Since last September I’ve been an lover of vinyl records. Call me hipster all you please, but doesn’t having fresh brewed coffee whilst listening to one of your favourite albums play with just a hint of crackle sound like a perfect Sunday afternoon?
But why? Why am I, and so many others (the vinyl industry is BOOMING currently) listening to music on what is arguably an outdated and expensive format? Most of us are already paying for streaming services (I’m a Spotify lover), so why are we shelling out more? There’s many a reason, one being that streaming services aren’t paying artists that much and buying the music is always a better way to go if you want the artist you love to feel a bit more of a benefit.
I truly believe that my generation came into our own just as music began to lose it’s physicality. Being born in 1995, I hit my teenage years, when I was truly developing my own tastes in music just as everyone was pirating everything, just as mp3s and portable players were becoming the norm. I felt that we lost a connection that others had, we stopped pouring over the lyric books, we stopped flicking through those god awful giant CD holders and running our finger down the rack of cassettes wondering what to play next. Though these aren’t real memories of my own, this is from observing my two older sisters. Sure I have a handful of CDs from childhood and my early teen years (looking at you my battered copy of The Hoosiers’ ‘The Trick to Life’). Instead we hoped that the weirdly named file we were downloading was actually The Killers – Mr. Brightside and not Bill Clinton claiming he didn’t have sexual relations with Monica Lewinski.
That physicality is important. I love being able to proudly display the albums I love. I want to flick through the photo shoots of the artists, I want to know who they thank for inspiring and supporting them as they created one of the most important things in their lives. There’s something special about reading that in the form it was intended and not on a small Wikipedia page followed with ‘citation needed’. Being able to flick through a selection of LPs rather than scrolling through your music library on your phone is an immensely better experience. The sense of urgency disappears – don’t you find that? You’re scrolling at the speed of life, like your life depends on hearing the next track straight away. It’s nothing like Netflix where you can spend hours searching before giving up, oh no, you’ll be listening to something in 3 microseconds even if it kills you.
I could continue all day on this, there’s so much more to discuss, the connection to the artist, there’s the helplessness and freedom of the inability to switch tracks, there’s the fun of collecting, there’s so many reasons as to this vinyl resurgence, at least for myself. However I’ll stop before this gets too long. Maybe a part 2 on my decision to go vinyl will come soon.
Remember, Record Store Day 2017 is coming up soon! Make sure to support your local vinyl shop! I’ll be outside my favourite South London record shop 6am queuing for some exclusive music!