Last month, after two years in our new house, we finally got round to setting up our stereo. Why did it take so long? Because it’s taken us that long to get our house the way we wanted it and find a space for everything we own – or buy new furniture to fit in the space we had.
In the meantime, we’ve been using a little portable record player we actually bought for my daughter’s room whenever we’ve wanted to listen to a “real” record. It wasn’t the best sound, but it worked. Now, though, I am reminded just what I’ve been missing for the last two years.
So, instead of sharing a song this week (especially as I still have Christmas songs rattling around my head and I don’t want to inflict that on anyone again till December), I thought I would write my own little “love post” to vinyl and why – for me – it is still better than any other way of listening to music.
First, it’s the sound. For me, it’s deeper, richer and every little crack and crackle make it seem more “real”. Now this might not be very technical and I’m sure there are aficionados out there that can explain it a lot better than me but it’s the fact that the music it’s perfect is what I like. I can visual the band a lot more than I can listening on Spotify.
Second, it’s the feel. Picking up an album is soooo much better than searching for one on an app or picking up a CD case (though that is still better than the online option). It feels solid and – that word again – real. With albums, I am the proud owner of something that won’t be going away anytime soon. It’s why I still buy them now.
Then, it’s the experience. From picking it up in the store to looking at the cover, front and back, to see what art work has been chosen and then opening up the gatefold or taking out the sleeve to see if you are getting different images, a story or – even better, especially when I was younger, the lyrics.
There is also the listening. When you have an album, you tend to listen all the way through, the way the artist intended. You don’t pick up and put down the needle where you fancy listening, don’t skip through songs that aren’t hits. It’s a different way of listening, and I often find the songs that I loved first aren’t the ones that stick in my memory or keep me coming back to the album.
And, finally, it’s the memories they evoke. I have been buying vinyl singles since I was 7 or 8 and albums not much later than that. I still have them all. Going through them – as we did this weekend – just brings back so many memories. Where I was when I first heard the song, what made me want to buy it, what I felt when I first played it, how obsessed I was by playing it on repeat.
These are things you don’t get when you listen through Spotify or Amazon Music or other online services. Whilst I do use them I admit – all the time – and wouldn’t want to get rid of them, it just isn’t the same. So, long live vinyl and the bands that still release singles and albums on it. What about you – do you buy vinyl or are you a streaming music person?