I was 12 years old when I first went to the Lake Odessa antique mall. I was instantly dazzled as I walked through the door to find all sorts of odds and ends; signs, cases with collectibles, rusted pans, old guitars, paintings, you name it. This magical place was brand new to me and I was eager to explore, what else might be in a place with creaky floors and friendly old people? Records.
At the time I knew what records were, but they didn't really attract me, I was just starting to get into music that wasn't the mainstream garbage on the radio. For a 12 year old boy, the best thing you can give him to listen to is classic rock. With popular tunes you've heard on the radio, or snippets of songs in movies, there is sure to be something good. I remember being very into the Who, Beatles, and Zeppelin, all great hit makers.
Once I saw what was in the bins down stairs, my attachment started. I flipped through the paper sleeves until I found something that caught my attention, it was a copy of the Who's "Who Are You" album. I really liked the art on the album, and although I didn't have a record player at the time I thought "this will look good on my wall." So I bought it and a few others that looked cool, and that's how it started.
That Christmas, after buying 10 albums, my parents got me my first record player. I was able to take the records off the wall and actually spin them; it was joy to hear that first needle drop. I didn't know it at the time, but I was slowly building my love for albums as a whole. With an IPod or YouTube you can jump around, but with a record you get to hear the whole thing. All the deep tracks and hits, leaving the listener with a more concrete feeling about that band or genre.
My full appreciation devolved when my grandpa asked me to record his albums onto CD with my player (it had a transfer option). I took his few hundred albums one by one and spun them in real time, cutting the tracks and listening to the music. Although I wasn't a big fan of old country tunes, the act of sitting and listening to an album amazed me. Each one was a different piece of audio art that I had at my disposal. After burning through all of his albums, I bought more. Expanding my discographies of bands I really enjoyed and checking out new bands by random and suggestion. My reasoning was "I could spend a few bucks, spin this disc, and see if it's any good. It could be anything!"
As the years went on my thirst for diverse and quality music grew, I wanted to hear all the sounds. I eventually upgraded my sound system to a 5.1 and purchased a high quality table. At that point it wasn't just the appeal of the albums, it was the sound. The original analog sound pressed onto the best. I started to purchase the new vinyl as well and was blown away with the sound on some of them.
This set me on a mission, any shop I went to I was on the lookout to explore and add more albums to my collection. Growing older I learned that you can't buy all the records you want at once. It was better financially and ascetically to grow my collection disc by disc, finding a rare original or a new release. You can really appreciate your collection when you've heard all the ones you bought and re-listen to them, re-living the time you first heard it and how you've come to greatly enjoy it. Records really impacted my childhood, as odd as it is to say, each one is a different feeling or memory that sparked my imagination. All the music I listened to throughout high school was album oriented thanks to records, and growing from 2 albums to 600, is a dream come true.