August of 2021 is a milestone moment in my life - I’ve turned 40. I don’t necessarily feel old, even though all my friends all make old jokes about me (even the few who are older than me).
The only time I really feel old is when I think about things in context.
For example, Pearl Jam’s debut album Ten recently turned 30 years old as did Metallica’s self-titled album. Nirvana’s Nevermind and Guns N’ Roses Use Your Illusion I/II will turn 30 in September. All of those two albums were monumental and foundational in my musical awakening and education. Those albums would set me on the never-ending path of discovery of new music - my music. Not what my parents listened to - which definitely set the early stages of my music taste and where I would build from. I still love The Beatles, Crosby, Stills Nash & Young, Motown, all the stuff I grew up listening to with my parents. But when I discovered these albums and 92.3 K-Rock, the New York rock radio station, my eyes - my ears - were opened.
These bands opened me up to grunge and metal which would carry me through high school and early college and beyond.
While Lorde really isn’t what I listen to normally, she has a song featured on this month’s playlist (Stoned at the Nail Salon) which has a line that says “all the music you loved at sixteen, you’ll grow out of”. I don’t necessarily think that’s true.
Lorde is 24 years old, and not that far removed from 16. Lorde wasn’t even born when I turned 16 (which happens to be 24 years ago 👴🏻), and I think she has a lot of life to live and things to experience and grow from.
Do I still listen to the music I did when I was 16? Yes. Regularly? Probably, not. I was 16 in 1997. A year I hold in high esteem for music (OK Computer, The Colour and the Shape, S.C.I.E.N.C.E., and so much more). These albums and bands shaped my high school years, and are what I continually build on top of as my exploration of music continues.
I have a 90s alternative and grunge playlist (Apple Music / Spotify) that does get regular play in our house. Metallica, Limp Bizkit, Korn, Marilyn Manson, other bands that I listened to often at 16 years old? Not as much, but they will always hold a special place in my heart.
Quick housekeeping update: I’ve moved the newsletter (yet again) to a new service. It has a few more tools, and will hopefully be better for growing the list. If you do happen to enjoy this newsletter, I’d really appreciate it if you could share it:
Another feature this service offers is comments, so you can comment on any post if you like (or hate) a song, or have any recommendations or something you’d like to share about the post. I hope you guys are digging this, because I am enjoying doing it every month.
This month’s playlist features songs from Royal Headache, Car Seat Headrest, The Bronx, Lorde, Palehound, and much more.
Listen to this month’s playlist on
Red Light by Kississippi (Apple Music / Spotify)
I saw Kississippi open for Foxing in 2018. They were good live, but didn’t really grab me then. This song did grab me though. It has a good guitar and I dig her vocals.
Other Listening and Quick Links
I’m not the only one that turned 40 this year. MTV also turned 40 at the beginning of August. MTV is not even a shell of a shell of what it used to be, but when MTV was MTV, it was a huge cultural phenomenon. The station famously kicked off with Radio Killed the Radio Star by The Buggles.
If you’re interested to see what MTV was, you can watch the first four hours of MTV’s first day of broadcasting here. NPR Music also put together a playlist of the first 100 videos played on MTV if, you know, you don’t want to sit through four hours of video.
Here’s a collection of 230 MTV advertisements and bumpers that would advertise the channel, and serve as station ID checks.
One last bit on MTV - they played a huge part in pivoting animation into something that was widely more for kids previously into an art form and storytelling medium for adults. From the earliest animations of their MTV logo to shows like Beavis and Butt-Head, Daria, and Liquid Television.
Nandi Bushell, the girl from the UK who took the Internet by storm with her drumming skills and who would later challenge Dave Grohl finally got the opportunity to play on stage with the Foo Fighters.
Consequence of Sound put together their list of the Best 30 Punk Bands of all time. Spoilers, it’s The Clash at number one. Also, Green Day is the worst.
I have a weird relationship with the music of Billy Joel. When I was younger I was a big fan. When I say younger, I mean young, I was in middle school or younger listening to Billy Joel I knew how to play some of his songs on the piano. I still like a lot of his music, but cringe at some of the bad stuff. Like Uptown Girl or We Didn’t Start the Fire, for example. Scenes from an Italian Restaurant is another cringey one for me, but I can’t not like it. A podcast I really like called Strong Songs did a deep dive into Scenes about its many songs within the song.
Speaking of Billy Joel, there are apparently people who love him so much that they feel the need to permanently tattoo the Piano Man onto their body.