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The Pros and Cons of Owning a Record Player
As an avid music fan and self-proclaimed music nerd, I have been listening to music on my record player for about seven years now. Most of you will ask, "How old is this person? I've been listening to music on my record player since the 70's!" Well, as a 25-year-old working wife and mother of zero, I only recently discovered the awesomeness that is vinyl.
I became a fan of music when I was a child and was raised on Jazz and Easy Listening artists by my dad and mom respectively. It wasn't until my middle school years that I really began to have my own taste in music. This is when I became very passionate about music from the decades that preceded me, and even though i grew up in the 90's, I absolutely love music from the 60's, 70's, and 80's.
My mom and dad bought me a record player for my birthday one year, and ever since then my record collection has grown to bins upon bins of dusty, perfectly nostalgic records from many genres of older music. The first records I owned were ones that my mom and dad handed down to me, like some of my mom's James Taylor records and my dad's Scott Joplin favorites. For that same birthday, I received a gift certificate to a place called CD World that sold CDs, tape cassettes, 8-tracks, and of course, vinyl records.
I'm not going to lie: the thing that draws me to records the most is the famous album covers. I love being able to see my favorite artists on the covers of their own albums, bigger than on any CD, no matter how worn and dusty these albums may be (Abbey Road, L.A. Woman). Not to mention countless albums with images that are imbedded in the brains of every music lover throughout the world (Dark Side of the Moon, Led Zeppelin IV). Let these album references give you a small glimpse into the kind of music I enjoy.
It might just be me, but I cannot describe the difference in sound between an mp3 and a vinyl record. While some may argue that the quality of an mp3 is much better than that of a song on vinyl, I can't help but get excited when I hear the needle hit the edge of a record for the first time since my big purchase. The records I buy at second hand stores are the best: I literally get a chance to hear "the sounds of the seventies" with every crackle and warp of each individual album.
Even the albums that I've purchased brand new from Fred Meyer sound great on my record player (dust and funky smell not included). It seems that now, even some new artists are choosing to release their albums on vinyl, as well as on CD and digital copies. Smart choice, I say. While I am drawn to the older records, I still find myself looking through new release bins as well as old bins in places like CD World and a local favorite, Happy Trails.
The one and ONLY complaint I have about record players and the vinyl records that give them life is the ability to skip songs. This is one luxury I grew accustomed to with CD players and iTunes: if I didn't like a particular song, I could simply skip it by pressing the "next track" button. It is rare that I come across a record that I can listen to all the way through without fast forwarding through a song. The Beatles' Abbey Road and Fleetwood Mac's Rumours are two fine examples. When I don't like a song that I hear on my record player, I actually have to get up and manually move the needle to the next song. I know this makes me sound lazy, but hey, it's a pain. This is why Greatest Hits collections and soundtrack albums are key, because these compilations are rarely a let-down.
So if you're a 20-something with a curiosity toward what you might have previously referred to as a "dead technology," I recommend purchasing a record player and putting it to great use right away. Or if you're a 50-something with the thirst to reconnect with your inner music nerd, bust out those old players of your own, clean off the cobwebs and dust, and relive your wonder years. Trust me, you won't regret it.