By Jess Badyna
Senior Eli Evans, junior Harrison Snyder, sophomore Alena Gomez and freshman Lucy Brown are LP collectors.
Brown owns about 70 albums, which is impressive, considering her interest blossomed only two years ago.
“It was like, the cool thing when it started coming in,” Brown said. “The first record I bought I had for a year before I had anything to listen to it on. I just framed it on my wall because I thought it was cool.”
Gomez’s interest was nurtured by her dad’s influence.
“So my record collection is also my dad’s record collection, and it is huge,” Gomez said. “I got into vinyl probably around eighth grade when my dad got me my first record. I didn’t have a record player, so he got me a record player, and then we kept getting vinyls upon vinyls. Thousands of records, that me and him have collected. It’s so much.”
Snyder prefers to measure his albums not in numbers, but in height.
“Personally, I’ve been collecting for about five years. I inherited my mother’s and my father’s and my sister’s vinyl collections. I don’t have a number, but it’s a stack about yay tall,” Snyder said, gesturing slightly above knee height.
Many record owners have also amassed a portion of their albums from family members.
“I’ve only ever bought maybe ten records,” Evans said. “The rest have been given to me by my family.”
Gomez’s dad gave her more than just an inheritance of music; he gave her lifelong memories.
“My dad’s been collecting since like, the 70s. It’s more of a hobby. Back in the 80s he used to be a DJ, which kind of like, comes with all the records, like it was a needed thing,” she said. “He’s just a record nerd. When I was kid, he would play a ton of Beatles records and we would dance along. It was a fun time.”
In addition to the Beatles albums, Gomez has a stash of Elvis Presley records.
“They are 45 rpm records,” Gomez said. “Most of them are Elvis. They’re in mint condition, worth a ton of money.”
Evans unintentionally acquired an impressive hoard of Elvis LPs.
“I also have a very, very, very extremely extensive collection of Elvis records,” Evans said. “I kind of inherited all of it when my grandma died. She owned all the godforsaken Elvis vinyl – at least 40 different ones from his Christmas to his Canadian release.”
Records often hold sentiment to the owners.
“I have a lot of memories tied to certain records, because I bought a lot from concerts, and that’s cool. I have some signed from people I’ve met,” Brown said. “Every year my dad and I go to the record store day, which is held in April. So that’s kind of cool, just because it’s something me and my dad do, and it’s the only thing basically we do together, just the two of us.”
For the holidays, Snyder’s family will break out their festive vinyl collection.
“My dad hardly ever buys records,” Snyder said, “except for when they’re Christmas special records which are really easy to find because no one really wants them. So, around Christmas, we have one that is like this five-vinyl set, ‘Sounds of the Holidays,’ but they ran out of real Christmas songs, so it’s just like weird Latin things at the end, and that is a fond memory.”
Snyder has gathered an assortment of artists that stray from his father’s taste.
“I have a very eclectic mix of records,” Snyder said. “My personal music taste is definitely the indie rock scene. My favorite artist is Jack White. Courtney Barnett is good, and I like the Black Keys.”
Gomez also listens to a variety of genres.
“I like a lot of traditional goth music, and then I like 80s pop as well. That’s like my secret thing, 80s rock. I like rock music from the 70s, all the way to like the 90s,” Gomez said. “Most of mine are rock records, you know, because that’s what I listen to the most. I have jazz records, I have some country records, there’s R & B, basically any type of music you can think of, we have it, except for like, hip-hop and rap.”
Gomez has an especially enthusiastic affinity for goth music and culture.
“You’ve got the first goth band, which was Siouxsie and the Banshees, you’ve got The Cure, Joy Division and Bauhaus. Then there’s some newer bands like Merciful Nuns, Voodoo Church, [Ultimo] Suspiro, Specimen. Those are some good bands,” she said.
Evans also likes The Cure. His other favorites include Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance, Panic! At the Disco and Twenty One Pilots.
“I also love Khalid and M83 and the Gorillaz and R.E.M and U2 and Pink Floyd and The Postal Service and Lin Manuel Miranda,” Evans said.
Often, the appeal is not limited to the artist on the album. Cover art is also a selling point.
“I’m a big fan of the cover of singer Keaton Henson’s ‘Kindly Now!’ Besides doing music and a variety of other things, he paints, and he painted over a photograph of himself in this cover. I think it’s just really neat and looks fantastic,” Brown said.
While Brown is drawn to the brightness of Henson’s art work, Snyder opts for something a little less vibrant.
“‘That Black Bat Licorice’ by Jack White is not only my favorite song, but its LP features my favorite album artwork,” Snyder said. “The cover shows a headless boy holding out a severed tongue in one hand, while nonchalantly carrying a skull in the other. The tongue is a direct reference to the song where White sings ‘I wanna cut out my tongue and let you hold on to it for me. ‘”
Snyder’s music taste is proof that the record tables are turning and re-emerging as a contemporary part of the music scene while still celebrating their roots in the oldies.
Snider’s LP collectors can vouch that records are pretty groovy.