The Power of a Single Record (But Not a Record Single)

I know it sounds cliché, and everybody says this, and you can find it written is some girly font in front of a sunset picture all over the internet, but I’m going to say it anyway: music is so freaking powerful. Even more so than that – even the idea of music is so freaking powerful. You can easily strike up a conversation, you can patch a friendship, you get angry about it or it can make you the happiest person on earth. What brings on this post at this specific time? Well, let me tell you a little bit about my day and the past weekend.

This past weekend was Record Store Day – and that means that a bunch of record stores around the nation had good deals and they were all releasing special records. My room mate and I got up and waited in line for almost two hours to get into this record store we had never been to before. It turned out to be worth it, because I got two Mountain Goats albums on vinyl and she found three of the records she had been looking for. I couldn’t hop around much longer, since I had to get to work, but even that day at work in the popcorn shop was special. I got to bring my player down and we listened to a bunch of records for my 6+ hour shift, and it made the time fly by. I absolutely adore my record collection. I love sharing it, I love talking about it, and I love adding to it. Hey, the more the merrier, right? 

And then today – I finally got the two text messages I had been waiting for. Flogging Molly’s Within A Mile Of Home and the newest-release Ingrid Michaelson (Lights Out) vinyls were delivered and waiting for me in the mail room. Since I had about a half hour to kill before the mail room opened, and I needed to run some errands, I decided to walk down to the closest record store just to check and see if they had one of the records I’ve been dying to get my hands on the past couple days – Arctic Monkeys’ AM. I stepped a foot into that store and it felt like running through the sprinkler when I was little. Any stress I felt, any insecurities I was feeling, all of my worries just… melted away. The only thing that mattered is if the room I was in contained the record grooved with the music that I wanted to purchase, and a little bit the price of that said record. Since I was just there on a whim, it didn’t matter all that much to me if I found what I was looking for or not – I just wanted to get into a store today. And it felt great. That’s what seems to happen every time I set foot in a record store. It doesn’t even matter if I’m on a mission or not. It just feels good to be in that environment, and I think it’s my favorite environment I’ve found so far here in Chicago. I can keep to myself or I can talk to someone asking for advice on records and music in general. Nobody’s judging, nobody really cares what’s going on. They’re there for the same reason I am. And that feels really, really good. Plus… how can you not love that record-store-smell? 

Unfortunately, something not so great happened once I got back to my dorm. I had been expecting the delivery of two vinyls, and I got both of those deliveries…but the company that sent my Ingrid Michaelson album sent me a COMPACT DISC. Yes, a CD. It even says LP on the invoice, so I know that I ordered the right thing. This would have been my most expensive record purchase, so I was a little ticked that they sent me the wrong thing. It really ticked me off for awhile, but then I decided to just download the album off YouTube, which is completely perfect and fabulous. I decided to just ordered the vinyl from Amazon (where I know they’ll send me the right thing,) and attempt to just get my money back from the other company, since it says online that they have some terrible customer service.

But it all ended up okay – one of my other room mates and I had a little music swap (hello, 225 new songs!), and we all just talked about records and albums and bands and music genres, and it was perfect and powerful. I feel like talking about music and getting music and listening to other people’s music connects you on a whole new level, too. It definitely gives you more to talk about beyond the day and gossipping about the happenings at school.

So there you go. The power of music in just the past couple days for me. Like I said, my record collection is starting to become my pride and joy, and I’m so excited to keep it growing. I’ve decided that for my birthday weekend I just want to go to Minneapolis/St. Paul and go record shopping, since I’ll be at home for my birthday for the first time in two years. I definitely want to explore the Minnesota music scene even more than I already know, because what I do know, I adore. I’ve also heard the record store scene in MPS/St. Paul is pretty great, so I’m getting a little stoked to check it out. But okay, I’m done rambling for the night. I just wanted to record this little musing because I thought it might make a decent story. 

(But you betcha I’m going to be listening to this Ingrid Michaelson album on repeat at least until Thursday, because I’m going to see her live for the first time ever!!!! Four years coming. Definitely expect a blog post 🙂 )

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Author: erikabunk

Raised in Northern Minnesota, Interdisciplinary major in Radio and Business & Entrepreneurship at Columbia College Chicago. Enjoys long runs on the lakefront path at dawn, public radio, and lefse covered in butter w/ cinnamon sugar. Spends too much time on Spotify, in search of the best record store in the world, and dreams of returning to Reykjavík.

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