One big thing about growing older is how your perspective changes, how things that seemed to really matter no longer do. This is perfectly normal. I prefer The Beatles to The Rolling Stones, and always have, but I won’t bother to argue much beyond that nowadays.
Obviously, external identifiers like bands, literature and sneaker brands matter a lot more when you’re young, because you’re still developing and becoming … well, yourself. You grow as a person by going out and experiencing things. To be sure, some people have a firmer grip on their essence from the start, but for the most part, you have to bloody your nose on the kerb of life a few times to get into the swing of things.
I’m closer to forty than thirty now, and I just don’t get worked up over pop music anymore. I have bills to pay and a job to do, and I’ll happily talk about music or movies with you in my spare time, but the days of actually getting livid about this stuff are long gone. Life is just too short.
Of course, I can’t help but wonder if this is detrimental to my taste. I went to a party this weekend, and, just for a lark, we created a shared Spotify playlist called “Guilty Pleasures.” The problem we quickly encountered, however, was that most of our “guilty” pleasures didn’t warrant much guilt at all. Music half-remembered, or dismissed out of hand as cheesy in the past … well, a lot of it sounded pretty good.
Look, no matter how much American Psycho blasts them as avatars of soulless corporatism, I can’t hate Huey Lewis and the News: hearing The Power of Love as Marty McFly skated through Hill Valley was a seminal moment for my ten-year-old self. As for Bonnie Tyler rasping That Ain’t No Way to Treat a Lady? Bombastic, overwrought and ludicrous – Christ, what’s not to love?
Song after song was added to the list, only to be dismissed as “pretty good” and even “legit” as they came on – I didn’t get around to adding Save All Your Kisses For Me by the remarkably naff Brotherhood of Man, but I suspect even that would’ve been afforded some measure of grudging respect.
This isn’t to say there isn’t a lot of awful music to be enjoyed out there (or even in my own collection), but the thing is: the stuff you’ve liked in your life, secretly or not, you liked for a reason. That connection doesn’t just stop, and frankly, I’m more embarrassed by my attempts to get into King Crimson or finish the interminable Naked Lunch than my love of alleged cheese. It’s all about perspective.