Yet Another Rant
Just as I start to think that I’m too jaded to be really and pleasantly affected by new music a band or an album comes along that restores my faith. I am now in my 4th decade of collecting music and it’s getting harder to be blown away by the new stuff, but thank God it’s still possible. This year has definitely been a great one for me as far as new stuff goes. Right now the band that has my full attention is Here We Go Magic. I won’t go into the particulars as I have plans to do a full review later.
Back to that age thing now. I was curious as to whether or not other 40-somethings were having the same difficulties as I was, so I typed “How does aging affect music tastes?” into google and was pleasantly surprised, and sometimes disturbed, by some of the results. The most disturbing of all theories was that a few folks out there had “outgrown pop music” and had moved on to more “challenging” genres like jazz fusion and classical. I have nothing against classical, and nothing against jazz. Jazz fusion, however, is what the devil plays when he’s sodomizing Liberace in Hell.
Another theory on why us middle aged music obsessive idiots search like crazy (still!) for that perfect album is that we are trying to find the same favorite albums and sounds from our youth, albeit modernized. Kind of confusing, but in a weird way it makes a lot of sense. The majority of the results from my question all hearken back to what one was listening to in high school. What you were listening to in high school will remain your favorite. Favorite genre, favorite bands, favorite albums, favorite songs. For me, generally, that is and isn’t true. Yes, I still listen to a ton of old favorites from that era (‘80’s). But I have favorites from the ‘90’s, the ‘00’s and the 10’s. Yes, it is also true that if I sat down and made a graph based on the total amount of albums per decade (from the 50’s up) it would appear as something of a bell curve, starting small, peaking in the ‘80’s and ‘90’s, then veering downward from there.
Thanks to the internet I feel that I’ve pretty much caught up on all that music from the ‘60’s and ‘70’s that I missed out on because I was too young to be buying records at the time. I’ve picked it over pretty good and found some really cool stuff in the process, although I still discover about 1-3 new ones each year. The ‘80’s and ‘90’s, well, I lived it so I think I’ve got those two decades covered as well. I am still discovering bands and albums from the ‘00’s and up, though, which is a good thing.
So that’s me. Here are some other missives on the subject from around the interweb:
“I was born in 1970. As much as I love me some ’80s music, the nostalgic soundtrack of my Breakfast Club years, I would be bored to tears if that’s all I ever listened to. It’s a joy to constantly discover new music and artists, so I find it anywhere and everywhere.”
“As we mature, music becomes even more social, and we learn to be more discriminating. We get jobs, earn income and are forced to start making buying decisions ourselves, with our own money, which orients our tastes sharply .. we will not pay money for X but we will for Y. Later, in college, we start going to concerts and now the monetary outlay is considerably more, but instead of a CD (or a collection of MP3s), we are paying for an experience.. a night out with friends to see a particular band or artist perform. Our ability to pick and choose between music we like and music we don’t is honed, and our consumption of music is largely social, where we go to concerts, clubs and parties, and less dependent on radio stations and other media channels to guide our preferences .. we have our friends sharing with us, and are collecting experiences with them to better tune our taste in music.”
“Most people continue to listen to whatever they listened to in high school / college / the time they began to form their adult identity. Mixed with material related to those bands / their genre(s) that formed their conceptualization of “good music” vs. “bad music”. If someone were listening to country back in high school, they’re probably still listening to country. If someone were listening to Tupac back in high school, they probably still play his music somewhat frequently.”
“I have a serious, serious music addiction and I’m continually looking to hear something new. There almost always seems to be some new, great thing to occupy my attention when the previous great thing has become less of a novelty. That said, I still like most of the things that I liked in high school – for example – but I just rarely, if ever, listen to anything from back then.”