It is everything that Youtube Premium is not. Namely, it is not digital. Everything about my favorite Christmas present is finite. There is romance in the 22 minutes per side restriction of a 33 that cannot compare to the endless supply of music stored up in well cooled server stations, waiting to be called upon to deliver an un-curtailed buffet of entertainment. Music that lives in “the cloud” is as close as your phone, yet aloof as the moon. It is everywhere, but it is also nowhere.
Vinyl is tactile. It is geographic. It is bound to a place where a disc of plastic meets an unwieldy turntable. It is everything that the younger siblings of the I-phone cannot understand and yet, as a human, instinctively long for. It is the joy of a child who finds greater delight in the meshed gears of a pocket watch than in the magic of numeric pixels on a screen.
An undeniable shiver of delight accompanies the drop of the needle into the grooves of the record. Yes, even a feeling of conquest if the finger of man has moved the needle to drop precisely at a sharper chasm marking the beginning of a different track. Or perhaps the needle will descend down the outer rim, spitting and crackling like a man tumbling down an embankment into some new terrain.
Digital music comes to us sterilized, as if it has been prepped for surgery. Like a thief who is careful to leave no evidence of his presence behind. Vinyl comes to us touched, bent, handled, loved, discarded, and discovered, much like people. The warp of the material knocks the orbit slightly off balance, resulting in a subtle vertical rise and drop like a wave. Does the Creator feel this satisfaction when He gazes at the eccentricity of the earth’s orbit as it changes every one hundred thousand years? Occam’s Razor is for problems, not for pleasure.
It is the limitation of the tactile that enthralls. Our digital age demands the abolition of all boundaries, which means that our digital age demands the abolition of Man. As our digital footprints extend perpetually, we leave no paths for others to follow. As we reach to touch foreign frontiers, we lose our grasp on our families, our friends, and our neighbors. No painting may truly be admired if the canvas is infinite. No song appreciated if it goes on forever. Endless choice has only led to endless anxiety. And boredom. Only boring people are bored.
The re-discovery of vinyl is the epiphany that we are embodied. An epiphany that has been subsumed by suffering, disease, war, mortality, and frustration. To live free of our embodiment is the longed for Utopia of a race held captive to death and deprivation. Like all man-made Utopia’s, the price is often humanity itself. We may live forever in splendor if we are willing to surrender that which makes us human.
This dilemma can only be resolved by the infinite becoming finite. Love, joy, peace, and glory must be Incarnate before they can be appreciated. The vastness of God would drive us mad while His absence would render us meaningless. The hands that scoop out the oceans and fling the stars into dancing galaxies must be riven with nails before we can appreciate them. The Mind behind the cosmos must speak in parables, aphorisms, hyperbole, and sermonic melody before we can hear Him. Love must bleed before we can comprehend it. Touch it. Embrace it.
I could go on, but my time is up.