14 Jun 2013

Music, and how we relate to it

As you may know, I listen to a lot of music, and as someone who listens to a lot of music, I think a lot about the kinds of music I listen to. As I've grown older, my music taste hasn't really changed, and even though I've explored and listened to some new stuff, I am increasingly finding myself completely unphased by "new" bands. I have a bunch of favourite bands that make up my normal listening, and these bands are punctuated by the occasional exploration of some random acts, but in the end, I always end up in my safe place. In my familiar zone, if you will.

This got me thinking, is it because most new music is shit (a completely feasible point of view if you asked me three years ago) or is it perhaps because I am getting older? My answer to this question is what got me writing this post you see, it's because I am getting older. 

A really great example is Brand New. I feel like I went through the first-love heartache with Jesse Lacey (Deja Entendu), followed by the first serious girlfriend and the disintegration of whatever the fuck that turned out to be on The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me. Once Jesse and I got over the stupid women we were involved with as younger men, we both obviously found love and started hating other, more worldly things, as can be heard very clearly on Daisy. 

That really is the way I see it. I get it now, I get when my dad used to tell me "you kids and your music", and "when you're older, you'll understand." I do understand, I understand that ageing with a band obviously means that you will be ageing with the material and their inspirations as well, but as you grow with some bands, you will distance yourself from others. 

It's not a case of older music being better, see the new Queens of the Stone Age if you want proof that rock and roll is far from dead, it's just a case of being able to relate to it. That bond is the result of your age and the age of the musician whose music you're listening to being similar. It makes sense that you would identify to music made by someone at a similar stage in their life, rather than with someone who is 10 years your junior and still hasn't had his heart ripped out through his face by a first, or young, love. 

I am not saying you should avoid all bands of which the members are younger, or older, that you are, at all. What I am saying is that if you go and look at your favourite artists of all time, you will likely find some similarities between their stories and yours. 

I think that's how we choose our favourite bands, and the fact that I believe it doesn't have that much to do with the actual music might make me sound a tad nuts, but you know me better than that.



  1. I love early Guns & Roses but don't relate at all to Axl Rose, at all. He's a douchebag. Most of the music I listen to features band members either born long before me or who are now dead. I'm also "older" now (altho, if you understand where I'm coming from, all arguments that are based on age are meaningless, as age is totally relative to how old you are (disclaimer: IMO).

    My take on music (and why most of the newer stuff is "shit") is that music is directly proportionate to how you relate to it. If you're a musician, for instance, you listen out for originality, composition, complexity, etc. As a greedy capitalist pig, you watch out how it's packaged and marketed, how it appeals to a majority. Or if you're "cool", you choose music that your peers approve of.

    But I reckon that to most people, music is associated with an experience. Where you went on holiday, who you were with, lyrics that spoke to you in a time of trauma or joy. That track you heard played at that older guys house in 19?? when you were 12 and impressionable and smoked your first joint… whatever. I find that every album in my collection has a connection to some experience in my life. It brings an emotion when we hear it. It has become part of us, our make up, and it's usually why we relate to it so much, and become so passionate in defending it to others. It's truly become a part of us.

    And that is why it's so difficult for us to just "accept new music", because you can't just put something on and it's "love at first sight". Because real love doesn't work that way. Sure I've been obsessed with some tracks recently, played it (read: fucked it) "to death" and now it just sits there, used and worn out. Nothing much to it, but if there was an emotional link, something that' associated to it, suddenly it gets character and longevity. It's why when you hear that god-awful 80's song that you hated so much at the time it suddenly makes you smile and reflect, in whatever way, to that time, that place, that sound.

    Music has character, like a good friend. New music is like a stranger who may look interesting, beautiful, quirky, but is yet to be befriended.

    (TL;DR Treat music like people)

    1. A comment putting what I tried to say into perspective better than I did. Nice one. haha.