This year I’ve found myself regularly buying vinyl again. ‘Why?’ is a question I sometimes ask myself. My turntable set-up is not particularly high-end so even though some heavyweight pressings and remasters sound great to my ears the scratched second-hand stuff I often buy doesn’t always compare favourably to CD quality, so it’s not entirely about the sound itself.
It’s partly a fetish type thing, I suppose - the packaging, the feel, the smell not to mention the physical act of taking the record out of the sleeve, putting it on the turntable and then having to turn it over. And of course there’s an element of nostalgia to it as well, but listening to something on vinyl also seems to change the way I listen to music. For the first time in what seemed like ages I spent evenings sat reading or surfing the ‘net while listening to complete albums. In fact on more than a few occasions, I’ve found myself putting down what I am reading and just listening to a song or part of a song, my focus entirely on the music.
The demands of everyday life being what they are mean this kind of listening experience is simply not an option all the time, but given the chance, I often grab the opportunity to immerse myself in an album just like I would when I was a kid discovering great music for the first time.
Don’t get me wrong, CDs & especially digital formats like MP3 are a big part of my listening life. Portability is not vinyl’s strong point! However in a world of ‘skip’ buttons, cherry-picked playlists and background music, it feels good to reconnect with the things that made me truly love music in the first place. Those little things buried in a mix that make your neck hairs tingle, those songs that you may well skip on CD or MP3 as they don’t necessarily jump out on first listen, but can grow to mean so much more than those that do.
Thank you, vinyl :-)