Sunday, December 10, 2023


A recent New Republic article ponders if we are caring less about music than we had before, and goes on (and on) investigating possible reasons, causes of the maybe make-believe malaise in the culture. Still, it gets you thinking, and in due course I did a minor bit of autobiographical cogitation to find out why I have a nearly nonexistent relationship with most music by younger artists that's been  released in the last ten years. But lets stay away from the Bad Sociology of the issue and hardly mention , if at all, the intrusion of technology into the pleasure dome. Technology always intrudes into the pleasure dome. 

There’s a difference between caring less about music and no longer loving music that provided the soundtrack of your youth. It may be that you’re simply tired of songs and albums that have been overplayed for decades. In that sense, it matters little if I ever hear any Pink Floyd records again, love them though I do. And half of the Led Zeppelin songs can also be consigned to the dustbin. Well, maybe not half, but at least two album sides of tracks I no longer get a thrill from, or songs that were weak to begin with. When you get older, your heroes from yore are no longer bulletproof, considering that by the time I turned 71, I had experienced the situations, loves, traumas, celebrations, and catastrophes our friends Dylan, Cohen, Mitchell, Young et al adroitly crystallized in their tune craft. Many of us in the day sat around dark bedrooms and dens with the lights off, stoned or unstoned, listening to the heaviness of the message and thought we were really learning something about life. Aging, though, is the great equalizer, a very efficient means of changing the status and emotional attachments untested youth had on their record collections. 

Gauged against a few decades of actual lived experience, some songs still resonate, while others pale with revisiting. It helps if you’ve been a music writer and critic, a habit and occasional part-time job I’ve indulged myself in over six decades: the unreasonable standards I bring, standards hardly set in stone, have allowed me to have a private canon I can rely on when mood and manners require an unsullied equivalent of the prevailing zeitgeist. Also, it’s not necessarily a matter of being uninterested in new music artists as such, as it’s simply an issue that new music striving for the love of the masses is written for young people and, damn it, I am no longer young. But I do have a considerable record collection. Let it be said that it’s a wonderful thing when I can add a new and young artist to my collection.”