Monday, August 24, 2009

Because I just like records

Pop Matters had a nice piece on the resurgence of vinyl this past Friday. Sometimes I wonder why, seeing as I’ve been obsessed with music most of my life, I ever stopped being interested in good ol’ fashioned LPs. But that gap exists because by the time I was old enough to troll indie record stores, I could no longer relate to the format. Author Michael Brett’s description of mid-90’s vinyl fans sums up my feeling exactly:


The vinyl addicts fell into two distinct stereotypes. One was the blindly dressed Boomer desperately seeking the rare bootleg of Dylan making a ham sandwich. The other was the elitist aesthete who shopped at Vintage Vinyl in Evanston, Illinois, and paid more for his stereo cables than I’d ever earned in a week. I disliked both. There was too much fixation on the material, not on the music.


The article does have some cynical overtones that I think are a little misguided. The main issue being his feeling that today’s record collecting will see the same eventual collapse of comic books and baseball cards. At least for the people I know who have enbraced the return of the LP as music’s dominant physical format, the idea of record-collecting-as-investment-opportunity doesn’t play a part. Yes, some people ar going to totally geek out and overpay for “collectors editions” of various releases, but for most people it’s just about the music and collecting for the love of it. Am I just in the dark and people are buying two of every Merge release – one for playing and one for eventual appreciation?


Now, his warning that hipsters will eventually lose interest in buying records has some merit. I’m sure there are plenty of trend-hoppers who would switch to MP3 embedded neon hot pants should Dan Deacon tell them to do it, and a lock-step switch from spending money on records to spending money on “Tune Pants” (as I predict they’ll be called) could threaten to pop the vinyl bubble. But some of us will stick to vinyl. I don’t care how many American Apparel exclusive Tune Pants releases I have to miss out on – I am too old for hot pants and Dan Deacon isn’t the boss of me.

1 comment:

Rip Roarin said...

Thanks for the shout out. I'm working on the cynicism. Always working.

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