I want to spread the news
That if it feels this good getting used
You just keep on using me
Until you use me up…
The best part about going to a record store is that the people working there know their shit. The record store is a dying business, but let’s be honest, sitting all day getting paid to listen and talk about music is a hell of a job. That being said, they can be a little cagey when you walk in. Vinyl is apparently the thing to collect right now, so you’ll have college kids walking in and asking if you can get a copy of the new One Direction album on vinyl. They’ll be more than happy to sell it to you, business is business, but they’ll treat it with a little bit of disdain. Once you get past their defenses though, you get a masterclass in music recommendations. I’m no slouch when it comes to albums, but these guys know genre defining artists, which ones can lead you down new paths of aural discovery, the guys that work the record stores are the sultans of sound.
I walked into ‘Rebel Rebel’ before it closed and they had Curtis playing. Curtis is some straight up soul. I listened to it as I rifled through album after album. I picked up some Carly Simon, Miles Davis, Jeff Buckeley, I even briefly contemplated picking up a first printing of The Police’s Outlandos d’Amour (at a paltry $70, a steal at any price). Then I started talking to the guys behind the counter. They say that I was digging, Curtis, but some of the smoother tracks. At this point I had spent nearly an hour and a half in the store, talking intermittently, and so they finally convinced me to buy a Bill Withers album, and I took it, sight unseen. Or I guess more accurate, sound unheard. I took home Bill Withers, Jeff Buckeley, and Carly Simon.
I got home, put it on the record player, and I loved it. From ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’ to ‘Use Me’, the guys at the record store got me down pat. That’s the thing about records for me, there’s a certain appeal about a tangible thing. Something that you can hold, something that you can call your own, and something you can share. Don’t get me wrong, with Spotify, Youtube, and MP3’s in general, the availability of music and our ability to share it has never been greater. But you lose a little of that mystique, of discovering a great record and having people over and introducing them to it. Every time you listen to a song online, it sounds exactly the same, every where. Vinyl has these tiny imperfections, a warble here, a tiny skip there. Music, like all art, is a human creation, and anything that we create is imperfect. And I guess for me, I like my art to imitate life, and I guess some sort of unending search for records and something new you’ve never heard is a journey that I want to take.
Or as my sister puts it: “It’s about damn time you collected something cool.”