If you’ve started collecting vinyl, you may have noticed that the songs have a different order than the CD, or digital release. Analog recording requires making very curious changes.
The picture of Rosalía posing with a vinyl from their latest album, Motomami, was unthinkable 6 or 7 years ago, when LPs were left for dead.
But analog music is backdriven by a nostalgic desire, and by the low quality of streaming platforms No HD version. In the same way that a 4K Blu-ray looks and sounds better than Netflix or Disney+ at 4K, no matter how much those interested deny it, a vinyl has more nuances than the same song on Spotify or Amazon Music.
As it is an analog recording, it forces the music album to be adapted to the disc itself, which causes some very curious changes with respect to digital formats. For example the single is always the second song, or that the ballads are placed at the end. Twitter user JE explains it in this thread:
Do you want to know how the physical format, and more specifically the vinyl, affects the order of the motomami songs and many other of your favorite albums? Inside engineering thread pic.twitter.com/QbRVSrjLGF
— JE (@Jstevez) March 23, 2022
What most attracts the attention of new LP collectors is that the order of the songs is changedregarding the CD or streaming album.
If a vinyl is well recorded, it usually places the short songs in the first position of each side. The single is placed on the second song, and the ballads and slow songs, in the last position of each side. Why is this done?
It’s all down to two unique characteristics of vinyl: your analog recording, and the use of a spinning diskand which has a different diameter on the inside and outside of the disc.
A vinyl or LP It is a disc of a plastic material formed by tracks containing grooves. These grooves reflect the variations of the music. As they are traversed by a magnetic needle while the record rotates, they are transformed into the analog music that we listen to.
An LP holds approximately 40 minutes of music, 20 minutes on each side. It depends on the type of music, because more or less loud sounds produce grooves that occupy more or less on the record.
As JE explains on Twitter, due to technical aspects and physical issues derived from the forces involved, the first song is at the outer end of the album, the one with the longest travel, and this means that, sometimes, the needle comes out of the groove and the song stops. That is why it is always placed a short song in first positionto reduce this incident.
In the case of vinyl mommy by Rosalía, the theme Saoko (2:17 minutes) is the first of the first side, and Motomami (1:01 minutes), the first of the second. They are two of the shortest songs on the album.
From the second song the needle has already stabilized, and that is why it is usually placed in that position the single or promotional theme of the album.
The last song on the album is in its internal part, in the center of the vinyl, and has a much smaller diameter. In that area the music becomes a little slower and lower, that is why they are usually placed there ballads or instrumental themes. In the case of mommythere are the G3 N15 and Sakura themes.
Keep in mind that this occurs in quality vinyl whose production has been taken care of. There are many vinyls that are a simple dump of the digital version, and the audio quality is inferior, wasting analog recording.
If you’re going to collect vinyl, take a look at the reviews before you buy, and see if it’s a well-recorded LP, or a simple “copy and paste” of the digital version.
If you follow these rules, it is almost certainly a good vinyl.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism