I was thinking yesterday about how much I miss going to the movie rental store. The Blockbuster experience is gone, replaced by a Redbox kiosk or an instant digital download. Our society has changed so much in ten years, as I would suspect it always does, morphing into something new, with nostalgia for all. Going to the movie rental store was always so much hassle wasn’t it? Drive there, walk around forever, complain if a movie you wanted wasn’t there or already rented. But it was also a great time to interact. If you went with friends, you could wander around, making small talk, joking about movie titles, snickering about that person in the corner renting THAT movie? “Can you believe they would pick that?” And then, finally, deciding upon something that you all agreed would be thrown in the VCR that night (Remember the sticker on the movies, “Be Kind, Please Rewind”?)
I always felt the same about CD’s. I was too young to have all vinyl records. I remember my parents having that, but tapes were what I was introduced to. Somehow though, I always hated tapes. I would get annoyed that they would become tangled or break. Though I really liked the little cassette holders they came with. The liner notes were always printed in such small font to make it on those things. But I really loved CD’s. I still have tons of them. I liked going to the store and picking out the band you wanted, and buying them. Opening the jewel case was always a pain because there would be that sticker across the top and it would be hard to peel off sometimes without breaking the little plastic tabs. But I liked how it was a little mini record, and the artwork for the liner notes was a larger than in a cassette tape. I spent a LOT of money buying cd’s. You bought the entire album, it wasn’t just one song like it is now with digital downloads. You wanted the entire album to be good, no, you wanted it to be GREAT. You wanted your band to deliver in a big way, after all, you just spent $20 bucks on something! But even when the album wasn’t what you thought it was going to be, you still kept it. Some people kept their cd’s in perfect alphabetic order, I had a friend in college who bought more CD’s than anyone I knew, and I remember one time someone mixed up the cds in the cases as a prank. He was certainly not happy about that. But I miss the cd store.
Which brings us full circle back to vinyl records. If you really love music, then you have a great opportunity to still have that experience of spending time searching for something great. The independent record stores every city has still offer a great product. So many great bands are now releasing their albums on iTunes, but also on vinyl. Yes, you still pay way more for vinyl. But there is something immensely satisfying about sliding that record out of the sleeve, getting out your record player and watching that album rotate past that needle. I won’t claim to be a vinyl expert, like I said, it was before my time. But I did my due diligence by buying a record player (the kind you see at hipster stores everywhere) and starting to purchase vinyl. But what I like most about records is the fact that you still get that experience of wandering around a store, happening upon something great, discovering some band or singer that you were vaguely aware of and having that purchase in your hands when you walk out.
I love the easy nature of iTunes. I had one of the first iPods when they came out. But I really love buying a vinyl album. It takes me back to that time that’s already becoming forgotten. I hate it when you are at a Redbox and someone is standing impatiently behind you. The human interaction is gone, replaced by a more “efficient way of doing something”, a cost cutting measure. It’s sad. It makes me feel like an old soul.
Today’s blog is brought to you by Lord Huron and his album “Lonesome Dreams”. It’s spacey and quiet and great. And the sad thing is I downloaded it, it’s not on vinyl.