Okay...whether it's better than CD...I'll leave that up to the more vociferous and engaged in that debate.
Got a turntable lately. Fun stuff. It's great to sit down at the end of the day and devote all my time and energy to listening to records. Yep...how long has it been since you've heard that word? Albums, yes. But records? That's different. Haven't realistically considered owning records since the 1980s. Yipes. I'm so retro. And so hipster.
Except, well, not.
I don't have any Mumford and Sons. Or whatever y'all hipsters listen to. Not sure I'd know...y'all love your obscure bands, right? In fact, I'll go the opposite way. First two records bought: Rubber Soul and Revolver. About as un-hip as you can get. And about as awesome as you can get. I've owned Rubber Soul in the past, so no musical revelations there. But I've only owned a smattering of songs from Revolver, so songs like "For No One," "Got To Get You Into My Life" and "Taxman," are completely new to me. It's cool to hear them, mostly, for the first time. The individual songs are excellent, but to hear them all together, strung out in the sequence the Beatles wanted, just brings everything to a more awesome level.
Mr. Man brought out his long-lost (and slightly warped) copy of Thriller, and people, I'm a happy kid. Again, if you want to hear the majority of the album, just turn on your local '80s station and wait a few hours for at least one of the songs to appear. But stuff like "Baby Be Mine" and "The Lady In My Life," (which is actually kinda drecky) are great to return to.
I know, I can get all this on CD, rip it to my iPod, and listen at my leisure, whenever I want. So whither the turntable? I guess it's a desire to make listening to music more of an event, more deliberate. It takes time and adds anticipation to pull a record out of its cover, then out of its sleeve, and put it onto a turntable. Then you turn it on, see the stylus move to the edge of the record, drop down oh-so-gently, then hear the pop and some static that announces the imminent experience of some great music about to hit you in t-minus-5 seconds. And you feel compelled to sit down and listen to the thing in its entirety. It's not so easy to skip songs in a fraction of a second, or to return to that cool bit you just heard. Not impossible, but it's a bit of an effort, and kind of annoying to do so. And you know? I like it that way. I have enough distractions and multitasking going on nowadays. I like the idea of sitting down and devoting my energy purely to listening to music. Some music demands that kind of attention. So I'm going about building my collection accordingly.
I got Kind of Blue and A Love Supreme last night, too. The former I've heard a million times...and will never get tired of it. The latter I listened to for the first time last night. Fucking brilliant. I'm usually not a fan of jazz (makes me think of old nasty-smelling smoky clubs, plaid suits, and urbane '70s pastiches like "The Rockford Files" and "Kojak"), but this was pretty awesome. I nearly felt compelled to make a Manhattan and sip it to make the experience complete, but John Coltrane's spiritual liner notes (remember those, kids?) and the feeling he and his band put into the music even made me hesitate to indulge.
So there's my excitement over the past week or so. Next on the list: Random Access Memories. Maybe some vintage Elton John. More classic jazz. Who knows?