I played my record player this weekend.
You read that right – my record player. That’s the apparatus made up of a turntable that spins around and around. You place a vinyl “record” on it, put the stylus into the grooves of the record and, voila, out comes sound.
I define record player for my younger readers – if I have any – because I’ve learned that Boomer Talk is different from Millennial Talk.
Say this to somebody under 40: “I ‘crashed’ last night after I dumped my ‘threads’ and went ‘streaking.’”
I promise you, unless they’re a Jeopardy fan full of useless knowledge, Millennials would never suspect that “threads” described the clothes Boomers wore, “streaking” meant we were running naked through a crowd, and “crash” meant we went to somebody’s apartment to sleep after a night of partying.
Back to my newly purchased record player.
I hadn’t thought about “records” in ages until I saw an online story from a British blog I read called “Classic FM.” This headline caught my eye: “The vinyl revival: why millennials are going nuts for LPs.”
We’ve got a trunkload of “vinyl” in the storage unit. Albums we purchased when we were much, much, much younger, but no place to play them.
Wouldn’t you know? A Penney’s add popped up on our Facebook page advertising a “Victrola Wood 8-in-1 Nostalgic Bluetooth Record Player with USB Encoding and 3-speed Turntable.”
How does Facebook know these things?
We were intrigued. The customer reviews were exceptional. The price was right. We were hooked.
A week later, the Victrola box appeared at our front door. It was everything Facebook said it would be. There’s an AM/FM radio that picks up radio stations from Beaumont. I’m not sure why we’d want to listen to an AM station from Beaumont, but it’s nice to know we could. It plays CDs and cassettes, too.
We pulled out the first record from the trunk and began “grooving” (that’s a Boomer term, too) to “Here Comes the Sun” from the Beatles “Abbey Road” album. Then we sampled “Hair,” not the movie, but the original Broadway cast album.
That was just the beginning.
I found a three-record set of The Temptations from 1978. Underneath that was a Three Dog Night album. And when in the world did one of us purchase a Village People album?
All those customer reviews are genuine, too. It’s tough to describe how much better the music sounds out of our new Victrola box. It’s, well, clearer. Even with my Baby Boomer ears (too many younger-day rock concerts), the music sounds wonderful.
It doesn’t seem to be a passing phase either. Billboard says 14 million vinyl records were sold in the U.S. last year, the highest number since 1991.
Okay, maybe it’s the nostalgia factor: combing through all those old record albums, each with a special story and then reading the liner notes (that’s the copy that appears on the back of the album you’re listening to) while you play the record.
I can’t remember the last time I was even remotely trendy, but the Yamaha Music Blog says vinyl has a “cool factor” with young folks because nearly half of all current vinyl record buyers are under age 25. Repackaging old albums and calling them retro, the article says, makes vinyl attractive to trendsetters and trend chasers.
Who would have thought, as I advance into old age, I’m cool again? That’s groovy.