Some things are timeless. For instance, the “What’s that on your shirt?” prank your uncle might have played on you as a child and those old vinyl records of his that he’d play every once in awhile.
Those black shiny discs are back in style and sounding better than ever. Vinyl record sales are making a comeback after the market took a nosedive in the ’90s, and music shops resembling those of yesteryear are popping up again in cities around the country.
Atomic Pop Shop and Lagniappe Records were previously the only two music stores that carried a large selection of LPs in Baton Rouge. But now, the city welcomes one more vinyl record distributor.
Capital City Records opens its doors Friday at 4641 Perkins Rd. The music store will sell new and used records, turntables, CDs and tapes. It boasts an inventory of nearly a thousand vinyl records and some collector items like LPs from the 1960s through the ’80s that are still sealed. The new business also trades and buys records.
I am a long-time vinyl collector and have well over a hundred records. I can recall digging through my father’s collection as a kid and hearing the stories that surrounded the faded jackets. I’d play them each day before and after school. Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Gimme Back My Bullets” and Deep Purple’s “Machine Head” were my favorites. My love for vinyl records is rooted in that bonding experience as much as it is the sound.
However, there are many people in my generation that didn’t have this exposure and are falling in love with LPs for the first time.
Let me tell those individuals this — you will fall deeper and more passionately in love with not only your collection, but with music too.
It’s so easy to hit shuffle on your iPod or put your phone on your favorite Pandora station as you walk around. With vinyl, playing music takes time and focus. The act of picking an album to listen to takes thought. You have to analyze your mood and emotions to select the appropriate one. Carefully putting the needle onto the record takes patience and precision, two things we all must learn. It’s like meditation.
You’re also more likely to listen to an entire album. That’s the way music should be heard. Musicians created the record to be listened to as one piece. Sadly, downloading singles from an online store is the norm now, and it takes a lot away from the true artistry of songs being pieces to a whole.
You wouldn’t simply admire the corner of one of Van Gogh’s pieces of art — you’d look at the entire painting. Listening to only one track is kind of like that. It’s not truly appreciating the art of music.
In an interview earlier this year, Aerosmith’s Joey Kramer said it would be great for the band to make another record, but there is no reason to because records don’t sell and they don’t do anything.
Kramer said, “Music now is so disposable. It’s so like ‘Okay, here it is and five minutes later there’s something else.’ We’re not the Justin Biebers and the Nicki Minajs of the world, so unfortunately records don’t make sense.
There is a timeless aspect, although I’m not sure exactly what it is, that comes with placing a needle onto a record and flipping from side A to side B. The scratching and crackling that comes out of an old Crosley before the intro to “Black Dog” starts on “Led Zeppelin IV” gives folks like me a warm fuzzy feeling that a track from iTunes couldn’t.
Justin Stafford is a 21-year-old mass communication senior from Walker, Louisiana. You can reach him on Twitter @ j_w_stafford.