I was listening to some music the other day (Gary Clark Jr. in case you want to know) and my parents were round for dinner. They looked at me and said, with knowing smiles “This is a racket isn’t it”. They were doing it half joking because, well, they always do that. But, Gary Clark Jr. is basically as close to a modern day bluesman as you are going to get nowadays, and my parents like blues music. So what changed?
They would have been in their teens/twenties right through the sixties, arguably the best musical decade going. They would have been surrounded by The Rolling Stones, Beatles, Bob Dylan, The Who, The Kinks, Small Faces etc, etc. They were, indirectly part of a huge cultural and musical revolution. Into the seventies and they would have been living through Bowie, T-Rex, Marley, Led Zep and hosts of other iconic musical stars. They would have been around the age I am now.
I still seek out new music. I still like new and exciting bands, and that punky, youthful energy that accompanies them. However, for every Titus Andronicus, Royal Headache or Sleigh Bells song that I listen to, I also like something gentle by the likes of Passenger or Bon Iver or Fleet Foxes. Something, basically that my parents would say “this is nice, who is this”?
And is that a sign that, as I get older, I don’t want my ears to be assaulted all the time? That I’m mellowing out? Or I just don’t have the energy to rock out anymore? When I was younger I used to look at the decline in my parents record collection – they would much rather listen to Rod Stewart doing the great American Songbook than they would hear seventies Rod belting songs out with The Faces – and wonder how people who lived through the sixties could listen to such boring, MOR rubbish (they may even have a Celine Dion CD)? Is it because maybe, as your hearing starts to deteriorate your ability to pick out frequencies diminishes meaning, instead of picking up some booming bass, pounding drums and dexterous lead guitar, you just pick up one solid block of noisy mess?
Fast forward ten or so years and despite listening to new bands with tons of energy, I can almost feel my musical tastes mellowing and it is a bit scary I’ll be honest. Will I be listening to Michael Buble in ten years time? That is why, every month I make sure I look out for the new releases to make sure I don’t start to disconnect from the youthful scene and end up in MOR hell.
What about you guys, what do you think makes your musical tastes get worse as you get older? Or have they got better with age? Let me know!
Photo taken from blogs.discovermagazine.com