Record Listening Club connects with vinyl sounds

Kaitlyn Fillhart and Kaitlyn Fillhart

There is nothing quite like listening to a record from start to finish without any distractions. Being a part of the Record Listening Club allows students and staff to do just that and to discuss the meaning behind individual songs and albums as a whole.

Reference archivist Lindy Smith started the group last fall and said it gives her the opportunity to discover new music. The Music Library at the University has about one million recordings. She said starting this club seemed like a fun way for staff and students to utilize the library’s resources and dive into new listening material.

“It has exposed me to music that I wouldn’t have otherwise listened to. Past selections have included everything from Little Richard to Motorhead to Tori Amos,” Smith said.

At this month’s meeting, the group played Neutral Milk Hotel’s final album, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, released in 1998. At each meeting, a different discussion leader chooses an album they really enjoy or dislike. The full album is played and then members engage in deep discussion about the meaning of the album and others reactions or opinions to the music.

“The leaders select a recording that’s important to them. The best discussion comes from people who are knowledgeable and passionate about their subject matter,” Smith said.

Sophomore Clara Delgado shared what she enjoyed about her first time at Record Listening Club.

“I like the idea of sharing the experience of listening to an album with other people,” Delgado said.

For the members in the group, an album is more than just the music. Vinyl records, which are making a comeback, allow listeners to make a personal connection with the music when listening to a full album rather than just picking and choosing individual tracks when streaming music online.

“I feel like having [a record] is actually having a large, physical copy of the music,” Freshman Jacob Fowler said. “It’s kind of like having a piece of art.”

Delgado agrees that having a record is more personal than just streaming music. She says that listening to an album all the way through gives a different experience that you don’t get from a CD. She said listeners get to see the full story that the artist is trying to create.

“I think it gives a more intimate relationship with the music and the artist,” Delgado said. “You can always skip a song, but on vinyl, you’re forced to listen to the full album. Because of this, you get a better sense of what the artist wanted to share.”

The goal of Record Listening Club is to discover new music and to share in a listening experience that members will enjoy. Smith hopes that the Record Listening Club will continue to gain popularity and attract new members.

“I hope that it continues to grow and that we can get new people to volunteer and lead discussions,” she said.

If readers are interested in expanding their musical horizons, here are some albums recommended by members to spark new music interests:

White Album – The Beatles

Horses – Patti Smith

Rumors – Fleetwood Mac

Here’s Little Richard – Little Richard

Standing on the Beach – The Cure