Apparently, the vast majority of people stop listening to new music when they hit the age of 24. They find all the music they will ever like and stop experimenting. Where did I go wrong/right?
In reality, I was once proof that this was true. By age 24, all I needed was Steely Dan, the Doobie Brothers, Montrose, Little Feat and various other types of American rock music. By the time, I was 44, things had barely changed. Now, as I hurtle towards old age and the inevitable oblivion, I am listening to more new music than ever. For this, I am indebted to BBC 6 Music.
Having grown too old for Radio One – and quite right too – I had been put out to pasture on Radio Two. And it was good. The music was generally okay, although it was very safe. I could sing along with virtually everything. Whilst I could not tolerate listening to Steve Wright, I liked Ken Bruce and I liked Simon Mayo. Still do, if the truth be known. However, I needed more.
6 Music is the greatest music station ever. Better than the original Radio One, better than Radio Two and because ALL commercial radio is shit (it is: don’t argue), yes, the best station ever. There is enough old music to ply me with some familiarity if I need it (who doesn’t, sometimes?) and there is lots of new music from a wide variety of genres.
In the last few years, I have discovered Courtney Barnett, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, North Atlantic Explorers, Louis Cole, Thundercat, MGMT, Lump, Baloji and so much more.It has cost a small fortune, I admit, because I buy rather than steal (legally stream, but it’s still theft IMHO) music. If I have been in a mess in the mental health department, I can listen to new music and new music equals new life. I am not sure there is any better feeling than hearing a record for the first time.
I recall sitting in the living room back in 1972 waiting for Radio One to play the new T Rex single Telegram Sam and being blown away by that clangy, chunky Marc Bolan riff and when I hear the song today, I still feel the same feeling. Going back even further, I was in the same room back in…gulp…1967 when the Beatles’ Hello Goodbye appeared on the wireless and also in 1967 when, for the first time, I saw the same band performing All You Need is Love, which starts with the first part of La Marseillaise, on Top of the Pops, featuring a long-haired gum-chewing John Lennon. I had the same happy feeling when I first heard Baloji’s ‘Hiver Indien just a few months ago.
Not that there is anything wrong with listening to all the songs you heard when you were growing up, as long as those songs weren’t by Queen, in which case have a good look at yourself. I mean, I went to see Toto last year who are touring as part of their 40th anniversary. However, they still make new music so that convinced me. However, my all time favourite band, Steely Dan, which is basically just Donald Fagen, tour the old songs and don’t make new music. They’re touring the UK next year and I won’t be bothering. I can still hear the records instead.
If you’re over 24, just try new music. There is lots of it and music today is, in my opinion, better than ever and anyway, what do you have to lose by trying?