Thursday, July 02, 2009

Hello, old friend.

Hello, old friend.

It's been a long time since I bought any vinyl new, aside from a single here and there. In fact, the last "from the label, brand new, never been played" LP I bought was probably sometime in the early '90s. I appreciate vinyl, and my first albums were of course vinyl, but I tend to buy used LPs when I buy LPs at all.

Well, yesterday I bought the new Wilco album on vinyl. I really liked the artwork and kind of felt like indulging myself. (It didn't hurt that since GalPal moved in we've actually had a working record player in the house .. mine has been busted for years and I just never got around to repairing it.) The fact that the LP also came with a copy of the CD didn't hurt either, since another reason I probably haven't bought much new vinyl over the years is, well, it's a lot harder to rip something off a record player. And I admit it, I like my music to be portable, music snobbery be damned.

I'll admit I was a bit taken aback when I hit the register and had to shell out $26* for the album, but what the hell, I viewed it as a late birthday present to myself and allowed myself the indulgence. When I got home I turned into a 12-year-old, opening the gatefold, looking over the lyrics and liner notes, growing slightly amused that there were two sleeves (one with additional artwork, the other a plain white one to actually house the record) and just really enjoying its bigness, solidity, and sense of thereness you just don't get with CDs or tapes (or MP3s, obvs).

I've been hearing about the resurgence of vinyl for years and years now. It's not a new story. I've always thought it was great people were still enjoying the format, but it wasn't until yesterday that I realized how important it is that people enjoy the format. I pore over liner notes and art in CD booklets, but man, it ain't the same. And there is a physical connection -- especially when you have to get off your ass and flip that LP over to side two, or back to side one for another listen -- that you just can't get any other way.

I'm not saying I'm gonna start buying nothing but vinyl, I just couldn't afford that, but there is a good chance that if I come across an album I love, even a brand new one, you might find me trekking to the record store to pick up the LP.

*I think the last time I bought a brand new vinyl LP it was under ten bucks, so the sticker price did come as a genuine shock.

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