Review: Vinyl Nation

Do you still have a turntable and love to flip through your crate of albums just looking for the one that strikes a chord? Then this is a documentary you’ll certainly appreciate. But even if you got rid of your boxes of vinyl years ago and listen to Spotify and your iTunes library or ask Siri to play something snappy to get you going, you’ll probably have a great time with this film. I expected it to be about a bunch of old white guys hanging onto the nostalgia of their youth, but it’s a lot more than that. It’s a look at the growing culture at the heart of a resurgence of tangible music and the people across every demographic – young and old, male and female, black and white – who are buying and playing and loving their vinyl connections. And it’s a hell of a lot of fun.

The film starts with long lines of people waiting to get into a store for Record Store Day. Apparently record stores across the country now do these events and the collectors and vinyl fans come out in hordes hoping to find that elusive rare album or just be part of the communal buzz. From there the audience is introduced to a number of colorful characters, all of whom are vinyl aficionados. Some own stores. Others are old analog lovers or new converts. And then there are the people who make the records, pressing them, packaging them, bringing them to a new audience. Sounds dry, but I always love to see scenes in films where you learn something new.

At the center of the film is the love of music. Sure, having a turntable is the common denominator, but there’s something distinctly different about playing a record than our more modern digital experience. There’s intentionality to it, the way you listen to a whole side, and then it’s over and you have to decide what to do next. Flip it or replace it in the beautifully designed album cover replete with cover art and liner notes, and select the next one. Does it sound better on vinyl? Maybe. Or maybe that’s not the point. Either way, Vinyl Nation will make you want to buy a turntable (if you got rid of yours as I did just a few years ago) and head out to the nearest record store (and they are making a comeback) and find an old favorite or something new, since lots of artists are now having their music pressed. It’s an entertaining dive into vinyl culture.

Currently showing in virtual cinemas nationwide, Vinyl Nation will be available until Monday, Nov. 30th.

Vinyl Nation – Official Trailer from Christopher Boone on Vimeo.

 

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