I’m now old enough that I don’t really pay attention to popular music anymore. I don’t particularly dislike it – I mean, 90% of music these days is banal pap, but when was that ever not the case? – and I still do buy the occasional single or album when an artist manages to penetrate the miasma of my cultural ignorance and prove to be sufficiently catchy.
…kind of a small penis rule for music…
My musical tastes have always been fairly middlebrow: I’m not a fan of Nickelback, but I don’t hate them*. I paid money for and still regularly listen to “Call Me Maybe”, not because its musical qualities are in any way defensible, but because it targets the pop-loving segments of my lizard brain with a sniper’s precision, making it ideal fodder for piping into my headphones to drown out the voices. (Not voices in my head – just all of your voices. If you’d shut the fuck up once in a while…)
Life Tip! I’m also old enough that I no longer give a fraction of a fuck if anyone tries to give me shit for my musical preferences, but if you’re ever worried that someone will hassle you for one of your guilty pleasures, just hum a little bit of it (not the chorus) without mentioning its name – that way, people can’t give you shit for liking the song without admitting that they know it well enough to quote its lyrics. It’s kind of a small penis rule for music:
“…can’t sleep at night when you are on my mind, Bobby Womack on the radio, singin’ to me ‘if you think you’re lonely now’…”**
“Jesus fuck – are you singing a Mariah Carey song?”
“Yes – one that you were able to identify from a five-second snatch of its lyrics…”
“… As you were.”
“…wait a minute this is too deep…”
Obviously things become heightened once nostalgia comes into play. I doubt I’d ever describe myself as a person who buys “Hold On” by Wilson Phillips – not because I wanted to, but because I felt I had to – yet here we are. I got a new iPod last Christmas, and after copying all my songs over, started coming across all the crap I’d deleted off the old one:
“Hey, I’d forgotten about this one – I haven’t listened to it in ages. … Aaand that’s why. *Delete*”
The other day I seriously considered buying a couple of cheap Best of 80s and Best of 90s CDs – they were almost entirely shit, and the songs that weren’t I already own. But nostalgia! It’s not even sufficient to like a song – just recognising it is enough to tempt me.
Being able to download and listen to any song I might think of at a moment’s notice ends up being detrimental to nostalgia, though – the experience of going “wow, this takes me back…” becomes rarer and rarer.
I can say without a word of a lie that I am now nostalgic for the feeling of nostalgia. It’s even bets as to whether the all-consuming implosion that is destined to destroy the world will be generated by the Large Hadron Collider or my recursive sense of introspection.
*I liked reading reviews of their last concert here, which all seemed to begin “obviously I hate Nickelback, but I wanted to see what the fuss was about…”
**It probably goes without saying that I just typed that out from memory.