Vinyl records rule!
By Jesse Reaves
For The Salisbury Post
A hobby I have picked up in the past year has been collecting vinyl records. Doing so has been a lot of fun and it has helped me appreciate my favorite music even more. There’s nothing like going to a vinyl shop and thumbing through countless numbers of old records, hoping to come across that vintage copy of “Dark Side of the Moon” or whatever else catches your eye.
It really excites me that vinyl is coming back in a big way. I recently read in Rolling Stone that vinyl record sales are up something like 400 percent in the past couple of years. More and more bands are starting to issue their releases not only online and on CD, but on vinyl as well.
A few bands, like Metallica for example, are even going back into their back catalog and re-releasing material onto the once-obsolete format.
Looking for and listening to a record is a much more intimate experience than going online and buying your music off of iTunes. With vinyl, you get the artwork of the packaging and whatever goodies that may lie inside. My copy of “Carnavas” by Silversun Pickups came with a little bonus EP inside of unreleased tracks ó how neat is that?
I’ve had other records come with posters or even trading cards.
Something else that some record labels are doing now that I wish more would do is releasing records that include a code for a free internet download of the music to put on their mp3 players so that people can have the music on both formats.
People these days (that makes me sound like such an old man) are really missing out by not having the actual physical product in their hands. Album covers used to be a statement, not just a picture to have on the front. Take a look at probably the greatest album cover ever: “Sgt. Pepper’s.” There’s so much going on there! You’ve got The Beatles dressed up as a fictional band with wax figures of their former selves looking on, along with many various celebrities of the time.
Another example would be the cover of “Sticky Fingers” by the Rolling Stones. The cover featured a shot of a pair of pants which included a working zipper.
There was also the chance for hidden backwards messages on records, something that is nearly impossible to do on a CD or mp3. One instance of this is “Empty Spaces” by Pink Floyd. If the album is played backwards, you hear: “Congratulations, you’ve just discovered the secret message. Please send your answer to Old Pink, care of the Funny Farm, Chalfont.”
Not only do records look cooler, they sound better too. Because mp3s and CDs compress the sound so much to make it louder, the sound quality is compromised greatly.
Google “the loudness war” if you want to read more about what is going on with mp3 compression.
With a vinyl, you will hear things that you possibly didn’t hear before, especially on the low end. Vinyl has such a nice, warm sound that it’s hard not to fall in love with it.
It’s really hard to top putting on a record on a lazy afternoon, drinking a beer and just kicking back. Right now my collection sits at around 50 after only one year of collecting, so it’s not a hard hobby to get addicted to.
Also, for the most part, it’s not an expensive one either. I suggest either going to the flea market or going on e-Bay to find some good cheap vinyl. I hope by reading this some people go out and start discovering the joy that is vinyl.
Musician Jesse Reaves can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.