Monday, December 15, 2008

I collect vinyl! Am I cool yet? Guys? .......guys?

So I "accidentally" typed in into my browser the other day.

Yes, it was an accident. Shut up.

I tend to avoid Ebay at all costs. Not because it's a bad website, but I have this disease where I can't go to that website without searching for old records and then bidding on old records. Which would be fine, if I had unlimited funds but uh yeah I DO NOT. never ends well.

Vinyl. It's interesting--the subject of buying vinyl has been brought up several times to me in the last month or so, most recently by a family member. She was confused as to WHY I preferred vinyl over CDs or MP3s. At the time, I was both lazy and a little drunk (Happy Thanksgiving, welcome to America, where we drink and eat in excess and then play Pictionary and almost fall asleep during an All Play) so my answer was probably something like "I LIKE RECORDS, THEY'RE BIG AND SHINY AND SOUND LIKE RICE KRISPIES WHEN YOU PLAY THEMMM blarg blarg NO SYMBOLS, JAKE, YOU CAN'T USE SYMBOLS, COME ON!!"

But after my body was free from the clutches of mashed potatoes and alcohol, I thought on it a bit further.

It's a trap! Seriously. When people find out you collect/prefer vinyl, I guarantee at least 50% of those people mentally file your name under "Pretentious Fuck" in their heads. Trust me, I know, I've done it, I've met them (Other things that will make me file you there: having gratuitous tattoos/piercings and then claiming you "don't care about your appearance," talking about how you lived in London/Paris/Australia for less than a year and it's "just so different there, so progressive, much better than Chicago, oh you wouldn't know, *snotty chuckle*," claiming that no good music has been made since the 60s/70s/80s, ever using the words "Kurt Cobain," "Dave Matthews," and "American poet" in the same sentance, etc etc).

But I digress.

The simplest of answers, I suppose, would be that I prefer the sound. Many of my records are old and a little scratchy--not overly so, but a little. I enjoy listening to the pops and crackles and the sound just as the needle touches the record for the first time. I don't know why. Haha, yeah, I know, WOW WHAT A GOOD EXPLANATION.

So I thought on it a little more. And here's what I came up with:

Listening to a record really makes you listen to it.

With vinyl, it's a process. You have a record player and it's not portable. You have to flip the record over in between, or switch records altogether to hear a full album. You can't put it on your iPod and run errands or go for a jog or commute while listening to the album (Note to self: invent the Walkman for 12" records. See how many hipsters would buy into it, just to rage against the Apple machine. It would be the biggest, most awkward, touchiest portable music player in the history of evers; I'll make millions). It's a big piece of plastic that you can hold in your hands, not a hypothetical album that lives in files on your computer.

With vinyl, you really are forced to pay attention.

I like that, I like letting the music wash over me and putting all my focus on it. I could sit in front of my record player and watch the album spin for hours while I listen to it like Charlie fucking Bucket in front of the candy store. I was the kind of kid who bought a CD and obsessed over it for a week or so--just listened to it over and over again, because you just can't soak everything in on the first listen. I read all the liner notes and all the lyrics. Oh man, Tiny Ly was on a rampage if they didn't include the lyrics. How was I supposed to sing along in front of the mirror if I didn't have the words in front of me?? Take note, musicians.

Not to mention, I like the idea of listening to music in a way that my heroes listened to it, too. David Bowie listened to records, dude. If it's good enough for Bowie, it's good enough for me (...besides Iggy Pop, I mean. Haha, just playin'. Kind of)! I realize that is the lamest answer in the history of answers, but I don't care.

Oh man. Ebay, you are the worst. I'm going to be the poorest kid in Chicago.

But at least I'll have Bowie's "Low" to keep me company.