Listening to Records

Photo by Adrian Korte on Unsplash

My kid is at a friend’s house, so I spent the afternoon listening to records. I listened to The Rolling Stones’ 12″ single of “Miss You” b/w “Far Away Eyes”, ? and the Mysterians’ single of “96 Tears” b/w “Midnight Hour”, Warren Haynes’ “Tales of Ordinary Madness”, Dr. John’s “Things Happen that Way”, Mavis Staples’ “We Get By”, and She & Him’s “Melt Away”. When I say I listened to records, that was my activity. They weren’t background noise. I didn’t read or do housework. I just sat and listened. It was a nice afternoon.

I’m not sure how I picked those albums and singles. They’re all good, but none of them are among my favorites. I just flipped through my collection, and, for whatever reason, they were the ones to jump out at me. It’s good to listen to things I haven’t listened to in a while to remind myself why I got them in the first place.

It’s hard to explain why I like listening to records. Part of it is certainly nostalgia. I grew up listening to my dad’s record collection on his turntable in my parents’ living room. I like a clean record, obviously, but when there are pops and clicks, I find it a little comforting.

Part of it is also the fact that records are a more immersive experience than CDs or streaming. The act of putting the needle down and flipping the record makes me a participant in what I’m listening to in a way. I have to pay attention for things to work right.

One thing that’s not part of it, for me, is the sound quality. I’m not an audiophile. I didn’t pay more than $200 for my speakers. My setup is decent, but nowhere near as good as I would need to hear the subtle differences between a record and a CD. Streaming is a different matter. That’s obviously lower quality sound.

Like I said at the beginning, it was a nice afternoon. I’ll have to do it again sometime soon.

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