For The Record: Listen on Vinyl
October 19, 2021
Imagine this — the year is 1973. You are a high school student and your favorite rock band has been teasing its album release for weeks. Friday finally comes and the album hits the shelves. You sit in class all day struggling to pay attention; all you can think about is getting your hands on this new album. The bell rings at 2:45. You rush out of the school parking lot and speed to your local record store. You wait in line for what seems like an eternity just to get your copy of the album. The wait was worth it. You drive home as fast as possible. Speed limits don’t apply to you. You run up stairs, slam your bedroom door, plop down on the ground and drop the needle into the groove and drift away into the marvelous melodies that you’ve waited for weeks to hear…
Fast-forward — the year is 2021. Your favorite artist drops an album, you open Spotify as you wake up, and you listen to it as you get dressed for school and on your morning commute.
Streaming services have made my generation miss out on the old fashioned experiences that come with finding and enjoying the music by spoon feeding us our new releases and artists. This causes us to listen less intentionally.
Owning a Physical Copy
Owning a real, physical copy of your music is an underrated feeling. It’s not like your monthly payment for Spotify premium or Apple Music that chips away from your bank account once a month. Once you buy it, you can keep it forever. Collecting your favorite albums is a cool feeling; some people even collect vinyl just for the album art for decoration. There’s something special about having classic album art like Dark Side Of The Moon by Pink Floyd and Abbey Road by The Beatles in your stack.
A vinyl record has qualities that you can’t get from Spotify. Yes, today’s speakers are higher quality, but there is more to vinyl listening than just the sound quality. When I listen to music on Spotify, I always have distractions that make it harder to get into the music. When I listen to my records, I listen without distraction. This makes it so much easier to dive into the music and get lost in the songs as they perfectly drift into each other without stopping. This may not seem like much, but it adds a completely different feel to the music. AirPods are convenient and almost essential to daily life, but there’s something about the crackle and pop of a vinyl that is undefeated and underrated.
Favorite Record Store: Guestroom Records
Out of all the record stores I’ve visited, Guestroom Records is my favorite. Located on Frankfort Avenue, the store has a great feel, and unlike a lot of record stores, they have more than vintage vinyls. If you are looking for a newer rap vinyl in Louisville, this is the place for you. They have great artwork, friendly staff, and a wide variety of music for a reasonable price.
Next Best: Surface Noise
Located on Baxter Avenue, Surface Noise is one of the most interesting record stores I have ever been in. They have an extensive collection of vintage records and the owner who runs the store is incredibly knowledgeable. It’s a super chill shop that has more than just music — they frequently have exhibits showcasing art and other things.
Vinyl isn’t about the practicality — it’s about the art. We can look at pictures of paintings on our iPhones, but it’s different to see that painting in a museum. Handwritten letters have more meaning than a long text message. If you claim to love an album, try to find a hard copy of it, put your phone away and give it a spin. Hopefully, like me, you’ll find yourself lost in the music.