My eighteen-year-old son is hooked on playing albums on my old turntable. Two months ago, he stumbled on it in the basement, dusted it off, and pulled out some old albums. Deep 60s and 70s stuff – the White Album, Tommy, Aqualung, and um…T Rex.

Now he’s all over it. He just bought his first album last weekend. A recent release. Brand new and shrink wrapped.

This has me thinking: In this day and age of everything digital and online, what is it about vinyl albums that appeals to my son? So, I asked him.

“Vinyl is not disposable,” he explained to me. “It’s not digital bits bouncing around in a machine. It’s real. You hold it. It slows things down. You don’t skip around, so you listen to songs you wouldn’t on an iPod. It’s a different feeling.”

Real. Different. Feeling. Hmmm, maybe we’re on to something here.

According to an article in Forbes Magazine published January 18, 2012, vinyl is making a comeback. Sales of LPs have been increasing for four years in a row, with 3.9 million sold in 2011, up 40% over 2010. The article attributes this appeal to “a combination of tangibility, nostalgia and sound quality.”

Brands should sit up and pay attention. Everyone loves technology and everything is going that way. But it desensitizes us. Successful brands evoke emotion. So let’s find ways to do that.  Let’s help people feel something inside when they use our products and services.

Nostalgia leads us back to the good ol’ days when life was better, less stressful, more fun, and carefree. Nostalgic brands help consumers fulfill a need to remember – and to belong.

Now that’s evoking emotions.

David Shebiro, the owner of Rebel Rebel Records in Manhattan, shared an interesting take with Forbes Magazine: “There used to be this anticipation when you bought a record,” he said. “You’d take it back with you on the subway and rip open the packaging, and you couldn’t wait to get home and play it. That magic of anticipation has gone with downloading.”

So now my son sits on his bed listening to his albums, reading the album inserts. “This is probably what you guys used to do when you listened to music,” he said. “I like it.”

And that made me feel good – kind of nostalgic, actually.