Turntable needle guiding the flow of sound

Tony Hemenway Spartan Scoop 2023

While needles might be feared by some, they are also loved by many. This needle might not be the same one you’re familiar with; however, it does the same job as its more feared counterpart. Instead of administering medicine physically, it delivers medicine through sound. Needles like these are used in almost everything musical: CD players, cassette players, and of course, record turntables. Without these, the world of music would most certainly be in ruins.

A pile of cassettes, waiting patiently to be played

Tony Hemenway Spartan Scoop 2023

Cassettes are one of the most beautiful (and underrated) forms of music. Something about cassettes simply sings to me, literally and figuratively. They are the perfect size, not too big and not too small either…meaning they’re easy to carry with you. Playing cassettes brings me a feeling of nostalgia, even though they’re about four decades older than me. Trust me when I say that you haven’t lived until you’ve heard the record click at the end of a tape, or the cassette rewinding for another listen on that beloved guitar solo in Guns N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child of Mine”.

My signature sunglasses resting on a Guns N’ Roses cassette

Tony Hemenway Spartan Scoop 2023

There’s nothing more 80’s than some classic aviators and a cassette to accompany it. While cassettes were popular in the 70’s and 80’s, there’s no doubt that cassettes are an 80’s thing. There’s something about listening to a cassette in an old Sony Walkman that makes me feel so happy to be lucky enough to experience these delicacies.

My favorite albums on CD

Tony Hemenway Spartan Scoop 2023

CDs are by far the most produced form of music, with hundreds of millions being produced every year. They are also one of the most popular forms of music, as they only need a player and a speaker and are not high-maintenance as compared to vinyl records or cassette tapes. Even though CDs might the most boring of music’s forms, they still have a special place in my heart.

Jake the Dog listening to some music by candle light.

Tony Hemenway Spartan Scoop 2023

Who says that humans are the only ones who can enjoy music? Music memorabilia has been one of the most popular forms of art and merchandise in the modern world. Whether it be pop culture interacting with music (such as Jake here) band posters in your room, or vinyl displayed on your wall, it’s hard to escape the influence of music in our modern world.

Ms. Bathje’s Fleetwood Mac Rumors and Beatles Abbey Road vinyl records

Tony Hemenway Spartan Scoop 2023

Art on CD cases or on vinyl sleeves is basically clothes for your music. Music covers have always represented music and what the album it’s representing may be about – while sound is a rather abstract art form, the covers that present it are literal art. Often, the art on the cover is what employs me to buy an album in the first place, and…so far it has yet to to disappoint.

“The Moment” by Tame Impala streaming through a phone

Tony Hemenway Spartan Scoop 2023

And now we reach today’s most popular form of music and sound: digital streaming. What do I think about this new form of consuming music? Well…I think it’s wonderful.

Being able to listen to your favorite songs or artist on the go without the hassle of clunky records, cassettes, or CDs is awesome. Plus, most streaming applications show the cover art of the album or song your playing as well (definitely a plus for style points). Over 90% of my music is played through my phone or laptop with Spotify.

Thank you, technology.

To the readers of this photo essay:

Massive thanks to all of you, it’s really fun to talk and take pictures of things I’m interested in and share it with others; this is no exception. Music has always been a passion of mine ever since I got my first song stuck in my head (Rascal Flatts’ cover of “Life is a Highway”).

Everybody’s music tastes differ; sometimes it might change, or it could just stay the same. Don’t ever let anyone tell you the music you listen to is “overrated”, or “70’s hippy garbage”…music is an art, and art enjoyers have different tastes in art, naturally. You should like the music you like because you like it, not because somebody else told you you should.

Maybe you don’t have a favorite song or album yet – that’s totally cool as well. Things like that just come naturally, like over the speaker in a cafe, or on the radio on the drive home from a long day. Everyone’s got their special song that’s their song and their song alone, even you.