Of Records and Reflections

Photo Credit: hdwallsource.com

Photo Credit: hdwallsource.com

Community is often found through things like social movements and soup kitchens; I found it through my brother’s interest in vinyls.

My brother, being the avid collector that he is, started to get into buying vinyls for their designs. When he first started, I found it amusing (and a little bizarre) that he was more concerned with the pictures on the records than the music itself, but to each their own hobby. It wasn’t long, however, until he started branching out to actual music vinyls, and to this day he still has yet to buy a suitable player.

Until then, he brings his new records along whenever we visit our Grandpa, who we know has an extensive collection of music and media players (from reel-to-reel to iPod docks and everything in between, it’s really no mystery where my interest in music came from).

At first, the novelty of just setting up the record player was interesting enough; though my brother and I had both grown up around this thing, we had never been able to see it in action. It was exciting to watch our Grandpa set up the vinyl and needle, and it was a riot the first time we got the RPM wrong (ever heard David Guetta’s “Titanium” in the style of a jazz crooner?).

But as my family sat in my Grandpa’s living room enjoying the tunes, I realized that we had created an entirely different atmosphere.

Part of this is nostalgia, of course: I used to spend a lot of my childhood hanging out with my Grandpa in this very room, singing and dancing to all of the music he pulled from his extensive library. And maybe all of my family shares some sort of similar moment—my uncle used to be a DJ and worked with a lot of these records, my brother used to borrow my Grandpa’s many CDs, and my Mom no doubt contributed to the music library on hand.

But even beyond that, my family was essentially enjoying a relaxing moment and each other’s company despite the fact that the record my brother was playing was purely Electronic Dance Music (a genre that, as far as I know, only my brother and I enjoy).

I guess what I’m getting at is that the moment was unique to me, because it seemed we were all gathered around listening to music for the sake of enjoying music. And while it’s not unusual to hang out with family and friends with music playing, the purpose of that music is usually to fill in the background and promote a good mood—like a movie soundtrack, essentially. And like most soundtracks, the music playing is intended to be virtually invisible.

I don’t think I can recall a moment where my family put on music with the intention of the music being the chief focus—the only situation I can think of that is similar is when we would attend concerts, and those previously mentioned mini-dance parties I had with my Grandpa.

That got me thinking.

This is how music used to be enjoyed. Music used to be a communal form of entertainment; it was all boomboxes and record players and piano playing. Visuals were not needed.

When did enjoying music for the sake of music become such a private venture? I mean sure, I’ve shared tracks I liked with friends and family, but we’ve never just sat down and enjoyed an album. How many times have I kept a track/album/band to me, my headphones, and I?

I’m not saying we should all sit around some record player and listen in solemn silence or anything; music can be enjoyed in any way you wish to enjoy it. But this moment showed me that music can be a communal experience even on the smaller scale, something beyond helping you get in the zone for studying or passing the time of a long drive. That even if it’s a genre not everyone enjoys, music is powerful in bringing people together—no tickets or venues needed.

I guess I’m just saying that when all of us were there, appreciating a moment that didn’t need chatter…it was nice.

About Jessica Morales

Jessica is the Marketing Director & Publisher of NWYT. With a Bachelor of Science in Anthropology and a minor in Music History, she is an avid reader, less frequent writer, and altogether just loves to hear a good story. To that extent, her field of study may have been slightly influenced by a certain movie archaeologist. Read more about her here. See All of Jessica's Posts

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