs to cassettes, cassettes to CDs and CDs to digital that takes up no space. So we come back to the bottom of the scale. This solid base.
It’s now 3 am and I can sleep. I want to listen to more music, but my body needs to be replenished. My champions have served me well. So I put them back on the shelves with their brothers and collapse on the bed.