One of the first things that goes through my head when I get up in the morning is “Where can I buy records today?” Ask any record collector. No matter how many records we own, and while most of us can never listen to all of our records within a lifetime, there is never enough. We can never own them all, and there is one more we always want. I’ve collected many things in my lifetime, but nothing has given me more satisfaction than my record collection.
What is it about records that make collectors love them so much? Why do we want to talk about our records, and listen to others talk about their records? Why do we love looking at photos of records on social media, spend time researching our favorite albums, artists and songs and spending hours digging through record shops, flea markets and thrift stores for those discarded pieces of vinyl from the past which are the “white whales” of our lives? The incredible thing about music is that we’ve never heard it all, and there is always another band or song around the corner that you’ve never heard before. Sharing our records, and the stories of our favorite songs, is how we learn from one another. It is one of the greatest things we share with others.
But the most powerful thing about a song, and therefore often an album, is it often becomes a conduit for memory. I find I struggle with memory, often because I don’t want to remember. I find I have a difficult time stringing together a coherent linear timeline of my past. But through a song I can pinpoint a certain point of time in my life – where I was, what I was feeling, what was going on around me and what was my emotional state based on this moment in song and how the music triggered the memory. Often it’s a non-memory, but the music can transport me back there instantly.
Vinyl Stories are not album reviews nor is it about the history of record collecting. It was a project that grew organically as an exercise to create narratives while engaging with my beloved record collection. Every record tells a story, but the kind of stories it tells differ from album to album. These are the stories that I would want to tell you if you were sitting in my living room and we were listening to albums together, which is the greatest thing about records. Its one of the only things people collect which we can share with one another, and reexperience again and again by just flipping over the album, and putting the needle on the disc. If I can get a reader interested in a band they never heard of, relisten to a song they never thought about before or even spawn a few memories of your own, then my Vinyl Story has done its job.