I am a recent convert to vinyl. About a year ago, I convinced long-suffering-husband to get rid of the TV, and we invested in a record player, a good set of speakers and all the other bits that we needed for listening. We still own a CD player, and also have some black boxy thing (who knows what the proper term for it is? An amplifier? Probably. My head is full of other stuff that I need to know. I just know what it does, and how it works.) to enable us to also listen to streaming services.
I have loved listening to records. Sitting reading the back of the covers, just like I used to (it was where I started my internal collection of fun facts about composers. Sitting with my back up against the brown velvety cover of my mum’s sofa.). Reading lyrics, recording histories (did you know that at the end of the Beatles’ output Paul used to record the bass line in last so that he could know what was going on around it, and make it as interesting and fitting as possible?), looking at art work designed for each album – and most importantly hearing new stuff.
For example, we have a Peter Gabriel album I adore now. I knew one song on it when we bought it. I love the whole thing now – it’s crazy, and over the top, and totally wonderful. Same goes for numerous Sly and the Family Stone tracks. I love this journey. And playing it all on vinyl means you can’t really skip stuff – it’s actually just too much bother.
I was reading an article in ‘The Monthly’ the other day about a writer comparing her digital music library to her actual music library. (It’s here, if you are interested.) She’s a fabulous writer, and raises some really interesting points. She also said this “… I find my online listening becoming narrower, more predictably situated within my established tastes. …there is the mirroring of algorithmic recommendations, giving me more versions of myself and that self’s habits…” And it got me thinking. I do put on streaming services, but I know realise they are playing me much of the same stuff. This isn’t a bad thing, but it seems a shame, when there’s all this music out there.
So – I am going to challenge myself, and if you have read this far, why not try it too. Every time you sit and listen to music for the next little while, listen to something new. As in, new for you. I’m going to do it. And I’m going to look forward to unearthing things I’ve never heard before. I may find some awful stuff I’ll never listen to again. But I’ll probably find some excellent music too…