One day last summer, while showing off his new apartment, my son pointed to his roommate’s impressive crates of albums and said, “Look at all of those vinyls!”
“Don’t you ever say that word again!” my wife and I thundered in mortified parental unison, as if he were a five-year-old who’d just dropped an f-bomb. “They’re records — or albums, or just vinyl. But for the love of God, they’re never, ever ‘vinyls.’”
“Whatever,” he grumbled, as his roommates laughed.
A few weeks later, our teenaged daughter called from a record store. “You’d like it,” she said. “They’ve got cool posters and vinyls.” A similar outburst ensued.
“Whatever,” she grumbled.
The resurgence of vinyl is one of the music world’s most counterintuitive developments. Sales, which have been rising since 2006, soared nearly 30% to $620 million in the U.S. last year as vinyl outsold CDs for the first time since 1986, according to the RIAA — and those sales were largely driven by young people who haven’t grown up with “records.” But they love it for the same reasons older generations do: the warm, analog sound; the big, immersive artwork; the ritual of gently taking out the disc and putting it on a turntable, as if the additional effort — the sense of having to work for it — somehow makes the music more valuable and valued.
But as much as older generations love this trend, one thing they’re attacking with untrammeled get-off-my-lawn fury is the word “vinyls,” which seems specific