A large majority of the music that I listened to would be considered relatively ‘new’. Probably around 85% of what I listen to on a regular basis was released during or after the late 90’s. Obviously there are exceptions; I love The Beatles, Bruce Springsteen, John Denver, Nirvana, etc. But for the most part my tastes tend to lean more towards styles that developed more in the early 00s.
Because of this, most of the vinyl I buy are new, and by that I mean not used. Occasionally I’ll stumble upon something used that I love and was released recently, but even then the record hasn’t been around a terribly long time. While writing this and listening to a copy of The Beatles’ Abbey Road that I picked up earlier this week, I am having a bit of an experience that I don’t normally get from spinning one of the ‘newer’ records that make up most of my collection.
As I put the record on and heard those first bass and drum filled seconds of “Come Together,” I realized that I am playing a part in someone else’s history with this album. I hear the crackles and the pops and the hisses made from years, decades of someone else listening to this specific physical copy of the record. Multiple needles have worn these exact grooves, dozens of speakers have pushed out these exact same vibrations. It is fascinating to me. I sit here imagining the high school couple dancing to “Something” in their living room, the kid in the 80s who found the record in his dad’s collection hearing the bluesy guitar riffs in “I Want You” for the first time, or the woman listening to “Here Comes The Sun” sitting on the edge of her bed finding some sort of hope in the wake of a rough divorce.
It’s a strange feeling, a bit of a weight to be adding my wear and notches to the record. Not that there is anything special about today, I just put the record on in the background as I cleaned and packed to head out of town for a few days, but that is a part of its story now. I am adding to the history and the legacy of these grooves. All I can hope is that whoever plays this record after me, whether it’s my kid who finds it buried in a closet one day and puts it on, or a stranger who picks it up at a yard sale, will be aware that they are a part of something bigger and that in some weird way they are connected to me and to anyone who listened to this record for decades before and everyone who will listen to it after them.