One of the things that has always puzzled me is how people relate the music you listen to and your age. By this I mean the perception that you are too old for a particular type of music or performer. My tastes in music cover all types and genres, although I lean predominantly towards rock and popular music. I do listen to classical music and opera on occasions, and with these forms of music the general attitude seems to be that the older you are the more acceptable it is for you to like them. Most teenagers would publicly deny any interest in these forms, I suspect due to peer pressure, but obviously a large number do enjoy them, particularly as the next generation of classical musicians are learning their skills at that age..
What I see more of as I grow older (I’m now 61 ) is younger people expressing surprise at the music I listen to, as they see me as “too old” to be interested in it. When I can talk knowledgeably about current popular artists, and have views on particular tracks, they are taken aback, particularly if it is someone like a hip-hop artist. This is what I do not understand (and I’m sure I’m not the only one) as I get pleasure from all sorts of music, and don’t feel constrained. I understand that as a teenager you get obsessed by the style of music that is current at that time, and don’t want to share “your” music with other generations, but surely that disappears quickly?
With me, and again I’m sure I’m not alone, I have rarely had a blanket obsession with an artist or style (there are a few notable exceptions). I always take every track on its merits, so that any particular style or artist will have tracks I love and tracks I loath. This seems a perfectly healthy attitude to me, and as a result my taste and attitude has developed over the years, rather than stagnating in my “sweet spot”.
I wonder now if I haven’t answered my own question. Is it the benefit of hindsight that has created my view of this? Are people in their 20s and 30s still too close to their teenage hotspot to realise that they too have moved on in their taste?
Will we ever know?
Does it matter?
(p.s. for British readers: on the radio, John Peel was the guide and inspiration for a lot of my taste in music).