Music has been a part of my life for a number of years. Thus follows observations learnt during that journey.
The music which is discovered in your youth leaves many lasting impressions. Amongst these can arise the abiding notion that the music you discovered then is the only one of true value and that anything after is pale, manufactured and over-hyped. It is difficult to shift this belief. I look back to the 1960s with great fondness. A time remembered as rich in memories of innovations, vibrancy and colour. The charts seemed alive with gems. LPs & EPs opened up new worlds of excitement. When you are young and usually short of experience this feeling is common. You want to be seen different and ‘wise’ to the ‘new world’. Later years will shave away that optimism, but Music lives on in your head, heart and soul. The opening chords hit you, and you are ‘Back There’. Not that there were not some money-grabbing atrocities, puerile knock-offs, snobbish indulgences or ones that now cause a ‘What was I thinking of,’ wince. Of course, be honest, that is how ‘You’ or I think of them. (I have a whole collection of incendiary opinions from the 1960s & 70s I keep locked up in a bunker in the back of my mind; I don’t mind infuriating the public at large I just don’t want to upset some good friends who might hold those songs dear.)
A brief journey into You Tube comments sections will find the same observations for every decade (or half-decade) since, along with that lamentation about the offering of subsequent eras. And we’re all guilty at some stage of indulging in this. This dyspepsia can often be put down to the mood one is in at the time. Over-blown nostalgia. Simple grumpiness. Or you heard something current which you dislike but can’t get the thing out of your head.
Therefore although the words and the melodies of the celebrations, laments or dismay differ, the theme carries on. Music eternally reaches down into our deepest parts and brings forth emotions, across the whole spectrum even into the seemingly irrational devotion or dislike of the song. Music knows no boundaries, it defies all your other norms. Take these examples: The ‘right’ song and the most sober person is suddenly in their mind ‘there’ in the mosh pit, even living it out with a few good friends in private. They are conducting the orchestra in a soaring classic work. Playing a country ‘air’ guitar and lamenting lost love. And all the myriad styles (pick up your hair brush or air guitar and let rip no one is looking) .
Yes there are terrible songs, to you and me anyway, there are styles which grate you, and me. There are purveyors and artists we do not care for. There are songs we thought we still loved, but memories are mischievous pixies and when we actually listen to them again, we realise we only have the memories of how the music sounded ‘then’.
Know this though and know it well. There are no bad eras. We, of whichever generation do not have the right to judge what is coming out of another era. There are aspects and trends we can voice comments, even concerns about, as long as we don’t bring White Privileged Tailored Religion, or My Excuse To Be Vile Because of My… to the debate. We do not have to be part of everything, we should not try. Our individual complex composite characters* will not fit into everything, anyhow and anyway. We can say but one thing using whatever vernacular fits us. With reference to my 1960s youth I chose.
‘Sorry man. This an’t my scene man. And that’s the bag I’m in. You keep on keeping on though,’
*individual complex composite characters – ICCCs- Remember you read it here first……No copyright applies……