Thursday, September 21, 2006

You're only as old as your taste

Yesterday I was feeling nostalgic for 1993, so I spun several CDs that I listened to at the time. But back then, I listened mainly to the following four albums:

1) Sports--Huey Lewis and the News
2) Business as Usual--Men at Work
3) Thriller--Michael Jackson
4) The Beatles, 1967-1970

When I tell people that these albums--two of which were actual LPs--defined 7th and 8th grade for me, they remark that I look really good for 36. And where can they get some of that cream?

I would often bring these CDs to school to share with with three other people who cared. Everyone else would make fun of me and my decidedly non-Nirvana taste in music. Several of these classmates, ironically enough, are now in 80s-retro bands. For the record, I was into eighties music before it was cool--way back in 1993! Everyone else is just jumping on the MTV-VH1 bandwagon. Pretenders (no pun intended).

One of my earliest memories is of New Year's Day 1983, when I was not yet three years old, getting very excited when I heard the opening flute strains of Men at Work's "Down Under" on the radio. "That's that new song I like," I remember thinking, before trying to figure out what thumped in my chest after a round of jumping on the bed (I pictured a box fan). Ten years later, I was working on a Beatles project for school when I heard "Down Under" again. If you've ever had a moment where seemingly lost memories flood back with the right cue, then you know the rapture I felt at that moment. After that, I bought a secondhand Business as Usual LP at a comic-book store and played it constantly for about a year. My entire summer and 8th-grade year are soaked in it. I bought the CD in high school and still play it quite often.

So what exactly am I nostalgic for when I heark back to puberty? I grew up in the 1990s, but I wasn't totally there, you know? I'm asking this because it tends to disturb actual 30-somethings that we share almost identical musical memories. Maybe I should just lie about my age; I always saw myself as more of a Generation X-er than this weird consumerist TRL generation now growing up in the Ground Zeros Decade, anyway.

Which brings us to an even scarier question: will anyone look back at this decade as fondly as people do now with the 1980s? Common sense tells me yes, but it's very peculiar to imagine. "Wow, how that song brings me back to 9/11!" I'll guess we'll see when I'm 46. Or is it 56?


Hillary For President said...

What i listen too is this:

Hanson -- Middle of Nowhere

Dr. Geek -- Blublockers impromptu flows

Bel Biv DeVoe -- BBD

Nena -- Feuer Und Flamme

Cyndi Lauper -- True Colours

Milli Vanilli -- Girl you no Its true

New Kids on the block - hangin' toutgh

N'Sync -- No strings attach

My partner think my taste in music is GRATE

oyster said...

"I'm asking this because it tends to disturb actual 30-somethings that we share almost identical musical memories."

It is disturbing. You're an odd guy, Mr Ian.

Huey Lewis and the News was my first big concert-- I think I was in 7th grade (1985). Robert Cray opened, and I thought he was boring-- that's how much I sucked at the time.

It's hard to imagine a kid my age rocking out to that eight years later.... Sports was a fine 80s album, but it seemed hopelessly dated and uncool when you were listening to it. What did your friends think? Did you have any friends?

My tastes transformed during '86, when the radio became a depository for some of the worst "pop" that has ever been produced. 1987 was even worse, and I got into punk, metal and alternative stuff: Ramones, Megadeth, Violent Femmes.

That was nice. But my tastes haven't much changed since the late eighties, which seems somewhat stunted, I suppose.

Ian McGibboney said...

I think a big part of it was that I actually liked Sports when I was little, without really knowing who or what it was. I think it's aged a lot better than some of the pop that's come after it.

I got back into the 80s after being really into MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice. My brother was into the Boyz II Men, Shai and Jodeci scene, and I listened to a lot of pop radio. So actually, I listened to as much current stuff as 80s--I was just more into the 80s.

And I actually like Nirvana now. I think the 80s thing was as much a rebellion against all the "rebels" at my school who all liked the same thing without understanding the significance of much of it.

saintlywife said...

I understand your choices...of course I liked them too (being, ack!, 36) and I own them, on vinyl of course. But I'm more disturbed that "Syncronicity" by The Police and "1999" by Prince didn't make your list. I spent my 8th grade year (1983)listening to those two albums most of all. (And what great albums they are!)

Frankly, I was listening to Soundgarden before Nirvana broke. But I stopped listening to Soundgarden and the rest of the "Seattle Sound" after Nirvana made them popular. I didn't care for Nirvana, because even the posers liked them...but I love them now. I didn't care for Nirvana, because even the posers liked them...but I love them now.

I digress. Your post reminded me of something my brother told me when he was teaching in a community college in Dallas: some of his students were going on about how lucky he was to have grown up with '80s music, because *they* didn't have any good music. He tried to persuade them otherwise with examples like Pearl Jam, but they weren't having any of it.

One thing I wonder is this: I spent much of my teenage years listening to anti-Reagan/anti-Thather music. Frankly, I'm not sure how I even discovered it while living in Lake Charles. But I've noticed that none of the political music is covered on "All '80s Lunch Hours." I've even tried to request a few only to be told by the DJ (who's probably your age Ian, no offense) that s/he's "never heard" of that song. Hell, I couldn't get them to play "Don't Pay the Ferryman", and that was a hit!

But don't worry about this Ian. It's not suprising that you'd be a fan of music that we fogies enjoyed before we (I) had access to MTV (and when MTV actually played music videos.) You have an "old soul." Join the club. You can even have a picture ID.

Ian McGibboney said...

The problem I have with 80s playlists on most radio stations is that they rotate the same 20 or so songs. Case in point: I have roughly six or seven 80s compilations, and all but one has "Walking on Sunshine." I recently read a blog where someone decried this and said that XM satellite radio solves that dilemma. I definitely agree that all 80s playlists should be stretched out, and include a lot more music from the edges. It was the Reagan era, for god's sake! Let's hear the protests! And Oran "Juice" Jones.

Saintlywife, you will be happy to know that I recall where I was the moment I first heard "Every Breath You Take"--on the side of my house, staring at a Mattel toy boat. I have no idea why I still remember that.

Pondering American said...

Good Grief you are 36? I thought you prob just graduated UL. There must be sort of Cajun fountain of youth you have found

Huey Lewis rocks

Ian McGibboney said...

Ponderer, I am actually 26. I just feel 36 most of the time. A young 36.