There isn’t much that is cool anymore. Old cars are cool. My cousin’s Led Zeppelin jacket from 1979 is cool. A Griffintown hipster on an old-timey bicycle and bow-tie however, isn’t cool; he’s just passing by.

One of these cool things is Vinyl. Vinyl is very in these days. You hear a lot about the market trending toward increased vinyl sales (although the total percentage for the music industry is still negligible), and the supposed superior sound, or “warmth” that it emits. I don’t really care about all that. What I love the most is how cool it is. The best way to illustrate the inexplicable appeal of vinyl, or its coolness, is to observe how children react to it.

My daughter is two and a half, and of all my shit in the house; guitars, books, and countless remote controls, my vinyl stack is the one thing that reels her in each time. She can spend hours just playing with the sleeves, looking at the artwork, removing the records, and just plain have fun with them. That says a lot about the medium; the fact that is transcends age and culture and even language.

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The reason I am thinking about all this relates to a much larger discussion going on in our musical culture these days: The question of what music is worth. Why is owning vinyl cool to some, while paying for music isn’t to others? Why is Youtube the worlds largest concert venue, or more importantly, why is this even a thing? How can the industry be moving away from physical ownership of music while an antiquated technology is enjoying a second life?

I’ve been racking my brain about if for some time, and the only thing I come back to is that these other mediums just aren’t cool. Sure it’s nifty to have your watch tell you that your phone is ringing (seriously, WTF!?), or that you can’t get lost anymore because 18 different devices are telling you to “make a right turn at the next roundabout”, but none of these things are truly cool. At least not in the way that “cool” is meant to be.

The idea that music can be tangible, concrete, I think is what makes vinyl so attractive. More and more, we are separating ourselves from the experience. We do our banking online, no longer worth the trek to the corner branch in hopes of seeing that cute teller. We shop for cars, clothes, even wives and husbands online. And we buy, or illegally download our music on the computer. Sifting through shelves of CDs or LPs is no longer required to find that one record you just have to have because of the amazing artwork on the cover. So we consume the way we shop: with very little investment of time, and dare I say, money.

In 6 months, your smart watch, smart phone, or smart whatever-the-fuck will be obsolete, but the great paradox of this senseless advancement for the sake of advancement, is that one little piece of non-biodegradable plastic will still be around, and more, still be cool. I don’t think the other guys can say the same.

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At the heart of it, I think we all long to own something that someone poured sweat and tears into. No one really worked at getting that download “just right”, but someone certainly did in the recording you are holding in your hands. I’ve released a few records and almost every time, I’ve had to send back the test prints of the record to be reworked. 99% of people wouldn’t hear the difference, but I did, and that in a sense, is the “manufacturer guarantee” in my line of work; that Main Street  mentality in the ever expanding vacuum of this Wall Street industry.

So tonight, before I put my kids to bed, I’m gonna pick up the mess my daughter made. I’ll ask her to help me put back the Sex Pistols, to return JJ Cale to where she found him, to help Muddy Waters back up to his spot among his peers. And then, we might pause along the way, on an enigmatic image of a light beam through a prism, where I will explain to her that the “moon” in the title is just a metaphor, that there isn’t a dark side to music, only light, because light is cool, and so is music, and so is this record.

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About The Author

Andre Papanicolaou
Collaborator - RREVERB

Andre Papanicolaou is a Montreal-based singer/songwriter, producer, touring and session guitarist. Over several years of recording and touring with other artists (Vincent Vallières, Daran, Pascale Picard Band, Patrice Michaud), Papanicolaou began to carry around a notebook and write down a series of essays. He brings to RREVERB a unique point of view: the one of a professional musician.