Still years, after all this crazy

I’m still ageing. And I’m still wondering what’s going on with regard to music. Specifically how I interact with it. How we do. Whats going on?

I was thinking yesterday about when we would listen to music when we were younger. Remember hanging out with your friends, before everyone had careers and children? You’d just pop round, sit in the kitchen and chat while having some lunch, or trying some skateboard tricks, or reading Kerrang! magazine.

And while we did those things, we’d put on a tape or a CD. And that was how we listened to things, and got into albums. Even stuff I didn’t particularly care about – the first Millencolin and Mr Bungle albums. All the bands that sound like Bad Religion. Anything by Ben Harper or Primus. They weren’t anywhere near my albums of the year in, well, any year. But I knew – and know – them as well as any of my recent favourite albums of the year.

We’d just put that tape on, and it would osmose into our consciousness. Nowadays, if I do get together with my friends, and we don’t happen to be out, we end up talking about our lives, but with no music in the background! Or if you’re just hanging out, there is so much more on TV – and more easily accessible – that I think we opt for that. In 1997 while there was Sky and cable, quite often my friends would have five channels. Especially during the day, there would be nothing on. So, once we were bored with Mallrats or skate videos, we would listen to music.

Of course, we can listen to music now. More easily than ever before, in fact. But is that ease of access part of the problem? You’d either listen to the one album you could afford to buy that week (or month), or else whatever you managed to tape off your friends, if you had a blank tape to hand.

Now you can listen to anything on YouTube, or Spotify or your NAS drive. So what do you pick? That leads you to the meta-question that I still really need to address (in a future post): what is there?

You know, it’s the standard question that any ageing person has asked (including Seymour Skinner), that of whether I am out of the loop of is music just not as good as it was? And if it’s not, why not? Rock is pretty much dead, as a concern that is developing and growing. So any rock that does happen now is inherently retrogressive. Hip Hop, techno and pop all seem to have homogenised into one auto-tuned procession of club beats that has for a few years reached the pomp and bombast of the worst excesses of mid-70s rock, but while assimilating and consuming any punk equivalents rather than those overcoming it. But like I say, that needs really thinking through.

This post is mainly about the method of delivery, of the paradoxical combination of not having the chance to have music on in the background and having too much music to choose from at any point in time. I guess that also feeds into the surfeit of anything new. We used to crave the new because the old was in the past. But now, AC/DC, Nirvana and Led Zeppelin are as relevant as any current music. Even though they themselves were arguably from different generations.

Anyway, that’s that for now.

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