THE NEEDLE AND THE DAMAGE DONE

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THE LP is back!

At least that’s what I keep hearing. Young music fans disappointed by MP3s apparently love the warmer, richer sound of vinyl, and are snapping up platters by the likes of Coldplay, Nine Inch Nails, Madonna, Radiohead and Weezer (Weezer on vinyl? Talk about a music geek’s wet dream.) Amazon.com now has a vinyl-only section, and even Best Buy is testing the waters. And turntables are selling like … well, they’re selling like a nearly dead technology that nerds have made kinda cool again.

Sure, vinyl is still a niche market. Hell, people who pay for music these days are a niche. But some kids who were born after the compact disc took over are finding they prefer the sound of their music on vinyl. They say they like the large artwork and liner notes. They say they enjoy the tactile experience of placing the LP on the turntable and dropping the needle onto the groove. Jee-zus, get out much?

I do agree with them that MP3s sound like crap, but I grew up with vinyl and I ain’t going back. (Here’s my early-’80s linear-tracking Technics turnable, stored away in my basement.)

I don’t miss the pops, the crackles, the hisses and the skips of my favorite records. I don’t miss having to gather my senses long enough to get up off the bed and turn over “Remain In Light.” (And “Sandinista!” required so much flipping, it was practically an aerobics routine.)

I don’t miss the warping or the wiping, or the way the pitch of the music would go up and down if the groove wasn’t centered perfectly on the plastic. And I certainly don’t miss lugging around the milk crates full of albums. All those goddamn milk crates.

To me, compact discs are the best compromise between richer-sounding LPs and portable MP3s. OK, so CDs do sound a bit bright and sterile. And you can’t do blow off an MP3. But if records are so great, let’s commit and bring back the frickin’ Victrola — that way these music nerds can crank it all they want.

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4 Responses to “THE NEEDLE AND THE DAMAGE DONE”

  1. Springsteen’s “Born to Run,”. .. .Neil Young’s “Harvest”. . .Hendrix’ “Are You Experienced?”. . a couple of Beatles albums. . .they’ve all been collecting dust in a milk crate in my closet, Adam. . .and now I feel utterly stupid for giving away that old Panasonic component stereo system last year when we moved and bought our house. . .I can only hope this also means the return of KTel Records and their totally awesome compilation albums. . .

  2. Fred Skynyrd Says:

    Shit on vinyl. Bring back the mutha fuckin 8-track!

  3. 45vinyljunkie Says:

    Mmmm, vinyl…my favorite subject. Anybody can buy a CD in a store or download a song off the Internet, but there’s nothing like finding a mint 45 rpm of “Heartbreak Hotel” by Elvis Presley or “Rock Around the Clock” by Bill Haley and His Comets. The reason most old vinyl records sound like crap is because most people never took proper care of them. I have many records more than 50 years old that still sound and look brand new. And if, by chance, you wise up and get the urge to buy vinyl again, get rid of that piece-of-shit Technics turntable and buy a Dual (yep, they’re still making ’em). Mine will be 30 years old next year and still works like a charm.

  4. so why don’t you come take away all your 70/80’s vinyl from my house? I’d love to see them go to their new home -They will be happy to be back again with you. Love ya. mom

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