Perhaps you’ve been collecting vinyl records of your favorite music for decades now, or perhaps you’ve recently decided to give physical form to your love; either way, vinyl has a cultish appeal to most music lovers out there. With such an overwhelming amount of information on the do’s and don’ts of vinyl culture, it can get rather tiring sorting through lists upon endless lists of what records to buy and why to buy them. Plus, each such compilation is influenced by the author’s own particular bias and their personal taste in music.
The following list, however, is as short as it is sweet; thorough research ensures as fair a list as is possible, in a mere five items at that!
- Michael Jackson – Thriller
Despite its imaginative exploration of genres like pop, rock and funk, the phenomenon’s sixth studio album was perceived to be rather lackluster when first released in 1982, just in time for Christmas.
Yet, a mere year later, this vinyl album had become the greatest selling album of all time; a classic piece of vinyl vintage even today. With an extravagant production budget of $750,000, this album promises to deliver a serious bang for your buck. Not to mention the absolute gems it contains; including, but not limited to, “Thriller” (of course), “Beat It” and “Billie Jean”.
What was initially feared a misfire in the world of pop would today make an invaluable addition to your collection of vinyl albums.
- Pink Floyd – Dark Sound of the Moon
You’ve either lived it, loved it or, in a rare case, just learned of it. But it’s impossible not to know of its existence, such is the magnificence of this particular piece of music.
Exploring the heavy themes of conflict, greed and mental illness, this album is certain to trigger a certain introspection. Yet the music washes over you, a friendly face in a strangely unfamiliar world.
Released in 1973, the album still acts as a rite of passage for many a fellow music connoisseur; it’s one of those things you simply have to have on vinyl.
- The White Stripes – Elephant
If you thought vinyl was old-school, meet Elephant by The White Stripes. Recorded using an eight-track tape machine (I had to Google what that meant too) and other similarly aged gear, the intent was to deliberately avoid any modern recording technology whatsoever. Eccentric, especially when you consider that technology, like wine, gets better with time.
This gutsy move paid off, with the album garnering both critical acclaim AND commercial success within months of its release. Ranked a fifth by the Rolling Stone’s compilation of top 100 albums of the 21st century, we may as well be staring at one of the finest pieces of music to ring through the next hundred years. So, what’s stopping you from grabbing your own copy of this beauty?
- The Beatles – Revolver
Short as it may be, this list would be sorely lacking were we to exclude The Beatles altogether; almost a cultural marker at this point, their music once took the world by the storm, a marvelous influence which is noticeable even today.
A solid three hundred hours of studio time were invested in the production of this album, whose artistic features and technical mastery have earned it a title of “The best Beatles album” (it’s simply an opinion, albeit a massively popular one).
Despite the flood of critics that very sensational piece of music invites, Revolver has shot through the years with an unparalleled reputation, well-loved by the masses and critics alike. The music’s exquisitely unique sound forced the band to give up touring within a month of its release; they simply couldn’t replicate it bombarded by hordes of screaming fans. A vinyl record of this album, however, is as close as one can get to a live performance of this incredible work.
- Bob Dylan – Blonde on Blonde
Bob Dylan’s voice seems to be made for vinyl, so one could easily select any of his albums to shelf in. This particular album is easily a cut above, featuring the lovely “Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands” which spans eleven minutes and took a whopping eight hours to record, done in just one take. Now that’s a remarkable feat.
The effort and love poured into this album shines through, enveloping the listener in an affectionate, tender manner; an effect further emphasized upon when giving the vinyl format a whirl. Treat yourself.
There you have it, folks! No more endless scrolling and research trying to find the perfect vinyl album to resonate with your current mood; there’s something in here for everyone. Draw the names out of a hat if you can’t decide which one to listen to first; no matter what you pick, an evening of pleasant relaxation accompanied by some excellent music is guaranteed.