I admit that I am an old fashioned Broadway showtune lover. I almost always opt to put on my cast recordings of Finian's Rainbow, Carousel, Hello, Dolly! or Camelot long before I am tempted by the scores of Rent, Spring Awakening, Grey Gardens, or Matilda. It's not that I don't find things to appreciate in the latter group. I do. They are all wonderful in their own ways. I think it has to do with nostalgia or a sound I associate with "days gone by." For me, there is still nothing better than playing a scratchy record album of a Broadway show and experiencing that tinny sound of the old recording styles.
I am sure I am an the exception these days, in a world with high definition sound and advanced technologies that not only improve sound quality, but can also adjust mistakes (such as flat notes) and other imperfections. True, this state of the art magic makes a case for showtune listening like we have never experienced. Heck, we have sound technologies that can make non-singers sound like singers. It's a manufactured sound, but I guess, for some people, this is better.
I want to make a case for the old. There is a raw, almost spontaneous sound in the cast recordings of the days of yore. There is something comforting in hearing the sound of a turntable "wooshing" in circles. That occasional crackle of the needle on the vinyl is something akin to a warm fire. The sound seems to spill out with an slight reverberation, almost as if ghostly, magical voices from the past are speaking to us. The reverence with which I listen to these albums, and the hypnotic trance they put me in, create a private little church for me where I am transformed by the heavenly hymns of Rodgers and Hammerstein, Lerner and Loewe, Burton Lane, Jule Styne, Jerry Herman, The Gershwins, Kurt Weill, and Cole Porter.
So call me "old fashioned" or a "relic of the past", but for me, these records are where the magic started. They are like time machines that are guaranteed to carry you back to someplace safe, someplace wonderful. The warm wave of nostalgia that washes over me from these antique sounds somehow subtract some of the negativity in the world. This is the timeless magic of the "old-fashioned." I'll take it.