No need to raid your parents’ collection, there’s plenty of vinyls right here in town
~Travis Rocha, Lifestyle Editor~
Deciding to buy your first vinyl is a little like deciding to get your first tattoo; it’s a big commitment. People don’t normally just wake up and do it; they either get swept up in the moment or they thought about it for like a week in advance. For vinyls, the reason is because if you buy one, you’re going to need to buy a record player too which is a few hundred bucks right there. But not only that, who ever just owns one vinyl? You’ve got to get at least a couple. And look at that! You scored two Beatles records for cheap, Abbey Road and Let It Be, but your favorite is The White Album so you’re going to need to get that if you have the other two… and if you have three you might as well collect all the Beatles’ albums on vinyl. Now imagine that desire except for every artist possible and quickly it’s easy to understand why collecting vinyl records can become an all encompassing hobby, and an expensive one at that. It’s certainly not a commitment most people want to make unless they’re passionate about it. Although, I probably just have poor impulse control so maybe that’s just me.
In any case, coming to Christopher Newport I was a little envious of my friends going to school in Richmond with so many stores selling records in that area. I figured there wouldn’t be any record stores here and my in-store shopping would be relegated to the Goodwill discount piles (which I’m not knocking because every once in a while they always have something great). Though, I was pleasantly surprised because there are plenty of stores that sell records in Newport News. In addition to the multiple Goodwills in the area, Newport News has no shortage of antique and thrift stores in and around the area that almost always have at least a few records being sold. When thrifting, I’m normally in the market for clothes, but it seems like nowadays I always end up leaving with at least 1 record.
When I go out to record stores, it can be an all evening affair. I’m happy to stand in a record store for hours sifting through everything, thinking through what I might want to bring home. One of my favorite places to go is American Oldies which is located on 14333 Warwick Blvd. The entire store is jam-packed with records from every genre and the staff is incredibly friendly. They’re always happy to strike up a conversation about music at the check-out counter and recommend some tunes. Though, as much as I do love supporting small businesses, I’ve got to admit that my favorite place to buy records in Newport News is actually a used media store chain, 2nd and Charles. It’s a huge store filled with secondhand movies, books, and, of course, vinyls (plus a bunch of other random stuff too). It’s definitely where I do the brunt of my in-person record shopping because there’s always a steady influx of new records and they have great deals.
For me, I enjoy collecting vinyls because it feels representative of the love and respect that I have for music. There’s something about seeing all of my albums lined up next to each other that always puts a smile on my face. If you’ve never been to a record store, you’ve got to check one out. One of my favorite dates I’ve been on was to a record store where her and I surprised one another with a record that we bought for each other on the spot. If you’re looking for a good Saturday activity with your significant other, I can’t recommend it enough. And if you don’t have anyone to take on a date, then you should still head to the record store because you never know when you might walk in and see a cute girl or boy holding your favorite album. I mean, what better conversation starter could you ask for?