So, I have a confession to make… I’m addicted to vinyl. But you probably already knew that from the title of this post. I never thought that I'd be the type of person who would actually become addicted. In fact, I was scared when I realized it at first.
I did not want to be that person who had seemed obsessive over some trendy thing. Some of my other friends questioned my liking for vinyl, but I don’t ask them why they like football so much! But I was much like them before. I still remember when I got my first vinyl record – it was Christmas. I had thought and laughed to myself, “oh how antiquated, why would anyone ever use this!” I realized now that I was very wrong – my younger, naïve version of me from 3 months ago could never have understood.
But it all started with that first vinyl. See, my girlfriend thought it would be “cute” if we bought a vinyl record player for the Christmas gift I received. Despite my resistance, she bought it anyway. It didn’t make sense to me; they used these a long time ago, right? So why would we listen to low quality, scratchy music that takes twice as long to set up as an iPhone! I was so strangely against it that even I began to question why I was adverse to the idea of a vinyl record player. Maybe I was not so much against the idea of a vinyl record player but more so against the idea of myself possibly liking it. And oddly enough, when the turntable first came in the mail and I opened it up, it sort of… spoke to me.
I was home alone when I opened it up, and for some reason and to my fault, I didn’t wait for my girlfriend. It was a strange, overcoming feeling as I felt almost compelled to bring the vinyl and the record player together. It was my strange penchant for new things that when the vinyl record player rested in front of me I did the unthinkable, and I played the vinyl.
The vinyl? “Kind of Blue” by Miles Davis. Everything to me was a surprise! For instance, I became a full-fledged Jazz lover on the spot. Just the way that Jazz is essentially the same two chords but every line completely unique in their own way really struck me. But what surprised me most was the richness of the sound quality of the vinyl record player. It’s a feeling very much indescribable. Tonality like that warmed my cold heart and soothed my aching soul. Vinyl records had this enormous capacity for understanding, and perhaps it’s the vintage feel, but I wanted more.
I decided to begin collecting vinyl as a hobby (much to my girlfriend’s surprise and mine as well), and it became a weekly vice. Every Saturday, I would walk down to the old bookstore where they had a section of old vinyl records. One week I would find a Beatles record, and another I would find Marvin Gaye. I even bought an Ariana Grande vinyl last week! But with every week, I would buy more and more records. Within a month, I collected dozens of vinyl. My living room was filled with stacks of them. I would spend hours listening to the soundtracks, reading the inside cover descriptions, and thinking about the ingenious artistry of every album.
I did not realize, weeks later, that I had spent so much time and money on vinyl. I was quickly losing what I had with friends - no more Sunday games with the “bros”. Instead of date nights, I would spend that money on vinyl – no more Sushi Sundays.
When this was pointed out to me, I quickly realized that I needed to stop. I stopped buying vinyl, and thus, forced myself to stop obsessing over spinning black disks. I began to spend more time with my friends, and while it was hard to avoid the old bookstore around the corner, I had to, for the sake of my social being.
Although, the funniest thing happened last week. I was out with one of my friends at the local bar, and he told me that he was starting to do alumni college interviews for his alma mater. He kept smiling as he talked about how he and the student he interviewed bonded over Bob Marley albums, and I couldn’t help but join in his excitement. One of my favorite vinyl purchases was Bob Marley’s “Legend.” We must have talked for hours about Bob Marley’s lyrics, his inspirations, and his impacts. My friend was thoroughly surprised that I could talk about as much as I could, and I was surprised too. I guess my vinyl addiction was not as negative as I thought it was. I realized I had broadened my musical tastes and appreciation for artistry, and music for me became a language rich in context and feeling. Vinyl to some may be just spinning black disks, but for me, they are stories waiting to be told, scenes waiting to be played. Why am I obsessed with vinyl? Well, same as you.
About the Author:
Marcus Jamison is a recent UCLA graduate pursuing a career in media marketing. His goal: to be employed by a record label committed to the vinyl revival!
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