Those Imperfections

I like listening to records. My generation, for the most part, has missed out on this simple pleasure. There’s just something so amazing about putting the record on the player, moving the needle over it, flipping the switch…hearing the imperfections of those old records. After a while, you memorize the exact placement of each scratch, you know just when the guitar solo will go out for a moment and then surge back on, the product of a tiny scratch or mark.

It’s surprising that a person like me, who likes organization and perfection and who strives so much to be perfect that it’s becoming a problem, loves those little imperfections in life. I hate when things don’t go the way I plan, so why do I love when my music gets all fuzzy and screwed up and dust gets on my record needle and makes George Harrison’s voice go all wonky? Why do I cling to the scratch on my Julian Casablancas CD that causes a skip?

I didn’t know where I was going with this post, didn’t know the answer to any of these questions, until I wrote that last sentence. Those imperfections have become predictable for me. The records in my dad’s cabinet have been there my entire life. I grew up with them. I know that they’re old, so I know that they’ll be a little fuzzy, a little scratched. I take comfort in that. I take comfort in knowing exactly where Julian’s voice will skip out in “Out of the Blue.” Those imperfections that I think I love…they’re totally predictable, and in that sense they’re perfect. So maybe I don’t love imperfection as much as I thought I did ten minutes ago. But I do know this: I will always love fuzzy records and scratched CDs.

And for a while, you could comfort me and hold me for some time. I need you now to be beside me while all my world is so untidy. – George Harrison.

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6 thoughts on “Those Imperfections

  1. there are so many records I had where you just learned to accept the slight imperfection to the point where it sounded odd to hear it on the radio. I still hear those songs in my head with the little skips in them.

  2. I’ve tried to get back in to vinyl. It’s a tough transition. Last time I tried I was pretty broke. I got a turntable and a couple records, then just needed a new needle for the player and… oh. The needle is 4 times as much as everything else put together. Maybe I’ll give it another go.

  3. Don’t own a record player. I have a piano, though. But if you apply the same thing to the piano, then you would be saying you love how out of tune it can be, or how the keys sometimes stick. I suppose that can be endearing. There’s always a fine line between endearing and annoying.

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