I still listen to vinyl records. I’m not usually that out of step with technology–I use Spotify or satellite radio for most of my lip syncing and air guitaring. But given the option and time, my preference is still vinyl. Something about the occasional hiss-and-pop imperfections gives me comfort, and listening to an album requires more intention and attention than portable tunes. It’s the difference between music as a background soundtrack and music as an experience in itself. Those metaphors, though, can wait for another post. Today, I’m thinking about a particular record.
In a generic black sleeve is an unusual 12-inch 45. Larger than a typical 7-inch single, this record by the late-70s new wave band called M features not the typical two front-and-back songs of a standard 45 but, instead, three. (I realize I’ve already lost some people with all that antique music jargon, but hold on for the rest.)
Side B is a long-play version of one of the side-A songs, and side A has 2 songs. That’s different, but what’s so interesting? Well, side A is double grooved. Instead of a single groove that plays the songs in sequence, each song runs along its own groove parallel to the other. The effect of this unusual placement is that when the needle lands on the vinyl, you have no idea which song will play. It’s the analogue version of a digital shuffle.
When your feet hit the ground each morning, you never really know what groove you’ll land in. You may or may not have some general idea of what the day might bring, but truly, from moment to moment, anything can happen–good, bad, and in between. Your needle can land on unexpected places.
One key to living our variably grooved lives is to listen for the music in whatever groove we happen to land.
Sure, not every groove is groovy. And sure, some grooves hiss and pop. And sure, some grooves are so scratched that we have to find ways to lift the needle and aim for a new one. But for the most part, there’s can be a song worth singing in almost any place we land.
I don’t know what today will bring, but I trust that no matter what circumstances might come, I can find a way to sing along to the love of Christ and, hopefully, share that song with someone else. I don’t always get the tune exactly right. Sometimes the hiss-and-pop imperfections of the world or the distracting noises in my head muffle the music, but I’ll try to listen with intention and attention to the Spirit of Christ in whatever groove I land and sing along where I can.