The Forgotten Art Of Buying Albums

Recently, I walked into a busy record store and was stunned at how many people were looking at vinyl. I had remembered the forgotten art of buying albums. Browsing through some of my favorite albums, found myself drawn to the artwork and design of the album. I was reminded of the ritual of buying an album. The design and art always set the tone and mood of the album. The album art is what sometimes exposed new artists to me and many other people. Sometimes it’s the cover art that makes someone pick up an album.

*And to be clear, when I reference “artist(s),” I’m implying the musicians and bands, not the actual author of the cover art/photography. That’s a whole blog post for another day.

“Album art adds a secondary visual element to the sound- giving it more dynamics and life. A complement to the music and more than a story- the album takes you on a journey.”

Remember the local record shop?

The Forgotten Art Of Buying Albums

I remember saving up once a month and heading to the local music shop to browse for a new album. I would take it home and play it endlessly front to back for months. Until I knew every word, every note, or off time thingy that sounded awesome. The artwork design would tell the initial story and give insight to expectations as to their motivation. I would read the track listings and who played on each song-who wrote it. Often surprised by who happened to be credited on a track. A rock legend played that solo on track 4. Who knew?

The song lyrics would read like poetry, as I would always read them before listening to the album. Sometimes reading the lyrics on paper and seeing them can add clarity to a story. I would wonder why the order of the songs were picked in that specific way. It has a ritualistic experience.

“Album art adds a secondary visual element to the sound- giving it more dynamics and life. A complement to the music and more than a story- the album takes you on a journey.”

Buying an album is tangible and plot building.

The Forgotten Art Of Buying Albums

It shows a glimpse of what the artist was trying to share and it acquaints us to the music. Giving the listener a more transparent look into the mind of the musician. It adds an emotional element to the music. A way to visually relate to what the musicians are saying.

People now stream music, myself included. A metaphor for the short consumeristic attention span. Never knowing the name of the artist who created it. Just letting the song be a temporary moment in your day or memory. Meanwhile, these artists work their asses off writing and playing, tirelessly crafting their songs to perfection. Often paying out of pocket to pay for studio time and an engineer or producer. Let’s give these artist more respect and learn who they are at least. If even by learning their name. And if you like it, spend a dollar to let them know their work hasn’t gone unnoticed.

 

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“A metaphor for the short consumeristic attention span.”

Music is changing.

The art form of music and how we listen to it is changing, and not for the better-in my opinion. It’s becoming stripped down to a single track without the support of the finally crafted album behind it. Without the building blocks to set a visual tone, to lay the setting for the music. To learn about the music and the instruments that were played.

Music is not dead. It’s just different. If you choose to stream…that’s great because there is so much great music out there to be heard. But, remember to look up the artist. I’ve been reminded of how music should be experienced- as a journey, a ritual, and something that becomes part of your soul- a bookmark to a memory. Because I walked by a record store, I remembered the music. I had remembered the forgotten art of buying albums. Being in a record store reminded me of what music is supposed to be.

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Anders

 

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Vanderkool
HELLO, I'm Anders Vanderkool: Creative Guru. I am an educated graphic designer and fine artist. This is where you will find my thoughts and ideas about creative things. I will share with you resources that will help you on your next creative project. Maybe my posts will motivate you or change the way you approach creativity. Please share your ideas and comment. Let's start a discussion

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