As you put down the needle, you hear the familiar snap, crackle and pop. It fills the room with life. You take a trip to a different plane of existence. You have entered the world of vinyl.
Vinyl records have been around for over 100 years, but the most common style, the LP is only 67 years old. But the vinyl record had been in a dry spell – until a couple of years ago.
New life has been given to this classic and it’s becoming popular again, especially amongst 20-somethings.
“The big draw for me is the music is alive. You can see it and control it. You can watch the needle bob up and down. It’s a different style of music that people can’t appreciate anymore,” said Castleton senior Jason Irish.
Irish grew up playing with his mother’s two-in-one cassette and turntable. He now collects Iron Maiden and things he has on CD so he can enjoy them more with vinyl. But it’s also the sound of the record that makes him love it even more.
“It’s coming back. One hundred twenty-eight-grain vinyl is expensive but it something that you want. It sounds so good,” said Irish.
Irish’s most unique album is a Nightwish picture disc of “Imaginaerum” that is also a demo tape with the new singer’s first recording.
But some, like Graduate Assistant Program Advisor for Student Life Meghan Hakey,
get into collecting vinyl a different way.
“I’ve always been into more vintage things. I feel like I have an spirit that’s older than our time period. One day I thought, I should really start a vinyl collection. It would the coolest thing to have,” Hakey said with a big smile.
Last year her boyfriend bought her a six-in-one player and from there she continued to collect to feed it.
Hakey collects a lot thrift shop vinyls of ‘80s music, modern music and The Beatles. She also has a collection of 30 to 40 original Broadway Cast records.
But the most unique albums she has are an original Pink Floyd “Dark Side of the Moon” and a clear record of “The Fifty Shades of Grey” soundtrack.
“There’s just something about the sound of a record player that’s so awesome,” she said.
Meshach Tourighy started his journey with vinyl when he was in high school. He would listen to his parents Bob Dylan and Crosby, Stills and Nash albums.
Back then, no was really selling so would he buy up what he could. With that collection, Tourighy opened Mountain Man Jewelry and Mountain Music Vinyl in 2013 in the Diamond Run Mall.
“Two thirds of my costumers are college age or under. But I also get 50-60-year-old guys who have been collecting forever and never gave it up. They’re looking for stuff they lost along the way or stuff they never had,” Tourighy said.
Because of his range of his customers Tourighy sells everything from classical, jazz and classic rock to all types of metal, punk, hip hop, rap and modern music. He also takes request. But his most popular records are The Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin.
Tourighy would like to continue to sell vinyl saying there is still a strong growth in it and it hasn’t peaked out yet.
“It might not be something that lasts forever, but it’s already shown it’s lasted for 60 years. I don’t think it will ever die. It might not be as popular as it is. It’s on a rise and I’d like to keep doing it forever,” Tourighy said with a chuckle.
One of the perks, he said, is seeing Castleton students come in throughout the year. Junior Sadie Baker is one of the regulars.
Baker has always loved music and initially decided to adopt her mother’s vinyl collection that only included John Denver and Barry Manilow. Since then, she has acquired music from the sixties, seventies and modern music.
She also loves The Grateful Dead and Fleetwood Mac. But her favorite record is something a little newer.
“My favorite record to listen to on vinyl is Amy Winehouse “Back to Black.” Because that’s the way it’s meant to be listened to,” she said.
Student Kaylee Robinson also has the vinyl bug and talked about the role she hopes her records play in the future.
“It’s something that when I have kids, I really want them to experience vinyl. Something that isn’t downloaded off the Internet that has perfect sound. I like the skip that you get. It’s like having a CD that has a crack in it. It reminds you of childhood,” said Robinson.
Her father got a four-way record player a few years ago, which helped ignite her spark for vinyl. But it was when Robinson’s fiancé gave her a record player for Christmas two years ago, that she started to really collect.
She has everything from Bach to Aerosmith and likes that new artists like Adam Lambert and Taylor Swift, are being released on vinyl. But her favorite record is the “Frozen” soundtrack because deep down she’s still a kid at heart.
“Not many people our age seem to know what vinyl is. It seems like a dying concept, but it’s so unique,” said Robinson.
Vinyl lovers say those records are like a life force they get to interact with. They love the pops, cracks and jumps of the record and they love to hold and feel them and love even the smell of them as they leave their sleeve for the first time. They also say the album art it was meant to be and not condensed for a CD cover.
There’s nothing more satisfying, they say, than hearing the needle drop onto the record as they drift away into the music.