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Why do old people listen to old music? - Take 2

A post by David Mellor
Thursday November 30, 2006
An RP visitor offers an alternative take on why people 'of age' seem to prefer old music to new.
Why do old people listen to old music? - Take 2

In response to 'Why do old people listen to old music', Audio Masterclass visitor Tom Fouquet writes...

While interesting, and having the saving grace of examining the subject from more than one single and static point of view, I would like to offer another viewpoint.

As a child born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, I was exposed to music of every imaginable style. I heard classical music - lots of it. Some of my fathers friends were country swing players who would hold jam sessions in our backyard, performing a very sophisticated and jazz influenced style of western music. This style is very rich in every way - melodically, harmonically and rhythmically - with complex phrasing and chord changes.

Mom loved the classics and also listened to popular music and big band stuff from she and dads youth. My two older brothers listened to everything from jazz to rock to pop 'schmaltz'. We're talkin' Fats Domino to Ramsey Lewis, Ernie K-Doe to Miles Davis, Elvis to Mario Lanza to Lee Dorsey to Thelonious Monk; all the great New Orleans r&b and early rock n' roll pioneers and the greatest jazz musicians and pop singers and instrumentalists since Al Jolson.

When people listen to what they LIKE, it has little or nothing to do with any perceived inability to 'DIG' or even superficially understand some of the music being produced today. Do we more readily identify with the more familiar sounds of our youth? Of course we do! We all have fond memories and emotional connections to music which we associate with the people, places, things and times of our youth.

But you must excuse me, and a huge part of society, young and old, if we find little or no redeeming musical qualities in hip hop tunes consisting of samples, looped and lifted (ripped-off) from people with talent who originated those grooves and riffs. Remixing ripped-off grooves with bad kick drum sounds and monotone vocals in nursery rhyme (can you say iambic pentameter?) phrasing and lots of obscene words does not constitute, and cannot compete with, what WE old music lovers and musicians treasure most.

I do not care how long or how hard the indies or major labels try to hype some dumbed-down, phony, overly-glorified garage band. Stupid, pointless lyrics, out-of-tune guitars and vocals, and drummers who couldn't find a groove on an old 45 just don't cut it for us. They will never be The Beatles, or Tower of Power, or Bob Dylan, or Johnny Cash, or Jimi Hendrix. Sure, it took Mom and Dad a while to come around to Lennon & McCartney. Our tastes evolve and, over time, we come to 'hear' new thing in a new light. But give us a break.

Even old guitar pickers like me know the difference between ARTISTS who are engaged in a pursuit of something that resembles ART, and POSERS who are engaged in overly-simplified, cookie cutter attempts to POSE schlock as ART (and take the big bucks from an woefully uneducated and musically ignorant public which only likes what it is told to like). What I wouldn't give to hear a ... well ... never mind. They wouldn't (couldn't) 'DIG IT' anyway. Disposable music for a disposable society - you get what you get when you choose by default.

A post by David Mellor
Thursday November 30, 2006 ARCHIVE
David Mellor has been creating music and recording in professional and home studios for more than 30 years. This website is all about learning how to improve and have more fun with music and recording. If you enjoy creating music and recording it, then you're definitely in the right place :-)