Although I enjoy collecting vinyl records, I ought to confess… I do not have a large collection.
I started collecting vinyl during the summer of 2017, and since then I have amassed a total of 15 or 16 records. The genres I have are rock and classical music, and while I will continue to collect them and learn how to clean them and have them musically tell me interesting stories, transport me to new landscapes and give me hope in the dark depths of a musically addled mind, I do not have a large collection.
That said, I do have 50 CDs, I listen to music on the daily and I also play guitar and the Native American flute (a peculiarity, if you will). Such is the way of a broke musician :). And I write poetry/lyrics. Lots of it.
That being said, let’s get into it. Here are my top 5 vinyl records I own.
V. White Lion’s Pride (1987)
Etched into the glam metal halls is a record that spawned two top ten hits in the United States, the hopeful and sorrowful ballad “When the Children Cry” and the love ballad “Wait”.
The album cover, a full faced lion drawn to fit the whole front of the record, represents the albums fulfilling title well, and the music crosses many themes from war (“Lady of the Valley”) to love-making (“Hungry”) to cries for peace (“When the Children Cry”).
It’s a well thought-out and straightforward rock record, and although the band is no longer together, the music made here is something that holds a special place in my music mind and heart.
IV. Boston’s Don’t Look Back (1978)
I’m sure this album will eventually be replaced by my acquisition of the self-titled debut album, but Boston albums are simply… Great.
Classically-imbued melodies and hooks, universally understandable lyrics and messages of hope and love define the themes of the album.
It’s a great album that took a long while to record, and when it was released would go on to sell 7 million copies.
III. Woody Herman’s Feelin’ So Blue (1981)
Next up on the list is Woody Herman’s Feelin’ So Blue. The album is instrumental jazz and blues, and the cover features a lone wooden farmbuilding. Thematically, the album brings a very lonely and somber feeling, with bits of excitement delivered from blues and jazz passages.
II. Rush’s Signals (1982)
This is the quintessential Rush album for fans of not conforming to typical, droll societal standards. Songs such as “Subdivisions”, “The Weapon”, and “Digital Man” all tell a story of people not wanting to live in the mass production of the suburbs, the fear that can make people do crazy things, and that of a man traveling the world digitally.
If there is any gateway album that can introduce people to Rush it would have to be this album (I know most people will cite Moving Pictures, but I prefer introducing people to the more synth-heavy Rush first. It was when they were more mainstream).
I. Rush’s Power Windows (1984)
This is my favorite Rush album and vinyl record of all time, and it has all three of my favorite Rush songs “Mystic Rhythms”, “Manhattan Project”, and “Middletown Dreams”. I find that as Rush experimented with their synthesizer sounds, they laid the groundwork for future bands to do the same while also remaining true to their rock roots. For instance, “Mystic Rhythms” is a tribal sounding song with airy, ambient synthesizers, a high melodic lead synthesizer during the chorus, and electronic drums that bring forth images of the continent of Africa, where hunters from thousands of years ago would have hunted wildlife and fought for a better practical life in simplicity. “Manhattan Project”, as its name implies, is about the creation of atomic bomb and implications of the damage caused by such a weapon of mass destruction. And lastly, we have “Middletown Dreams”. While the two previous songs I discussed have larger themes and meanings beyond the modern day, “Middletown Dreams” is about the dreams that people from small, rural towns in the mid-west might have and how they never seem to actually want to live their dreams.
Rush comprises the vast majority of my vinyl collection, and as of editing this post, I now own Hemispheres, 2112, Signals, and Power Windows.
I’m aiming to update this list near the middle of the year, but for now, I still strongly enjoy these vinyl records and hope to listen to them for years to come.