I don’t hate vinyl or anything. Vinyl seems like entirely the kind if thing I should be into: expensive, creates a sense of superiority, possibility to develop normal habit into obsession. It’s all there. And don’t get me wrong vinyl is pretty cool. Album sleeves look far better than CD covers or cassette sleeves (cassettes?!?! Hello!! What was that all about?)
But I just couldn’t be arsed.
From some of the statements made during When Albums Ruled The World you’d somehow believe the format in which the recorded music was released was somehow complicit in the music created. Actually it would be fair to say that based on this programme the vinyl format was to thank for everything that happened after 1950. Which is quite impressive for something more fragile than an overweight bride-to-be’s ego.
The truth is albums with a concept – often called concept albums – do share one characteristic and that is being fucking wank. The ones that stand out do so because they buck the trend rather than follow it. I would rather slice my eyelids off with a bread knife than listen to a YES album. I’ll tell you how bad a lot of the music of the 1970s was: Jimmy Savile was often not the most grotesque thing on Top of The Pops.
But vinyl was just the format of the time when people were making art in music at the time. The idea of a collection of songs has changed a bit in recent years but a lot of that is to do with people just making really shit albums but great singles. Blame the artists of today (apart from the ones still making good albums) rather than suggest it is because they haven’t put the music out on a sphere of black over-sensitive treacle.
The contributors on this programme made me more angry about something than I actually am. Someone saying that Dark Side of The Moon can’t be explained by something simple like “the drums being really good” like anyone ever said that was the reason for any album ever being liked by anyone – apart from maybe something by Gene Krupa (yeah I know who Gene Krupa is, wanna make something of it?).
It got even worse at the end of it when they were concluding with ‘the best statements about albums’. Pauline Black said, “You could have people around to listen to it. It wasn’t just this experience that happened in your ears only.” And she pointed at her ears when she said that last bit. Because no-one ever listened to records through headphone and people only listen to mp3s through headphones. Of course I am being cynical, do you not remember when you had family around to listen to Queen’s Greatest Hits or the time you holidayed with neighbours to listen to Thriller in a caravan for a fortnight?
Nile Rodgers rightly pointed out the beauty of the process of putting a record on a record player. It is nice to watch someone do it with care – using the centre and the edge with the kind of gentle respect you generally only see offered a very premature baby. But then he went and ruined it by making out that was special because you didn’t just throw it at the record player casually. Because that’s how tapes or CDs work, you just throw them about because you don’t understand music if you are using these formats.
Tony Parsons then said something about record collections being like looking into someone’s soul was his favourite quote. That’s his favourite quote. Mine is “Parsons however, is an utter, utter cunt.” from this forum I just found after googling ‘Tony Parson is a cunt’.
I would put money on me starting to collect vinyl in the next ten years.