Throughout my life, I’ve had a ton of hobbies. A lot of these ventures come and go. I’ve been involved in collecting comic books, building models, and woodworking. Some of these have stuck (comic books) and others have fallen off pretty quickly (woodworking and model building).
My most recent venture is vinyl.
Cue the hipster horn. No. I’m not going to be telling you how much vinyl sounds better. It probably does, but I’m too inept to hear that much of a difference between what I stream into my ears and what I spin on the turntable.
Sorry, vinyl heads. I didn’t mean to disappoint you. But I was never going to be cool enough to join your club anyway.
The truth is that I love the opportunity to rediscover music that I love and to have it in a physical medium.
I’m a materialistic person. That’s not to say that I am obsessed with the things that I own and equate ownership to status. What I mean is that I like things. I don’t know why. But I have always found happiness in owning something physical.
That doesn’t equate to all things. My comic book collection took a different turn when I realized that arcs collected into graphic novels were easier to read, more easily stored, and much more suited to my maturing adult apartment space. I don’t need the individual copies of a comic to be happy. I need the story, so that I can go back to it again and again.
And it’s the same with vinyl. I love having Spotify. As a kid born in the Napster age, I’ve stolen my fair share of music. Spotify is like the ultimate maturation of my former theft. Everything is available, all the time.
But I find myself moving away from music with Spotify. I tend to listen to podcasts over albums. I tend to not discover new things with the app. More often than not, I sink into old habits.
Vinyl, for me, is an opportunity to remember the music I love.
Now, I want to put it up front right now. My taste is weird for a person my age. I like 70’s rock and roll. It’s the music that played on the radio when I rode in the car with my parents. It’s the cds that were given to me when I was young. It’s the music that raised me.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve branched out and found new genres and new artists and there are many, many other things I love outside of the “classic rock” genre. But the late 60’s and early 70’s is where I live. It’s who I am.
And when your genre happened to be produced during the height of vinyl, you’re in a good place.
Most importantly, it’s a callback. No. I don’t know if vinyl sounds better than streaming. But I do know that I love handling the record, dropping the needles, and watching it spin.
I don’t want to assume that people younger than me won’t appreciate that type of material-feel to music. But I was raised popping cds into my Sony walkman. There’s an equation of feel and sound there that doesn’t happen when I hit play on my touch screen.
Will my vinyl collecting last forever? I don’t know. Maybe you’ll see my collection on eBay on day. But I doubt it. I like it too much.
Spin your old plastic, friends. Enjoy.