Friday, March 24, 2006

Keeping up with what's current in music 

I remember from my childhood an image of old guys in the barbershop listening to big band radio, as if nothing had happened musically in the world since WWII. I even remember my own Mom, whose taste got locked down somewhere between the feel-good fifties and the easy-listening part of the 60's, tossing in a little Journey to prove she was still "with it" just because she'd heard Steve Perry was a classically trained vocalist.

The strange thing is, even though I'm in my early forties now, I don't see the same calcification happening in my own musical preferences. While I still love my golden oldies, like Metallica and Alanis Morissette, I manage to stay somewhat current, and haven't reached the point where I dismiss new songs out of hand just because they're new and no longer made like they used to. Maybe I'm blind to my own bias, but I can imagine myself down the road a few decades, hanging out in my nursing home, watching MTV and thinking that, you know, a lot of this new stuff isn't half bad.

My own preference for keeping up with pop music might be explained by my immigrant status, missing a little bit of the old comfortable home, even if it has changed a bit since I left it. I don't keep up at all with modern Israeli music -- that just isn't comfort for me. The problem with this is I'll probably end up in that nursing home, trying to watch MTV, and all the old Hebrew-speaking fogies incarcerated along with me will be hollering for their Israeli oldies, like Aviv Geffen or Subliminal. I sure hope they develop hearing aids with built-in IPods by then; I'm going to need 'em. But they'll probably even have Eye-pods by then, so I probably don't have to worry.

Before I turn you loose and finish getting ready for Shabbat, I'm going to make one last speculation. I'm going to guess that most of the people of my generation and younger -- people in their early 40s or less -- will in general be more current with recent trends in music, even in their old age, than what has historically been expected.

Of course there are exceptions, but I get the impression that the 60's never ended for many people a few years older than me. But when the 70s rolled over into the 80s and then the 90s and so on, I think much of my generation rolled along with it.

Technology and modern marketing make exposure to new music more pervasive than ever. And the pace of change for so many things, from computers to cell phones, has trained new generations to expect and embrace the new.

What do you think? Do you expect to end up in your old age, tapping your toes to Frank Sinatra? Or will you be listening to -- well, I haven't the foggiest idea what they'll have to be doing in 30 years to seem new, but whatever that is.

If you really, really liked this -- or even really, really hated it -- there's lots more: