Crossing the Musical Finish Line

Lately, I’ve been thinking more and more about the music I listen to. Since I was a teenager in the 90s, I’ve always been trying out new bands and artists, discovering new music, and having a real connection to my music. However, in the last few years I feel I’ve lost that connection a bit, and I really only listen to music that I have already discovered. New bands don’t seem as good as the ones from the 90s and 00s, and I mostly disregard them. I’ll occasionally like certain new songs, but it’s not the same intense interest in music I had in my teens and twenties.

It’s made me think I’ve passed that age where one’s musical tastes become fixed. I see it usually happening around the age of 30, and after that one tends to only listen to the bands and artists they grew up with before that time. Most new music they listen to is just new songs and albums from those old artists and they don’t seek out and form deep connections to new artists. Ask almost anyone past the age of 30 about their absolute favorite music and I’d be shocked if they mention any artists who emerged in the past few years.

The interesting thing is that younger generations will still listen to older music, but it’s exceedingly rare for it to go in the opposite direction. For example, I love a lot of music from my parents generation, such as The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and Bob Dylan. However, my parents love absolutely none of the music from my generation, such as Weezer, Blur, or Radiohead. It seems people are open to all the music that was ever produced before they hit 30, but after that, their mind closes to most future music. They might listen to and enjoy some songs, but it will never top the music they listened to when they were younger.

I guess in some ways this is because in those formative years of our teens and twenties, we are experiencing so much for the first time. All those new emotions and experiences imprints that music onto us. We remember the song we listened to after coming home from our first date, or the album that we played over and over again after a heart wrenching breakup. Our experiences in those years seems so much more powerful, because they were new, and the music we were listening to was new to us. It’s a potent mixture that binds us so closely with that music.

Then we get older and have experienced more and been through all those emotions many times. Thus, when we listen to new music, it doesn’t have the power that the older music did. Our lives get more boring in a sense, and this new music can’t imprint itself on us the same way. We get content to stick with the old music that we already have the emotional association with and ignore the “young people’s” music.

I personally wish this wasn’t the way things were, and I try to stay up on more current artists, but it’s a losing battle. I could listen to an amazing album from a brand new artist, and it just can’t beat the emotions I feel from listening to certain albums I grew up on. That’s the curse of getting older, you slowly begin to live more and more in the past, and are open to less and less new things, in all areas of life, not merely music. I’m not even that old and this has already begun to happen.

Oh well, just give me some coffee and TV.