“Let It Bleed” Enjoyed on Vinyl


I haven’t actually put a vinyl record on a platter and lined up the needle in probably 14 years, but I recently had the pleasure of visiting my friend Norman and his newly tricked out turntable. He’s a bit of an audiofile and a collector, which means he’s amassing (and in some cases re-amassing) a sizable vinyl collection to play in pristine quality. We chose to spin “Let It Bleed,” an album I know very well, but have never heard on vinyl. I don’t want to equate this experience to, say, seeing “Lawrence of Arabia” on 70mm, but it’s probably pretty close. I mean, I already love the band, so it’s not like this was a transformative experience. I didn’t run out and buy a record player myself, but I did get something from sitting on the floor and playing a great album in its original state.

Further romanticizing the experience, spinning vinyl versions of your favorite albums allows for a more intimate experience than MP3s, or even CDs. You can see it happen, the music. I don’t quite understand it, but I can see the record blipping the needle. It feels more organic, if not more participatory. I can’t operate a laser myself, but if the electricity went out, I could still spin the record and make a sound come out somewhere.

We also sat and listened to the whole thing, which makes things feel more special, because really, how often do I do that? I had a friend to chat with, discuss how the drums pop in “Gimme Shelter” with, note the overall tone with.

The biggest discovery was noting how special that intro to “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” truly is, as though that needs repeating. It’s easy to forget with 30 year old, over-played songs, but when you’re in a studying mood, and you’ve let yourself get engrossed in the songs, you can’t help but notice. I know that intro by heart, yet this time hearing it I actually sat up. It is so jarringly, beautifully different from the preceeding song AND any other part of the album. It seems to announce itself as important, and not in a forced way. It’s declaring itself an album closer. It is an act break. As powerful and wonderful as “Gimme Shelter” is, there’s something passing about it because there are songs coming after. With “You Can’t…,” there will be nothing after, and it seems to acknowledge that. There’s power in that acknowlegment.

That’s it. I recommend doing this.


One Response to ““Let It Bleed” Enjoyed on Vinyl”

  1. Great blog on the power of vinyl

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