Tuesday, October 20, 2015

What Goes Around

“Tell me a story about the old days,” my nephew Ben will ask me. So I tell him about ancient times, before the Internet was invented, when people used to read books and newspapers for information.

“Tell me another one,” he asks. So I tell him about the telephone before cellular phones were introduced. We had a rotary dial phone that used to hang on the kitchen wall and Grandma Phyllis would only make long distance calls on Saturday because they were really, really expensive. Grandpa Alan was excited to own one of the first telephone answering machines because in pre-historic times if you weren’t home when someone called you on the telephone, they had to call you back later. Ben is absorbed.

“Anything else?” he asks. So I start to tell him about how his Dad and I used to listen to music on records. My favorite album was the movie soundtrack, Saturday Night Fever by the Bee Gees. It was a double album and I saved up my baby sitting money to buy it.

“But wait, Aunt Nancy,” my nephew cries out, “I know what records are!”

That’s right, people. In case you didn’t get the memo, vinyl is back. Although my husband’s beloved Tower Records is long gone, you can go to Barnes & Noble and buy records again (they’re located next to that other antiquated section—books made of paper).

Audiophiles can’t agree if the listening experience of a record is superior to that a computer-generated MP3 file, but there’s no argument with statistics. Vinyl records are a burgeoning industry again. What’s even more interesting to me is that vinyl records are being embraced by younger artists, such as Taylor Swift, alongside traditional recording stars such as Bob Dylan.

Some say it’s a love for nostalgia, or retromania, others claim to embrace the warm and fuzzy sounds or the immersive feelings that an album creates. According to music commentator, Simon Reynolds, in an article in Newsweek magazine, “…collecting is actually an intrinsic part of the vinyl record’s allure. An LP is an object and one that comes with a certain ‘ritual’ behavior, from the opening of the sleeve and the gentle handling of the disc, to the aesthetic qualities of the cover and the inner sleeve designs with its artwork (often considered to be art and diminished on the smaller CD case) and printed lyrics.”

My husband and I haven’t dug our record player out of the basement yet, but maybe I’ll go downstairs and see if I can find my old Bee Gees’ albums… and my leg warmers. Because everything old is new again.

How about you? Have you bought any “new vinyl” lately? Or did you never give it up? What was the first album, (tape, CD, MP3 file) that you bought?

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