Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Late September, and I'm So Behind

You'd think that with me hardly working all summer, I'd be all caught up on my new-music listening, but it actually works the other way. I've gotten so used to doing my new-music listening in my car, driving to and from work, that when I'm not working I actually get further behind. So I'll be really lucky to even have my Best of 2016 lists done by March like I usually do. Pretty sad.

Best new stuff I've heard since my last post are the new Garbage CD, which didn't grab me at first, but then it grew on me, and new the CD by Tegan and Sarah, which is catchy, although I have to say it seems like more of the same from these two. I'm not complaining (maybe I am?) -- I like what they do, so more of it is OK. But it doesn't seem like they're challenging themselves (or their listeners) at all, so I don't know. I'm still sorting out my feelings about it.

Meanwhile, I've got so much new music for 2016 that I've decided (reluctantly) to toss the Nightwish album out of contention for the Best of 2016 stuff. I love the album, but it's really from 2015. Would have likely made my Top 10, though.

While I've had some downtime, I've been continuing to use the Sputnik Music site. It works kind of like Wikipedia -- it's user driven. So I've been updating webpages in some of the more neglected areas of the site, including their obscure '80s bands (like Haircut 100), their southern rock bands (Poco, anyone?), and their (God help me!) soft rock bands (think Christopher Cross. OK, don't). I've also added some obscure novelty bands, like Killer Pussy, the Sic Fucks, Total Coelo and The Chainsmokers.

One thing makes me kind of sad, though. The majority of the site's users seem to be college kids and twenty-somethings, and there are a lot of metal heads on there. It can be kind of cool in some ways. For example, someone recently created a list of their top 20 (or so) albums by Finnish Death Metal bands. Now, I wouldn't have thought you could even get 20 different Finnish Death Metal albums in the U.S., and I'll be damned if I don't check a couple of them out -- I'm all about experiencing new things. So the site can be very educational.

But interacting on the site has really driven home to me that no matter how much you love music, and how determined you are to stay up to date with new music, sooner or later, your tastes just become more peculiar to yourself, and it's just impossible to stay relevant to the music of today.

You'd have thought having kids would have taught me that, but I've always just figured that your kids have to hate your music whether they really do or not. It's automatic. They'd get kicked out of the union if they ever admitted they liked something you like.

But my interactions on the Sputnik site have driven home to me that it's just impossible for a 59-year-old man to hear music the same way a twenty-something does. When I listen to '70s music, I'm remembering when it was still new, but when they listen to '70s music, they hear it as oldies, something from the distant past. And I hear new music differently, too. I hear it through ears experiencing it in context with almost five decades worth of music listening, while they're hearing it almost fresh.

So even the new stuff I like is very different from what they like, and it's not true just of me vs. the metal kids, but even of me vs. the alternative kids. I liked last year's Sufjan Stevens album, for example. I thought it was quiet, with some moments of real beauty. But there was also something a little off-putting about it. I think because of the subject matter, there's an aspect of it that was unpleasant, sort of like having to visit a friend in the hospital.

But these kids love it! It was near the top of almost every Best of 2015 list I've seen on the site. And stuff that was simpler, but for me more enjoyable, like the new Matt and Kim album, is kind of looked down on there. The number one alternative album of 2016 on Sputnik Music so far is the new one from Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, a band I've just never been able to drum up enough interest in to even check out.

I don't know. Maybe this is just particular to the users of this site. But I've noticed that even on YouTube, reviewers I like such as John of ARTV review a lot of stuff I like, but he hears it way differently than I do. And I have the uncomfortable feeling that a lot of what I'm hearing as cutting-edge pop rock, they're hearing as (gulp!) generic soft rock.

Basically, I think what I'm saying is I just can't get these damned kids off of my lawn!

Ah, what do they know? I think it's really that my taste is right, and theirs is underdeveloped. At least, that what's I'm going to keep telling myself.


On a completely different subject, I recently watched The Eurythmics' Peacetour concert DVD, and I thought it was first-rate. It inspired me to go and listen to their Peace CD, an album I never gave that much attention too. Unfortunately, the results for that were mixed. The first half of the album is excellent, but the last third or so is kind of boring. I do recommend that concert DVD, though. It features the best of the Peace album, plus a bunch of their classics. And Annie Lennox was in fine voice that night.


Anyway, I have to go take some Geritol and wring out my Depends.

Later, guys.