By Barbara Hagen • December 14, 2020
Childhood memories always seem to fill my thoughts this time of year, most often because of the holiday traditions I look forward to. But occasionally, as I'm shopping for gifts, a certain item may also trigger a blast from my past. It happened most recently with vinyl records.
Yes, vinyl. LPs. Records. The music form that started it all back in 1948 on turntables, and over 70 years later, is making a resurgence in households across the country. To be sure, much of the renewed interest this year has been because of the Stay Home, Stay Safe orders as we have all looked for new ways to entertain ourselves beyond computer and TV screens. But I would be remiss if I didn't mention the slow and steady increase in Vinyl sales beginning as far back as 2010.
For those who have read some of my earlier blogs, you know by now I am a nostalgic type of gal. I love remembering my past, the music, the books, the genuine, drama-free fun (as mentioned in my roller-skating blog). Myself and my team here at ThriftBooks enjoyed bringing a taste of years past to all of you with our Decades themes this past summer. (If you missed it, check out highlights in our Retro Holiday Gift Guide). That was all well and good. But this—this Vinyl blog—I share with you with the utmost excitement!
If you grew up with vinyl like I did, I'm sure you all remember your first new record. Maybe you purchased it yourself, perhaps it was a gift. Either way, I'm betting it was probably pretty special to you. It was an experience, from the stunning, and often, unusual cover art, to unwrapping the plastic wrap, to sliding the inner sleeve out from the cardboard one (and maybe even giving that inner sleeve a quick sniff to enjoy that new vinyl smell). And if it was a deluxe album, the content inside (maybe song lyrics?) was a bonus on top of it all!
It isn't just about the records themselves...shopping for records was an event on its own. Be it riffling through the bins of vinyl at the local record shop, waiting in line for a new release at the big box music store, or finding coveted treasures at local flea markets, shopping for vinyl was an experience. Today, like many other things, that shopping experience has changed or in some cases, has ceased to exist. Many local stores are closed for COVID or, unfortunately, closed for good. Social distancing is putting the pause on garage sales and flea markets. So where can we turn? Mega ecommerce retail companies really don't need more of our money. So here at ThriftBooks, your proudly independent online bookstore, we are pleased to bring a selection of beloved new vinyl records to you!
These are all brand new records so you can fully enjoy the first unwrapping, the fresh vinyl smells, the feel of the crisp inner sleeve and the smooth, unblemished cover art. These new vinyl LPs also have a higher quality sound to them than those from years past, thanks to the more advanced, higher quality digital recordings vinyl records are pressed from these days. Yes, they look, smell, and are shiny new! But don't worry, the nostalgia is still there. It will come rushing back to you beginning with the first hum and crackle of the needle in the grooves of the record.
As you will discover, vinyl records are uniquely social without any effort. Record collections are people magnets. Arrange your room with a record collection on the shelf (or better yet, on the floor where one can sprawl out), and you'll certainly have your visitors thumbing through them, inspecting, admiring, commenting, and just overall reminiscing. Michael Jackson, The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mac, perhaps even some Khalid or Elvis Presley. Whatever greatest hits are in your record collection, they will likely receive some good social love. And in case you are thinking, "but I don't even have a record player", don't fret. The resurging popularity of vinyl has yielded a plethora of affordable high-quality turntables, most complete with USB and Bluetooth to provide a modern utility to it all.
2020 has slowed us all down some, and with that has come the opportunity to be more present in all that we do. Music is no exception, with an entirely new dimension found in LPs. There is no skipping ahead to the next song, no listening to compressed files on tiny earbuds while on the go. Vinyl records are a "listening in" commitment. So go ahead, find yourself a new LP or an old favorite, dust off your record player, and sit back, close your eyes, and let yourself be hypnotized by the complete musical experience of it all, just like it was way back when.
Here are a few vinyl record suggestions to start or add to your collection. Be sure to browse even more vinyl selections at the ThriftBooks Vinyl Store.