Blast From The Past

by Adriana McDevitt
Class of 2015

Vinyl, or records, may seem like a thing of the past but they are on a slow uprise, with sales increasing by 49% in 2014.
Although early versions of records existed from 1880 and on, durable vinyl records were not mass produced and patented until 1948. They took about 20-30 minutes to play through on each side at a speed of 33 rpm. Afterwards new formats were made that were played at different rpms. However, with the the rise of CD’s records fell out of popular use. Only collectors and club disc jockeys used them.

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Lately, there has been a surge of demand for vinyl. Newbury Comics, Urban Outfitters, and numerous other stores now carry Crosley turntables and have an abundance of vinyls.

Records have been on the uprise in part due to the “hipster” phase but mainly because of the superior quality of music. However, through my newfound love of vinyls I have been able to bridge the musical gap between my generation and my parents. I play their old records from The Beatles to Billy Joel and talk to them about the songs and about when they used to listen to them. Music is much more than some pretty harmonizations and cover art, it is about the memories and experiences that follow.

Investing in a record player was one of my best life decisions. Buying records, taking them carefully from their sleeves, and watching them slowly spin around the turntable pulls me to a different era. I cannot flip from song to song with the push of a button like on my iPhone, nor can I listen to four different artists in a row. I am restricted by the vinyl. One album. One artist. No flexibility.

While this seems daunting in our iTunes crazed world, listening to a whole album reminds me of what music used to be. When people would replay an entire album over and over, not pick and choose songs from numerous artists.

Each song transitions into the other, telling a story-albums were meant to be listened to from beginning to end. Unlike nowadays where I can effortlessly skip from Beyonce to Drake to The 1975 to Aerosmith. Those songs on album you never buy because they are not “that good” suddenly make sense when you listen to the whole album. They add the to the mood and theme in different ways, showcasing the “Top 40 Hits” you hear on the radio.

When I go to buy a new record, I sift through stacks with a careful eye. As I flip through, I am forced to admire the beautiful cover work. Often times I take a second look at an artist I might have previously ignored because I find their art symbolic or attractive. Also, I need to know that when I pay twenty or thirty dollars I will listen to the whole album. Since investing in a turntable I have a greater appreciation for music.

Adriana McDevitt is a student in Advanced Placement English Language and Composition