For the love of vinyl

In less than three weeks, music fans across the country will come together to celebrate Record Store Day. In case you don’t know, Record Store Day was started in 2007 and is the third Saturday in April. It was set up to celebrate the independent record store as well as everything vinyl. A handful of bands including The Flaming Lips, Muse, and a reunited Soundgarden have special releases planned for the day, and The Smashing Pumpkins are planning a special concert in Los Angeles.

As someone who grew up as the CD was coming out, I have a great appreciation for the LP. Lately, more CDs are coming out with paper packaging similar to old records; however, they pale in comparison to original record packaging.

There’s something special about that 12″ square cardboard packaging. Colors catch your eye more than any CD ever could. The covers made a statement about the artist and the music. Rock history is littered with stories of people discovering a great record after getting it based on the cover alone.

The way we listen to music has evolved tremendously over the past 30 yrs. Mix tapes have given way to playlists. Digitizing the music has made it portable. However, even the best lossless format lacks a warmth that you only get when the needle hits the wax. Another big benefit today is the convenience of not having to fast forward to the next song or, perish the thought, wait until the song is over. While nice, it really doesn’t bother me. I’m a patient person.

Another great thing about LPs is the history they represent. One of my prized possessions is a copy of The Beatles’ White Album. It’s nowhere near mint condition, but I have it framed anyway. I can only imagine what it was like for people first hearing these albums that completely altered what is considered popular music.

While there are still some artists today that release things on record, these releases can be very limited and therefore very expensive. Unfortunately, the age of the LP has passed. It’s still great to see such a wide array of artists going old school – even if it’s just this one day.

Record Store Day is April 17. You can find more info at http://www.recordstoreday.com/

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