Retro revival: vinyl trend making a comeback

Sophia Fowler '22, Copy Editor

Ripe Records in Grosse Pointe Park sells as well as trades and buys vinyl records. Owner Andrew Curcuru has been listening to vinyl since he was 6.
Jacquelyn Wang ’21 appreciates the whole experience of listening to vinyl. “It feels like something more special and you feel more attracted to the music,” Wang said. Photos by Zach Farrell ’21.

As many things come and go while trends change, one consistent trend has been around for over a half a century and seems to not be fading away any time soon.

The trend of vinyl made a comeback in mid-2018 and seems to have only been growing since. From sound quality to the overall experience and ability to touch and control your own music, vinyl has been a new musical awakening for many according to Andrew Curcuru, owner and operator of Ripe Records in Grosse Pointe Park. But for some such as Curcuru, vinyl has been a major part of his life.

“I’ve listened to vinyl since I was about 6 years old,” Curcuru said. “I started collecting my own and I started buying my own in and about the early 70s and I’ve been buying and listening to it ever since.”

Some did not have the opportunity to listen to vinyl at a young age, however. Svea Swanson ‘22, says vinyl was first introduced to her only a few years ago. Since then, listening to vinyl has become a tradition for she and her family.

  “My cousin and I went antique shopping about 2 years ago and there we found some old vinyl,” Swanson said. “We ended up buying old 50 cent vinyl. Since then I’ve enjoyed vinyl a lot.”

One of the most enjoyable aspects of vinyl is the many features to it that can’t be received on digital downloads or streaming music according to Curcuru. Some of these include artwork, information on the artist, who produced it, who mastered it, etc.

“When you play vinyl there’s a richer sound to it,” Curcuru said. “Plus, it’s all the linear notes that you don’t get on a download or streaming.”

For some, including Jacquelyn Wang ‘21, there’s also an experience you get when listening and buying vinyl. You give more respect to the music you’re listening to.

“I’ll put [vinyl] then I’ll have to change it and stuff so I have to pay more attention to the music,” Wang said. “I just like the whole experience.”

However, the overall experience of vinyl can be heard by many as well. The smoother and cleaner sound is one of the most enjoyable parts of vinyl for Wang.

“Vinyl sounds different on a record player then it does from a CD or just streaming it from your phone,” Wang said. “It’s a lot more special than just downloading something onto your phone.”

Even though vinyl has made a roaring comeback, the cause of the comeback can be hard to trace back according to Curcuru. The only real explanation is the experience vinyl provides that many listeners have only recently found out about.

“I think it’s just because they’ve never seen it before because they’ve never listened to it.” Curcuru said, “I think it’s influenced kids who never listened to it.”

With many trends coming and going every year, vinyl seems to be set in stone for the next little while. With many other ways to listen to music, vinyl offers listeners a more one-on-one experience, said Wang. One of the many perks to purchasing and listening to it.

“It [vinyl] feels more like an event,” Wang said, “it feels like something more special and you feel more attracted to the music.”

Podcast: Sophia Fowler ’22 and Paige Evers ’22 talk with Ripe Records owner Andrew Curcuru about the vinyl revival and the experience of listening to records.