February 1, 2005

I Am A DJ, I Am What I Play....

If I didn't love you, I'd hate you,
I'm playin' your stereo brand;
Singles remind me of kisses,
Albums remind me of plans.

Squeeze, "If I Didn't Love You"
Actually, the title is a misnomer, even though I do have a friend who is a DJ.

I'm really not much of an impulse buyer for practical stuff - if it's kitschy and pop-cultural, I will spend my last grocery money, will avoid buying medicine for poor Aunt May, etc; if it's practical, I won't get it. However, Target had the all-in-one phonograph-and-radio units in the clearance aisle for twenty bucks.

Yeah, sure, I have an old stereo in my basement that needs repair (and/or will become excellent garage sale fodder), but I've been too busy to take it in to be fixed. Plus, at twenty bucks, I now had easy access to my vinyl albums, which I haven't played since 1998.

Seriously - May 25th, 1998. The day my then-fiance and I broke up, beginning a huge bitter fight. The off-and-on button on my stereo faded out, and since then, I have been in a CD-and-mix-tape binge, denying myself the comforting crackle of vinyl. This unit isn't the height of sound reproduction, but it is a hell of a lot better than the Close-N-Play Phonograph of my childhood.

Once I unpacked it, set it up in my bedroom, I began rummaging through my collection, playing those records that I didn't have on CD. (Much of my LP collection I have on CD, but several I am unsure if they are available). Don Dixon's Romeo At Julliard (one of those great unfound albums, which is worth hunting down). rumble by the Nameless, a band once led by a former high school classmate who's one hell of a songwriter, REM's Dead Letter Office, Ray Charles Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, The Best of the Music Machine (the latter two from Rhino, when they released cool music and weren't just Time Warner's reissue label).

So, dear reader, you're probably wondering either why I am posting on this minor incident, and/or thinking, "What brand of crack is he smoking?" Well, my point is this - in this MP3/CD/iPod World, where music is at its most expensive (and most plentiful), there's something so reassuring, so essentially cool about revisiting old vinyl records - large, easy-to-read liner notes (for example: the Velvet Underground '84 reissues with notes from a pre-MTV Kurt Loder), having to get up to switch record sides, and, well, the encouragement to pay attention, to actually work towards listening to music. OK, we can't rewind, we've gone too far, but every once in awhile, it's good to revisit some old friends.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a date with Husker Du's Zen Arcade

1 comment:

Michelle said...

I still listen to vinyl too every now and then. My favorite thing to listen to on vinyl is my Beatles 1967-1970 album. It crackles during the drum solo on Strawberry Fields and for some reason it just sounds better to me that way. I bought that album when I was 13 or 14 at Vintage Vinyl when they were further east on Delmar.