Skip to content

The sound of music

Music is one of the most powerful expressions of creativity. My first foray into the world of rock music began with I was about three years old, mostly listening to the radio, but also catching the occasional show or video on TV.
opinion

Music is one of the most powerful expressions of creativity. My first foray into the world of rock music began with I was about three years old, mostly listening to the radio, but also catching the occasional show or video on TV.

In 1981, records ruled the day, eight tracks were on the verge of being tossed into the dustbin of history, MTV had only recently been hatched, and there were actual rock stations that played the latest hits. Back in that era of conservative politics and high interest rates, streaming platforms such as Spotify, Youtube and Amazon Alexa were barely the thing of science fiction, much less conceivable future inventions.

I enjoy most genres of music (sorry, I don’t do opera, but I will occasionally dabble in some classical music). While the old gospel Rock of Ages is a masterpiece of songwriting, I prefer the Def Leppard version (same title, but different lyrics and an awesome early 80s music video to match). Over the past three to four decades, I’ve listened to countless bands, but British new wave and even that simple chorded, rebellious fusion of punk rock and heavy metal that blasted out of Seattle during my youth (known popularly as Grunge) continues to be among my favourites.

Has it really been 30 years since I was hanging out at the local skatepark, wearing baggy jeans, plaid shirts, and waiting for my favourite bands to release their next albums? As I look back at my teenage self, while we truly believed we were cool, our parents thought otherwise.

And, from my 45-year-old perspective, it kind of makes sense. After all, back then, they were sliding into middle age themselves, with many disapproving of the types of music their kids listened to. Yes, it can be very hard to admit we’re getting older.

An unfortunate side effect of the aging process involves looking down on younger generations. Our out of touch instincts automatically telling us the music they listen to is inferior to or more explicit than what was played on our tape decks and CD changers during the 1990s, an era that seems so recent, yet so long ago.

Another misconception is that music is not important to today’s youth, who are only into social media. While it may be true teenagers of the early 21st century don’t have the same relationship with music that previous generations had, technology has allowed them to not gain easier access to the artists they love, but continually discover new music.

Sure, record stores have gone the way of the dodo bird. Young people don’t sit up listening to Kasey Kasem’s Top 40, as was common in my day – nor do they request their favourite songs on local radio stations. Many modern artists don’t release albums, only singles that along with hundreds of thousands of other tunes can be streamed and enjoyed from the comfort of one’s own home.

While many of us are under the impression that music has changed, in fact, it’s us in the middle age and senior brackets who’ve changed, which, by the way, is nothing new. Go back a century ago to the Roaring 20s when parents who’d been raised with the stern, oppressively conservative morals of the late Victorian period were often mortified at their sons’ and daughters’ fondness for jazz music and the liberal lifestyle associated with it.

To many, this was purely the devil’s music, the same unfair label that would be assigned to artists who arrived on the scene later in the 20th century, especially Elvis Presley, Alice Cooper, Marilyn Manson, Mötley Crüe, and so many others. While there has always been music that for whatever reason is deemed to be debauched or just plain idiotic, in my opinion, no era is better than another.

The songs you remember during your adolescent years are for want of a better term, the soundtrack of your youth. Unlike previous generations, the youth of today have the largest soundtrack of songs available, right at their fingertips.


Chris McGarry

About the Author: Chris McGarry

Read more



Comments