Records To Die For

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Stereophile Staff Posted: Feb 06, 2014 4 comments
Much as we audiophiles love a good format war—nothing like a dustup over the tactility of vinyl vs the convenience of downloads—not to mention all the ever-evolving gear, the base of this pursuit is still the music. Which is why February is the month least cruel, and time again for our annual "Records To Die For."
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Stereophile Staff Posted: Feb 15, 2013 5 comments
It has been another year of great torment and turmoil in the world of recorded music. The loudness wars grow ever . . . well, louder. The confusion and profusion of formats continue to roil buyers of tracks and albums. And streaming services like Pandora and Spotify continue to bleed off purchasers of downloads and physical media. Yet at the same time, the LP, once derided as dead and gone, is back with a vengeance. In short, everyone has had to find their own way—the mix of online and physical that works for them. Fortunately, all this diversity and change have not kept fans from listening, or stopped the truly devoted from still needing their music. And happily, the old adage about audiophilism is still true: If you're willing to invest in quality gear, you probably own considerably more than five records.
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Stereophile Staff Posted: Jan 26, 2013 Published: Feb 01, 2012 8 comments
At a time in history when the music business seems less interested in making anything of lasting value than in churning out disposable music—hits intended to be consumed for a few days via iPod, then left behind—the notion of cherishing the masterpieces, the records to die for, seems a lost art. Yet it's exactly that state of being—as when Lady Gaga's latest outfit commands a bigger spotlight than the recent Pink Floyd reissues—that makes our annual "Records To Die For" feature that much more essential.
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Stereophile Staff Posted: Feb 01, 2012 Published: Feb 01, 2011 0 comments
Each year when I sit down to write this introduction, I get stuck on the whole dying-for-music thing. I get visions of the Lincoln assassination conspirators, swinging from ropes with sacks over their heads. Like '80s hair bands do ya? Pull the trap door! Or Mary Queen of Scots kneeling before the block: A fan of smooth jazz? Let the blade fall! Yes, it's silly on some level, but what exactly is the feeling that would make one martyr oneself for music?
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Stereophile Staff Posted: Feb 03, 2011 Published: Feb 15, 2010 4 comments
It's always revealing to see exactly what music people have sitting on their shelves or hard drives. It tells you a lot about them—whether they're kindred spirits (Bill Evans) or something less (Sting). In many ways, our annual "Records To Die For" feature is a kind of mini-window into the musical souls of our contributing editors; may the Gods of Song bless their tortured souls, every one. In the past, such choices as the soundtrack album for the movie Casper have raised eyebrows, if not outright suspicion. Still, along with crowing about our favorite records, we try to keep it all in good fun. What's the title of Stephen Mejias's excellent blog at www.sterophile.com—"Elements of Our Enthusiasm"? Well then, here are some of those precious elements that feed that enthusiasm. Remember: Gear ain't great without something to play on it.—Robert Baird
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Stereophile Staff Posted: Feb 08, 2010 Published: Feb 08, 2009 0 comments
A crime of passion? Depraved indifference to the importance of tuneage? Death by music? The simple fact is that most audiophiles got that way by having too many records. That's right—very few got into this rewarding, non-contact sport because they were aroused by shiny brushed-steel boxes or supersexy speaker grilles. It's because they wanted to hear their piles of music—their Mahler, Monk, or Rick James—sound the best it could. (And, okay, yes: It is cool to show drooling friends your designer gear.)
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Stereophile Staff Posted: Feb 02, 2009 Published: Feb 02, 2008 0 comments
The value of music as a commodity, and as one of mankind's wonders, has never been in such flux. Retail record shops are dying, the former major labels are focused on making records for kids (the same kids they're suing), and the business overall remains wedded to an incredibly short view (get a hit or get out), but the music itself continues to trickle through to those who want it—and, yes, on some level would die without it.
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Stereophile Staff Posted: Feb 09, 2008 Published: Feb 09, 2007 0 comments
This year marks the tenth time I've written an introduction to Stereophile's venerable annual feature "Records To Die For." Looking back, I'm proud that readers always find it useful and entertaining. I'm also amazed, on some levels, that our writers—hardware or software, deadline-phobic or not—manage to find something worthwhile to say, year in and year out, about music—which, after all, is why we became audiophiles in the first place.
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Stereophile Staff Posted: Jan 21, 2007 Published: Feb 21, 2006 0 comments
I sat down to write the introduction to the 2006 edition of Stereophile's annual "Records To Die For" extravaganza, and what popped into my head? Why, death, of course. After that, dead rock stars. What a concept. I mean, talk about dying for music.
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Stereophile Staff Posted: Jan 29, 2006 Published: Feb 01, 2005 0 comments
Last year, during a particularly painful moving experience, I had the opportunity to reflect in a very personal way on the virtues of our annual "Records To Die For" feature.
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Stereophile Staff Posted: Jan 16, 2005 Published: Feb 16, 2004 0 comments
It used to be that, when I sat down to write the introduction to Stereophile's ever-popular annual "Records To Die For" feature, it quickly became an exercise in racking my meager brain for jokes about "dying for" records. But being funny, in print or otherwise, is tremendously difficult. I'm sure Groucho had a much more apropos, not to mention funny, quip about the trials of being humorous—but, as with the aforementioned jokes, I can't seem to think of it right now.
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Stereophile Staff Posted: Jan 18, 2004 Published: Feb 01, 2003 0 comments
Once upon a time, when I was a mere sprout in journalism school, there came the moment when everyone had to decide which sort of writing and/or editing he or she wanted to pursue in the workplace of the real world—a harsh reality that was then fast approaching. Most of my fellow students, who ranged in age from 23 to 62, chose one of two paths: murder or scandal.
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Stereophile Staff Posted: Feb 19, 2002 0 comments
Introduction
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Stereophile Staff Posted: Feb 20, 2001 0 comments
Many years ago, I awoke one Saturday morning to find my girlfriend, with whom I'd had a knock-down, drag-out fight the night before, out on the street in front of our house having an impromptu yard sale. The sale featured my record collection. We broke up. I still have the records.
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Stereophile Staff Posted: Feb 21, 2000 0 comments
February 2000—We are now comfortably past all the millennial hype, which, by New Year's Eve, really had risen to a nauseating fever pitch. But it's hard not to look back to the times, the places, and, most of all, to the faces and personalities that populated the last hundred years.

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