Dan most recently challenged me to review Rearviewmirror by Pearl Jam. Dan’s really getting into 1990s grunge/garage recently, and I approve of this message.
It took me a while to get down to listening, but I am now, and I like it. It’s got that “I don’t care what the record producers says, let’s jam” sound to it.
It also got me thinking about what music we like, and why, and how that changes from one decade, year, month, day, and hour to the next.
What music did I think was the absolute ultimate when I was in college, for example? If you had asked me in 1982, I probably would have said Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd. I played the album into vinyl extinction, then played the CD over and over, usually in my headphones at fighter-jet loudness levels. These days, I have little desire to hear it.
If you’d asked me when I was a young journalist in the late 1980s, I might have said With Tomorrow by This Mortal Coil. By December of 1992, I know I would have said Wild Horses by The Sundays (a cover of the Rolling Stones song.)
How much if this is what we construct between our ears, and how much of it is how we are born and raised? My wife Abby, for example, can’t get enough Garth Brooks, but his sound just bounces off me.
My musical taste is fluid, however, and I wonder how much of that is because the global cadre of music is ever-enlarging. If you turned on the radio in 1940, for example, how many contemporary songs even existed at that point?
Then today I turned on the radio, the actual FM radio in the truck, and heard something – um, wow, millennials, this is music? I can’t even describe how artificial and monotonous it sounded. Kids these days.
Oh, and FM radio? You’re doing about as good a job reinventing yourself as newspapers are. “92.2, The Pump! Cranking out your favorites from the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, 2000s, 2010s, and today!”