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  • Is new music just for the young?

       August 09, 2010

    My friend Steve is a thirtysomething father of two. He's also a huge music fan who was lucky enough to go to Lollapalooza in Chicago this past weekend. Inevitably, his friends gave him a hard time about being one of the "old guys" at the festival.

    I think we have this idea that concerts and new music are just for the young. I don't think that's true. I think, rather, that the world is divided into people that actively seek out new music and those that don't. Age doesn't have that much to do with it. In my own family, my 20-year old nephew has no idea what music is new or cool, while his 50-something uncle will make you awesome CDs full of the latest and greatest songs (thanks again for introducing me to Okkervil River's "Lost Coastlines").

    There's this perception that you stay in the pop culture bubble you came of age in. So Baby Boomers like the music of the 60s and 70s, while Generation X's music love should stop at grunge.

    It's because of this that movie soundtracks are full of "classic" 60s songs, the Green Bay Packers play an old Todd Rundgren song when they score and American Idol forces its young contestants to sing songs that are nearly 50 years old. Producers are afraid of alienating their large older audience with scary "new" music.

    To me, it's a self-fulfilling prophecy. Of course older generations aren't going to like new music if they never hear any of it. That's why I appreciate the Chicago Blackhawks for making The Fratellis' "Chelsea Dagger" their victory song. And yes, believe it or not, even Hawks fans in their 50s and 60s enjoyed it. Imagine that!

    I've written before about the cultural death grip of the Baby Boomers, but I don't know that I had it right. I don't think the Boomers actually think that music peaked with them. I think, rather, that due to their demographic power, producers and marketers are just afraid to expose them (and by extension the rest of us) to anything too new or out there. It's easier to just have another "Stones night", you know?

    In the meantime, there's a whole world of sounds out there to discover. And it's not just the realm of hipsters. Music is for everyone. We just have to be unafraid to take it, no matter our age.

    Posted by kris at August 9, 2010 10:22 AM

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    #  August 10th, 2010 10:01 AM      kris
    FYI, if any MN or WI readers fell in love with Mumford & Sons after some of my posts about them, they're playing just announced dates in MPLS on 10/29 and MKE on 10/30.  



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