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The Vinyl Monologues

Why vinyl?

Annie: I’ve always been drawn to the physical form. As a creator, there’s something about holding the product of art in my hands. If I had to guess, I’d say most artists are collectors by their very nature.

Fred: It’s less to do with the sound quality and more to do with the presentation. I love the artwork, I love opening it up and discovering what’s inside and reading the lyrics. For me, it’s about taking a piece of music and making a presentation of out it. The art should complement the music, so it’s not just about the music.

Annie: The older I get, the more I’m likely to forget what I even have access to. If flipping through a stack of records helps take some thinking power out of my day, I’m all for the one thing that’s going to make a task easier and more enjoyable. With streaming music, I have to mentally come up with the playlist. I’m not great at mental tasks these days.

Fred: It’s bigger than a CD and I don’t need glasses to read the liner notes. AKA “old eyes.”

When did you start collecting?

Fred: I started collecting records in the 1970s. It wasn’t intentional, but I liked music, and that’s how you bought it.

Annie: About two years ago, after being ridiculed by Fred for buying CDs. I was on my high horse about having to own my music in physical form, and then buying “outdated” technology. Meanwhile, Fred was waist-deep in vinyl, speaking of elder tech.

What was your first album?

Fred: I don’t know what my first album was. It was was probably a collection of comedy songs like “Monster Mash” and “On Top of Spaghetti,” and those kind of goofy K-Tell compilation albums. The first album that I ever asked for that my parents bought me was Kiss’ Destroyer. The first album I every bought with my own money was Iron Maiden’s Maiden Japan.

Annie: Geez, Fred. I didn't know we were going back to our Fisher Price days. The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway by Genesis, purchased at a second-hand shop.

Have you ever purchased an album that you regret or didn’t mean to buy?

Annie: I once scooped up what I thought was a rare Beatles album for six dollars. It turned out to be a 50-year old copy of a symphony covering the Beatles. Both covers were white, and I didn’t read the fine print.

Fred: Recently, I blindly bought a used album called 13 Wolves’ Invasion. I mistakenly assumed it would be an awesome black metal album based on the cover art, but it turned out to be a crappy hard rock record.

What’s your most prized album?

Fred: My copy of Maiden Japan because it’s one of the original albums that I purchased, and one of the few albums that survived a flood that happened years ago that destroyed my original album collection.

Annie: A 1960’s original called “Whaling and Sailing Songs from the Days of Moby Dick” Sung by Paul Clayton. I can’t say that I treasure it for the music, but more for the nostalgia. Plus, I freakin' love vintage.

What’s an album that each other owns that you want?

Annie: I want your copy of Fantomas’ Director’s Cut.

Fred: I want your German copy of Kraftwerk’s Computer World, aka Computerwelt.

Annie: Let’s trade.

Fred: No.

Annie: Hey, Fred.

Fred: Yeah?

Annie: Why do you think vinyl is so much better than any other medium?

Fred: Disregarding the vinyl format, the album is an art form. Musicians used to take time to sequence their albums, and they cared about which order the songs came in because they told a story. There’s an ebb and flow to an album that’s sequenced properly. That’s what makes it interesting to listen to from start to finish. You don’t think about cherry picking songs off of an album that’s sequenced perfectly, like Dark Side of the Moon. The listener is rewarded for listening to the whole album from start to finish. An album that has only two good songs on it isn’t worth buying, in my opinion. It’s like reading a book; you wouldn’t just pick up from the middle and read a few chapters. It will have a structure that lends itself to a really strong few opening tracks, it will ebb and flow in the middle and then build to a strong closer.

Annie: We all know some great examples, so I’ll ask, what are some of your favorites?

Fred: David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust, Queen’s A Night at the Opera, Nirvana’s Nevermind… so many. Should we put in more contemporary stuff from the 90s like Jane's Addiction? F**k. I’m old.

Music fan? Vinyl lover? You know the drill.

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