Every once in a while, I think about weird stuff like, if I were a teenager in the 60s, 70s, or 80s, what kind of music would I listen to?
I grew up in the 80s and 90s, and my parents exposed me to some great music as a ,kid like The Beatles, Crosby, Stills, and Nash, Neil Young, Motown, Elton John, Billy Joel, and much more.
Growing up, I found modern music on my own, starting with Nirvana and Pearl Jam in the early 90s as a pre-teen and exploding from there like my own musical Big Bang. But my musical awakening also went backward to when my parents were growing up.
Looking at who inspired the modern banat I was discovering, I came across Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Bruce Springsteen, Deep Purple, David Bowie, and much more. Music that was around and popular when my parents were teenagers and in their 20s, but not necessarily stuff they listened to. But one thing I never did was put on the pop station of the day. I had friends who listened to the pop, R&B/hip-hop popular in the mid to late 90s, but I hated it all.
Then I look back at the artists and songs that were 40, 50, or 60 years old and wonder if that music was new today, would I still like it? For example, if I heard “Tracks of My Tears” by Smokey Robinson, “In My Room” by The Beach Boys, or “Baby Love” by The Supremes, would I still love those songs? Would I even give them a chance if I heard them on the radio?
I look at modern pop music now and still don’t see much I like. However, some songs jump out at me, and I do like them.
Am I a Billie Eilish fan? No, but I do like “Bad Guy” and her James Bond song, but that’s it. Lizzo’s “Cuz I Love You” is a great song, but again, not something I would typically go out and listen to or even put on to listen to.
I look at other music I love now and wonder what took me so long to discover or, more appropriately, give a chance: Elvisvis Costello, Rush, and other new wave/punk/progressive bands. I didn’t really get into punk rock until my early 30s. I missed a whole DIY punk scene right under my nose in Jersey that birthed The Gaslight Anthem, Thursday, and other bands’ love now.
My wife assures me that I am a giant snob and would have hated a lot of the music I’ve listed here if I was a teenager when it was new. She may be right; she usually is.
This month’s playlist features The Pietasters, Arcade Fire, Orgone, Beach House, The Gaslight Anthem, Alexi Murdoch, Brutal Youth, and more!
Listen to this month’s playlist on: