Why does everyone love the crackle sound of dust/dirt on old records when it's used in songs? And does its appearance in a song guarantee a hit?
The sound has been around since records and record players first melded into music, and songs past and current have used it intentionally. Yet when CD's first came out, so many commented, "Wow! There's no annoying crackling noise! There are no skips! This is great!" I initially believed that a cleaner sound was better, but I must have missed something: my brother and I would jump on the floor as hard as we could until we actually made the CD skip. Then we'd laugh with maniacal glee.
Scratched, dusty records sound warm, comfortable, nostalgic. Like we're all back in our rooms when we were eight years old, listening to 45's on a little turntable that had a lunch-box-type latch holding its top closed. Proudly carrying the portable player, with barely a speaker, in one hand over to a friend's. In the other hand clutching the precious Tote45, almost packed to the top with hit singles and an occasional inspired B-side. We had just listened to "Nadia's Theme" (which remains the theme for CBS soap opera The Young and the Restless) or "You Don't Have to Be a Star, Baby (To Be in my Show)" by Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr. fifty times.
In a row.
No wonder our records were all worn and crackly.
So were our voices after our empassioned, imagined studio sessions.
Some tunes utilizing what I'm dubbing the "Crackle Effect" ("CE" for short):
- "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley
- "Rich Girl" by Hall & Oates
- "Video Killed the Radio Star" by Buggles