Monday, January 11, 2016

Most people think the music they grew up with was the best

I became interested in popular music sometime in 1982, as I recall. It was a bit of a strange time to be getting into music since we as a society were still holding on to the last vestiges of what passed for rock in the late 70s and very early 80s, and we were just starting to get into the New Wave stuff that I liked.

Then came 1983, which I still consider to be the greatest year for music in my lifetime. Michael Jackson's "Thriller" came out that year and is still the highest-selling album of all time, but '83 also saw The Police's "Synchronicity," Men at Work's "Cargo," Def Leppard's "Pyromania," and a host of others that I convinced my mom to drive me to the mall so I could buy.

And of course I bought them on cassette. That was the medium of choice at the time. I also bought a lot of 45 RPM records. Kids, ask your parents what those were.

Anyway, the point is that, to me, that music was wonderful. It had melody, it had style, and I still listen to it. But to others, the early to mid-80s were probably a terrible time for music, either because they had come of age in the 60s or 70s (or earlier), or because they were too young at the time to appreciate it.

Not for a second would I claim that "my" music  or anyone else's  is the "best" music ever. The Beatles are great. I love them. But there are other artists whose music I enjoy just as much. I like a lot of the modern stuff my kids listen to now. And my car is always stocked with classical music CDs, because I have a long drive to work and nothing occupies it better than a Beethoven symphony, you know?

Some music we like because we connect it to a specific period in our lives. But for the most part, I like a piece of music simply because it's enjoyable. Because it moves me. Because I like the experience of listening to it. Doesn't matter if it came out in the 1950s or the 2010s or the 16th century, because I enjoy what I enjoy.

So you'll excuse me if I cringe the next time one of the old fogeys of my generation or earlier says, "This crap today is horrible! Our music was the best!" Or better yet, I'm going to hit them over the head with their own cane. That should teach them.

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