“I’ve got a fever and the only prescription is more cowbell.”
Or vinyl in my case.
One of the ways that I have stayed sane through being fevered and sick with COVID-19 and in quarantine has been through listening to music and old stories on my record player.
When I was in high school, while rummaging through my grandparent’s attic for some of my aunt’s vintage clothes, I stumbled across a crate of records. At the time, Napster was all the rage, and everyone was getting rid of clunky media of the past.
I, of course, hauled the crate of records home and scoured every second-hand store in a hundred-mile radius to find a turntable. It took me a month to find a record player, but as soon as I did, my dad and I spent hours listening to his old records (though he claims there were a few mixed in that had belonged to my aunt). Music was one of the ways my Dad and I bonded, and since he has passed, vinyl continues to be a channel of remaining connected to his memory.
I’ve always appreciated vinyl as well as other vintage and antique items. I’m not sure if it is because of the qualities of design, craftsmanship, or the nostalgia and connection to family that many of these objects can evoke.
Regardless of what might have initially sparked my interest in spending my time in musty attics, record shops, and antique stores, I prefer music on vinyl beyond the quality of sound compared to that of compressed digital.
When you listen to music digitally, it is a very passive activity. One-click of the mouse, and you move on to your next item of business. This passive activity of listening to music is especially true when a music streaming service is involved. With vinyl, it’s a whole other matter.
Selecting a record to listen to is a conscious choice. The action of carefully taking a record out of its sleeve is a tangible experience that allows you to be present, and in the moment—listening to vinyl transports you to feel like you were in the studio while the music was being recorded.
Vinyl also contains a world of music that you can’t find digitalized anywhere. There is nothing better than finding an obscure genre of music or never heard before jam sessions from studios that are no longer in existence. One of my favorite vinyl discoveries is part of the genre: “Texan, Afro-Latin, Funk-Jazz.”
And when the needle meets the middle, you have to stop what you are doing and flip the record over. Or begin the process of selecting another record.
Don’t get me wrong; there is a time and place when I want the mindless activity of passive music listening.
Being sick with COVID-19 and quarantined, I WANT the time-consuming distraction actively listening to music on vinyl provides.
I’ll be sure to share some of my favorites in the upcoming weeks.