Vancouver youth have found an even cooler way to listen to music
By Chandler Walter, Contributor
It seems that vinyl albums are seeing a steady decline in use for the second time in the past 50 years. What were once deemed “vintage” and “old school” by the 20-somethings of Vancouver’s music scene are now being edged out (once again) by the rising popularity of cassette tapes.
“Yeah, vinyl records are just so cliché nowadays,” a beanie-clad Owen Johnstone told us in what appeared to be a coffee shop/bookstore in the heart of downtown. We had seen him sporting a Walkman cassette player while smoking an e-cigarette outside the café, so we asked him to explain.
“You know, everyone’s out there listening to vinyl records. They’ve lost their nostalgic value. The record stores are jam-packed full of kids who don’t even know what rock and roll was really all about,” Johnstone, 19, said.
“It’s like: okay, sure, records are “classy” and whatever, but it just ain’t me. I’m not going to conform to that fad.”
When asked what he preferred about cassettes to the usual iPod found in the pockets of music-savvy youth, Johnstone coughed out his vapour.
“That technology is for suckers who wanna buy into the corporations and government tracking devices. I say hell no. Besides, the purest form of music is heard off of cassettes. Grainy. Unfiltered.”
When asked what corporations he was referring to, Johnstone declined to comment.
It appears this is a growing phenomenon, though no one partaking would like to acknowledge its popularity. A young woman, who appeared to be dressed as a promiscuous lumberjack, stormed out of our interview upon learning someone else (Johnstone, who was still “smoking” across the street at the time) had also been listening to cassette tapes.
How this new craze will shape the music industry is yet to be determined, though its influence can already be seen in other media. We talked to Jessica Robson who has recently begun watching movies exclusively on VHS.
“What? No! I’m not trying to be a hipster; I just like watching old Disney movies sometimes. I’m serious. This isn’t some protest against the film industry or anything, I just don’t have Mulan on DVD.”
As seen with Robson, many of these hip youngsters (or “hipsters”) are in complete denial of what they are, and the motives that have them setting such trends. The fact that determining the general “coolness” of things has been left to the efforts of such a confused bunch is rather frightening.
With cassette sales on the rise, this reporter just hopes that his first-generation iPod Nano will hold out long enough until it also becomes “cool” once more.