By: Dennis Moon
I had already heard it countless times. The desperate and communal anthems of Arcade Fire’s Funeral would forever be a part of my psyche, along with the strange wonder of the wartime images it produced in my head. I had listened to and loved a digital version of this album for years, yet the first time I laid down the needle of my record player on a shiny new vinyl copy and the baroque pop flourish of “Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)” bled through the speakers, I heard it with fresh ears.
Something about this medium I had yet to explore captured the rawness and beauty of the band’s performances in a way I was almost emotionally unprepared for. These songs were flooring me again.
An already immersive record took on a new meaning for me that evening. And as reinforced by every record purchase I have made since, listening to vinyl is, quite simply, the best way to go when listening to music.
The process represents a commitment and a ritual that fiercely counteracts the built-in disposability of more modern medium (namely mp3s). Pop radio’s inherent focus on brand packaging and immediacy are rendered obsolete by the physical and immersive qualities of a vinyl package. There is little in this world that provides more joy than reading along to the familiar lyrics of your favorite singer or simply gazing into an album’s cover art, vital parts of the complete, authentic musical experience produced by vinyl records.
Beyond these purely sentimental aspects, there is the sound quality. Paired with capable speakers, vinyl records produce that signature ‘warmth’ and bass depth unable to be properly reproduced in a digital format. In a written piece for The Vinyl District, multi-instrumentalist Josh Klinghoffer (of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Dot Hacker) sung vinyl’s praises, suggesting the medium holds a mystical power over the listener, “When we listen to what we love, we want to be able to touch something as if to thank it . . . I love how much more vinyl invites, almost demands your attention. It’s physical. You can hear it working”.
Next time you think about torrenting a copy of a new obsession or an old favorite, go vinyl instead. Your ears and your heart will thank you.
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