It’s true that for the most part I think that listening to music on vinyl is fantastic. It’s nostalgic and organic and physical and compels you to become one with the music.
There is something though that I have struggled with since I started collecting records again. Here it is.
Some bands I prefer digital.
There are some bands that I just think of as digital. Bands that are available on vinyl, but that I will probably never purchase that way. This notion sprang to mind lately as I was getting some older Neil Diamond albums on vinyl.
Why would I buy old Neil Diamond on vinyl and not buy old Marilyn Manson on vinyl?
I had to ask myself… why?
Manson is one of my favorite bands, but in all honesty, I prefer the pristine, cold, crystal clear angst of the full digital format. These albums were my silent scream at the world while I walked around with my headphones on, and to me that is where they will always live.
There was nothing finer than listening to the angry monster of Manson while walking to work, or while banging my head against a computer lab problem or to drown out conversations at work or to soothe me when life was uglier than even his imaginary world. It was as if he was performing just for me punching me in the gut with anger, horror and heavy rock and roll.
It was like my little secret that millions of people knew about.
When “The Pale Emperor” was on pre-sale I ordered it, to download on my phone, in MP3 format. I didn’t even think about getting it on vinyl. It didn’t occur to me then to wonder why.
I feel the same about Nine Inch Nails.
I got my first NIN on cassette! Since then it has always been digital, either with CD’s or downloads. Dalton and I made sure we had everything he released and more.
Now, I did buy “Pretty Hate Machine” on vinyl (fantastic) and “Hesitation Marks” (disappointing). “Pretty Hate Machine” I found online for only about 10 bucks, and the “Hesitation Marks” was something Dalton and I got hooked up in the hype on, but I have no desire to get any of the others on vinyl. This is another band that lives in my headphones.
Back in the day I would play NIN in my headphones LOUD while I cleaned house after the kids went to sleep. I imagine I looked like someone at a silent disco, which I recently discovered is actually a thing.
Shout out to Madison!
Could this have applications in areas where noise ordinances prevent bands from playing late? Can you imagine NIN playing silently to the soundboard and having it piped to everyone’s headphones? That would be a riot. Anyway…
Sweeping and dusting and doing laundry in outer silence while Trent screamed about “Happiness In Slavery” in my ears was a great release.
It was this internalizing of the music experience that has probably carried over to my record collecting. I can’t imagine playing Manson or NIN out loud, which is how my records are played. No headphone are attached to the stereo with the record player.
When I’m on the treadmill is when I love to crank NIN and Manson. At the gym on the track, at home on the treadmill, I get an extra special fuel from these guys. I hate to say this, but I just don’t think I would get the same feeling from having it played at a reasonable volume while my feet plop plop plop along.
Sorry digital haters and vinyl lovers.
I feel like I am betraying you both.