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Opening the Vinyl Vault

Music, Trends and Nostalgic Throwbacks

I still have my jewelry Caboodle from the 1980s. It’s like a bright pink tackle box of nostalgia in my storeroom, earrings and bracelets from the decade still secure in their little compartments in wait for the opportunity to shine again. There’s a reason those of us who lived during the (arguably) best decade live with one foot still in yesteryear. It was fun. And colorful. Clothes were expressive and dance moves impressive. And, then there was the music.

I was born in the ‘70s and grew up with our musical library displayed in their carboard LP sleeve covers on the shelf above our record player. Neil Diamond and Glenn Campbell were friends there, alongside Kenny Rogers’ The Gambler record and Elvis’s Live from Hawaii recording that greeted us with his floral lei. So, imagine my surprise when my 16-year-old son, Max, developed an interest in vintage vinyl, leafing through rows of records in search of…. what exactly?

The Beastie Boys. Rocky soundtrack. The Beatles.

Come again?

Those of us who were glued to the Grammy’s in anticipation of Madonna and Prince performances are now watching in disbelief as a new generation embraces records, Birkenstocks and Doc Martens as though archaeological discoveries attributable to a generation who were introduced to Rick Astley tunes on Tik Tok. And when they discuss these amazing things in life, we respond, “Um, yeah. We know.”

While some of us might be taken aback by this renewed interest in vinyl, Faron Meek, owner of FM Music Vintage Sounds in North Kansas City is not surprised at all. “They’ve heard music their parents and grandparents have played,” Faron says. “The Beatles and Pink Floyd are timeless. Great music is timeless.”

Step into Faron’s shop and you’ll understand why he has loyal and regular customers. The cozy space is filled with memories that take us back to when Steven Van Zandt hadn’t yet met Silvio from The Sopranos and Pink Floyd’s album covers were considered art themselves. Although new music is always a draw, there are some bands that speak to all generations. Faron says Fleetwood Mac sells to all ages and he has a teenage customer who is an America fan and always on the lookout for their music in all types of formats. “There’s a young guy who comes in to buy Sinatra and Dean Martin,” Faron says. “It’s awesome to see what they come in looking for.”

“It’s the collecting part that separates it from other types of music,” my son Max explains. “You can build up a collection rather than have a playlist on your phone. The vinyl record sound feels more real in a way,” he says. “Vinyl played on a turntable creates more of a presence than digital music or through headphones.” 

Dave Fore understands that realness on a different level. A Missouri native, Fore is a multi-Billboard charting Mastering Engineer with a gold record hanging on his wall. As a sound expert relied upon to vote on Grammy recipients, he can speak to the nuances of sound that 16-year-olds can appreciate, but not articulate.

“Vinyl is an analog format that captures and reproduces every detail of the music, true to the original waveforms that were recorded in the studio,” Dave explains. “During the mastering process, dynamics are left to sound more natural. This could be described as more real sounding, but also, vinyl has a subjectively warmer sound and is one of the characteristics that defines the format, often being easier on the ears than digital audio.”

According to Billboard, vinyl albums outsold CDs in 2022 for the second year in a row, although only half of respondents reported owning a record player. So, what are they doing with them? Well, my son owns a record player, but his interest in vinyl is both for the music and décor factors, an ever-growing album wall a prominent feature in his room.

“I like to display things in my room that say something about me,” Max says. “I have movie posters, sports items, a travel map and records on my wall. I think music really tells you something more about a person than any other entertainment does because you can look at someone’s music taste and learn about who they are as a person.”  

“Listening to an album on vinyl is very intentional and requires some dedication of time to consume the project as a whole,” Dave says. “It has value where streaming a song does not. And humans love to collect things.”

So, if you’re looking for a way to connect with your teenagers, take them to a vintage vinyl store. Talk about music and what resonates with them, sharing stories about your first concert or records that meant something to you.

Teenagers. They’re just like us…at least when it comes to vinyl.

You walk into a vintage vinyl store and pick out a record. Which record is it and why?

Max: “I like to listen to some rap and indie pop. I really like Mac DeMarco, Mac Miller, The Beatles, Beastie Boys and Tyler the Creator.”

Faron Meek: “Steve, Bob & Rich – Balls. Rare Kansas City band self-release before becoming The Rainmakers. Great album!”

Dave Fore: “Without a doubt, Steely Dan’s Aja album. That record to this day is considered to be one of the best produced, best performed and best recorded/engineered pieces of music of all time.”

"I think music really tells you something more about a person than any other entertainment does because you can look at someone’s music taste and learn about who they are as a person.”  - Max