Nostalgic for Nostalgia

I’ve been reading a lot recently about the last decade in music. Bloggers and journalists love to make lists summing up the trends and highlights of the last year (in fact, I’m working on my own annual list of my favorite records from the last year). The All Songs Considered podcast crew worked through a discussion of the musical trends of the last decade and one thing stuck out to me: they spent some time being nostalgic for nostalgia. The crew talked about how you can access almost any recording or video clip from years past in seconds via Google and YouTube. Some said that this would lead to the death of the concept of nostalgia, while other argued that it would make them more nostalgic for those past recordings and such. They also talked about how CDs are far less common in this age of the iPod.

All this served to make me even more pleased with a recent addition to my home office/recording studio/guest room. I’ve been wanting to find something to put on the wall behind my desk that would be both visually pleasing and artistically motivating. I settled on vinyl record covers. I’ve bought up a few records at Cheapo and rummage sale in the past few years and decided to mount some of the covers in frames for the wall. I chose four of my favorite vintage recordings that I thought would spark my creativity and add some conversation to the room. Here are the results:

L-R: Wednesday Morning, 3AM by Simon & Garfunkel; Abbey Road by The Beatles; Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd; Pink Moon by Nick Drake
Vinyl records are such amazing relics of the history of pop music. They are physically large and therefore have large and well-thought-out cover art. They contain music with rich sonic textures that CDs can’t match. They age quite well and some say they actually sound better the more they are played. They also speak to a time with albums were carefully constructed, not just thrown together as a collection of singles. Artists often crafted each side as separate pieces, with a semi-closing track at the end of side A and a re-introduction track to begin the B-side.
All that to say that having these specific works of art on the wall of my creative space makes me very happy. Looking at the past makes me eager to craft a worthy future. Nostalgia drives advancement.

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