Sun. Apr 5th, 2020

Records are the best way to reconnect with old classics

When I walked in, the smell reminded me of my grandmother’s house — a smell I wouldn’t classify as unpleasant, yet one that is quite distinct.

My eyes widened as I tried to take in every inch of the crowded shelves and walkways. As I took a few more steps inside, more nooks and crannies and even entire rooms filled to the brim came into sight. My dad stopped almost immediately when we walked in, his mouth gaping as he recognized a few things he hadn’t seen in more than 20 years. He was surprised to see them in such incredible condition.

This was our first adventure together into Jukebox Oldies, the vintage record store located in Reynolda Village, and my first adventure into such a store in general. Because I have always had a fascination with vintage things, my attention immediately went to the few albums I recognized. These were artists like The Beatles and The Beach Boys. After seeing my dad shuffle through stacks of vinyl and grow happier each time he saw another album he remembered playing in college, my own interest in listening to records began to grow. Getting down to business, I did some research and asked my parents for a record player for the holidays.

However, what use is a record player if you don’t own any records to listen to? So, I returned back to the record store with a friend and I came home with a few LPs that my parents would enjoy — all for a grand total of only $20.

When I was in Charlotte during winter break, I visited one of the local record stores, Lunchbox Records, in search of more modern music selections and a few of my favorite bands. Skimming though the names of popular artists and their recent albums, I noticed a common trend: one modern album on vinyl was the same price as the multiple records I had bought in Winston-Salem. I remembered something the owner of Jukebox Oldies had said. He wanted to shut down his business after the new year and hoped to sell most of his records. If he couldn’t sell them, he was planning on throwing them out. But while in Charlotte, I looked around and saw more than a dozen millennials among the aisles of records. Therefore, something seemed off to me about the recent resurgence in popularity of vinyl and record players among young people.

Original vinyl — dating back from the 90’s, 80’s, 70’s, 60’s, 50’s, and so on, used but in pristine condition, and made intentionally to correspond with the development of record players — is being bought and sold at a price far lower than its worth. Nevertheless, modern records are responding to the demand of a younger generation, one with an innocent ignorance toward older music. At first, one could’ve called me a hypocrite for making this claim; I couldn’t listen to KC and the Sunshine Band with my dad or Heart with my mom for more than 20 minutes. However, after listening to a few of their old LPs such as these, the way they were meant to be played I gained an understanding of why so many people are in love with the scratchy sound quality  of a record player combined with the music designed to embrace this unique aspect. So, I urge anyone interested in the revival of vinyl not to disregard older music. Maybe beach classics or even 90’s grunge rock can one day compete with popular modern genres. Instead, try to support not only your local modern record store, but also your local Jukebox Oldies.