JEFF SHATTUCK MUSIC

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Nick Hornby talks about vinyl.

Last week, Catherine and I went to hear Nick Hornby subject himself to an interview by Dave Eggers, and at some point, the subject of vinyl vs. CDs came up. Now, I'm not sure why, but Nick's take really crystallized the problem with CDs for me.

He started by saying that no one ever really wanted them, that they lacked vinyl's mystique, etc, and while the latter half of this is certainly true, I'm not sure about the former. I remember what a pain records were! But then he went on to note that how vinyl WAS music and I perked up. When you saw a record, he said, you knew what it held. There was no question. But a CD? Christ, it could hold anything, even PowerPoint, god forbid. And for me, this was a moment of clarity. A ha, I shouted to myself. That's why I never really cared much for CDs. They're just like a piece of paper, and who really cares about a blank piece of paper? Moreover, when a CD plays it's hidden from you. There is no connection between you and the medium from which the music emanates. Anyway, a very cool observation. Thanks, Nick.

Oh, and speaking of vinyl, here's a song inspired in part by vinyl. I've been working on it forever, tweaking words, adjusting chords, thinking about how it will ultimately sound. It's not done, yet, but I think the words are at least finalized.

DUST IN THE VINYL

I could sing about the blue of her eyes
And how they're like a perfect sky
But then you'd miss all that they hide 

Or I could sing about the shape of her lips 
Her pale skin, the curve of her hips
But these perfect things I could just as well skip

Because like laugh lines on people who've known loss
Like cigarette burns through the guitar's gloss
It's the little wrongs that can make a thing more right
It is like dust in vinyl as the record plays into the night


I could sing about the joy in her smile
Her long lashes and sense of style
But these perfect things get old after awhile

Because like streaks of gray in a sea of black

Like the chips in the guitar from so many years back
It's the little wrongs that can make a thing more right
It's like dust in vinyl as the record plays late into the night

And it's the hard times that make us who we are
It's the mistakes we've made that can take us so far
We hide what's wrong to make a perfect disguise
But perfect things, they tell perfect lies

Because like a scar down the middle of a naked back
Like rust on the guitar where the chrome has cracked
It's the little wrongs that can make a thing so right

It's like dust in vinyl as the record plays into the night