Reader beware, the following article contains countless contradictions and pointless moaning about things that can’t be helped. Enjoy!
I love vinyl records. I’m worried that buying them, listening to them and talking to people about vinyl has become so integral to my personality that if I just stopped people would be genuinely concerned about my safety. I love how they sound, collecting exclusives versions of records and feeling like I have a physical ‘thing’ that I can listen to no matter the future of my online only streaming library. There’s one thing that really frustrates me though; double LPs that only just need to be.
When I’m listening to one of my favourite albums on vinyl, nothing breaks the enjoyment like having to switch sides over after literally 6 minutes of music. 2 songs on a side of an LP? At highest audio quality for a standard record you can reach around 22 minutes of music, so unless those tracks are over 10 minutes each I’m confused.
That limit is definitely important. What happens when you have an album that’s 46 minutes long? Do you spread it out over 2 records to preserve the best possible audio quality for the sake of 2 minutes of audio? Or do you spend extra time and effort figuring out a way of mixing the album to allow you to fit all onto one LP? The audiophile in me says the former, the lazy bastard in me says the latter.
It’s records in this middle ground where they could go either way that really irk me. Records that remain as the ‘standard version’ with about 30 minutes worth of record just sat there unused. Why not include the deluxe edition tracks?
It’s inconsistent between records too, I have some that hit 48 minutes that make it onto one LP, some are 44 minutes and are split over two records. I could check whether the mix team on Kacey Musgraves’ Golden Hour spent extra time getting that album onto one LP, but I’ve admitted I’m a lazy bastard now, so now I just want every record to be the same. How come Bjork’s Post is 46 minutes on one LP and Medulla is 45:40 across 2 LPs?! Of course it’s more about creating a side that’s under 22 minutes than the total, but that would be logical and I’m too lazy to be logical.
I can hear what you are saying though, the answer is glaringly obvious If I’m moaning so much about having to switch the sides of a record. Just listen to songs on Spotify or even CD if you are in a retro mood? Of course that’s right, but that would also destroy the part of my personality that isn’t a lazy bastard and that’s a vinyl collecting bastard, so where would that leave me?
Words by Sam Atkins