Tell the truth: Do you really listen to albums on vinyl?

I know it's retro-cool to have a turntable for your favorite classic albums. But honestly -- isn't it really kind of a pain?

January 28, 2019
Vinyl record on a turntable

© Darius Strazdas | Dreamstime.com

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My brother Jim, who lives in Michigan, texted me some pictures the other day -- pictures of classic 1970s album covers from our childhood. Elton John's Honky Chateau album, Beatles, James Taylor, America. For his birthday, he'd received some new/old vinyl records to play on his turntable. He's a sentimental guy, and like all of us, I know he has great memories around that music from his formative years. 

And while I admit I, too, get a little nostalgic when I hear that telltale crackle in the speakers that means somebody's playing a vinyl record, I can only take so much of the warm fuzzies before I wonder "why bother?" I mean, once you hear "Rocket Man" on Honky Chateau, you're at the end of Side One. Which means after just five songs, you have to get up, walk over to the turntable, flip the record over, and listen to the next five songs on Side Two. And this is assuming you actually like all five songs on each side of the album. If you feel like skipping "I Think I'm Going to Kill Myself" (SIde One, Track Three) that's another trip over to the turntable to lift the needle and drop it at the beginning of the next song. I feel as if all the progress we've made in music tech since the 1970s has rendered all that getting up and getting down unnecessary. We don't have TVs with channel knobs on the front anymore, even though they were part of our childhoods. We don't stick with a rotary-dial phone tethered to the wall by a cord, even though I love those viral videos where Millenials try to figure out how to place a call on one of those antiques.

The advent of the compact disc, which made music crisp and clear and allowed us to listen to 15 or 20 songs on one disc, and worked via remote control, and was eventually portable thanks to the Discman, was a big enough breakthrough. Then came the iPod -- remember how amazing we thought it was to carry 10,000 of your favorite songs in your purse or your pocket? And now we pretty much have access to any song ever recorded on our phones  . . . or just by commanding Alexa to play it. The radio.com app lets us do the same thing with our favorite radio station -- we can listen to it wherever we are: jogging around Lake Sammamish with the dog or sipping beach drinks in Maui. I love that!

I love music, and while I do have a little nostalgia for those big black vinyl albums of my youth, I can't imagine a world in which I can't hear any song I want, whenever I want wherever I want, or show off  94.1 The Sound to my relatives all over the country just by pulling out my phone.

Do you disagree? Feel free to write me a letter, put it in an envelope, address it to me (John Fisher, 94.1 The Sound, 800 Fifth Avenue Suite 1400, Seattle, WA 98104), put a stamp on it, and drop it in a mailbox. I love getting letters in the mail!

Or just email me at [email protected]. Much easier!