A Love Letter to Vinyl…

For Christmas this year I received a turntable, some speakers, and a few hand-picked records – I’d been thinking of starting a vinyl collection for a while and had decided to take the plunge.

There was something exciting about opening that first record; about feeling the transparent wrap tearing back beneath my fingers, flexing the cover, sliding out the white paper sleeve, and tipping the solid black disc onto my palm.  It had a surprising weight to it.  It smelled new.  It felt fragile.  It felt precious.  Music as a real and tangible artifact.

I’d like to say it was the first needle drop that brought the quiet revelation, but that came later.  In the moment there was just the pop and hiss of blank space and then, of course, the music.

But something was different.

After I put the first record on, I sat back on my sofa and listened to side A.  When side A finished, I flipped the record over and listened to side B.  When that finished, I put a different record on the turntable, dropped the needle, and started again.  I repeated this ritual as afternoon faded through pink sunset and creeping dusk before coming to rest in the finality of collected darkness; and then still on until the knock of sleep became too insistent to ignore.

It was beautiful.  And what made it beautiful were the two things that were missing.

I had no impulse to do anything other than listen; and I had no urge to change the song to something different.  For that brief time, I was simply content.

It was here that I found my quiet revelation.

Because in our age of fractured acceleration contentment is a revolutionary state of being.

I realized that, as the format of the music had changed – from cassette tape, to CD, to MP3, to streaming service – even though each iteration brought with it greater access and choice, I had paradoxically found myself spending less and less time actually listening to music.

What looks like progress is not always progress – limits can be a beautiful thing.

So I cancelled all my streaming subscriptions.  I haven’t missed them.  Even though I have a grand total of 6 records in my collection I have listened to more hours of uninterrupted music in the last month than I did in the whole of last year.

And with this quietest of revolutions, I am quite content.

Thanks for reading this, I hope it finds you well.

J

(P.S. In case any of you are wondering, I am now looking at ways to put some of my music out as vinylIf you have any info on this feel free to hit me up.)

What did you think of this post?  Did you love it?  Hate it?  Do you have any thoughts, responses, or questions?  I would love to chat with you about them.  The comments box is waiting (just below).

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Did you like this Post?

Then you may also like: my essay on how to have more perfection in your life, the 5 reasons I get happier as I get older or, the real reason I make music for a living.


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63 Replies to “A Love Letter to Vinyl…”

  1. Interestingly I tend to hover between both vinyl and digital. Likely because I lived through the collapse of vinyl, the CD revolution, and then the resurgence of vinyl. Some artists I always get digital, but others I go for the vinyl. I tend to get vinyl from my past that will be something that I would sit down and “listen” to as opposed to play in the background. It’s taken me a while to get to the place of critical thinking before a purchase, but in the end I am more satisfied. I find my formative years of 80’s and early 90’s are what I end up gathering on vinyl. ;)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, my. What a flashback. I grew up with parents that had a huge, beautifully designed stereo cabinet, with inlaid speakers & brass wire covers and, Queen Anne feet (my mother always waxed it too much….LOL). The hours spent stacking albums on the metal stem, listening to each one (one side only), hearing the next one drop and them flipping the stack over to start the process all over, again. The speakers inside the wooden frame and the rich texture of analog recordings can not be re-captured today. I am very curious how vinyl would be done, now. The music created digitally then transferred to a vinyl medium? Or, are there still folks out there that can lay down tracks the old analog way?

    The very first records I listened to were my dad’s 45s…Everly Brothers, Ricky Nelson, Elvis… The very first album I ever bought for myself was a compilation of “Surf & Drag” music, a genre that disappeared a while ago.

    CDs & MP3s serve a purpose with players in vehicles & downloaded music on cell phones. But, unless the digital music can duplicate the analog sound, the musical tapestry & layers is lost to history.

    Love the post, BTW… I could actually “feel & see” what you were doing thru your words.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, this is high praise.
      I LOVE your description of your parents stereo system – so evocative!
      In answer to your question, these days there are records that are pressed from digital (tho often remastered for this purpose), but there are also those who go straight analogue to vinyl. And I think, if I’m not mistaken, that Jack White (White Stripes) has a studio that cuts straight from performance to record (ultra old school ;-).
      Your comments really mean a lot, and I thank you for them.
      Have a good one,
      – J

      Liked by 1 person

  3. My 13 yr. old daughter just started collecting vinyls. She thinks they’re great. I still have a lot from when I was younger. Queen, Beatles, Peter Frampton, etc. I’m so glad I saved them! I do remember one important thing from when I was young, don’t leave them in the sun, they warp! Lol I really enjoy your writing! Keep up the great work!!

    Like

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