Thursday, April 30, 2015

Looking for the Crest of a New Wave

Lara Unnerstall:

If you’re 33 or older, you will never listen to new music again—at least, that’s more or less what a new online study says. The study, which is based mainly on data from U.S. Spotify users, concludes that age 33 is when, on average, people stop discovering new music and begin the official march to the grave. 

Yes, Lara, are you there? Can you hear me? Yes, OK, great. I'm reporting to you live from somewhere beyond age 33, and I can assure you that there is indeed musical life out here. It's sparsely populated, perhaps, but not dead. That's right, all hope is not lost. Granted, a lot of what you've heard back there in the studio is true — careers, kids and bills do tend to eat up the energy and money that was formerly devoted to seeking out new music on a whim. Trying to keep up with popular music makes a lot of people feel silly for being out of step with their peers. And, let's face it, it can be difficult for older listeners to relate to the lyrical fixations of youth culture. So much melodrama, anger and mindless rebellion!

But though time may rob you of some of your affinities, there is no law of entropy preventing you from cultivating new pleasures. Getting older means very few things will surprise you with sheer novelty, but there is still plenty of quality to be found. Take the time, make the effort. Music, to me, has an unparalleled ability to make the same old world feel completely new. It's what keeps my thoughts from becoming stagnant. This is one instance where I agree with all that stuff about age only being a number — if your mind is still active, and you can still find pure joy in the interplay of melodies and rhythms, you're not really old.