…. how music changes through the years.

I’ve mentioned on the blog before my love of music (listening rather than playing an instrument) and realised one of the things that I have sorely missed over the last year is being able to go to a live gig. It also led me to realise that the frequency of buying and listening to new music had declined and I wanted to reverse this trend.

Not having bought more than half-a-dozen CDs in the years before lock down (although I must still own close to 1000, boxed and stored during the move) I turned to Spotify at the start of the year to provide me with some new and varied listening. What I have found instead though, was that I have gravitated to old favourites and re-discovered artists that I owned already. Presumably this is partly due to the algorithm Spotify uses to suggest artists to you in the daily mix, it being based upon artists you already like and re-enforcing your taste by giving you more of the same. I am trying to break out of this by using the artist ‘radio’ looking for new bands / singers / artists or whatever title they go by these days. And to a lesser degree picking on Spotify assembled playlists from varied claims such as decade or mood. Still not getting me to as much new music as I would like.

Possibly, like is the problem. In my teens and twenties I was exposed to much more music due to, I think, the way I listened. Like many of my generation, I too understand the frustration of trying to time the moment to press the pause button on the cassette recorder sat next to the radio on a Sunday afternoon listening to the chart rundown. Youth in the 1970’s didn’t afford to buying LPs or cassettes but pirating favourites from the top 40. It meant you had to listen to a varied offering of music, some heard of, some not, some to become favourite, others to be never heard of again. Tastes were effectively challenged, all be it within the commercial boundaries of the mainstream charts.

I hit my teens in the 80s and continue to think of this as my golden era of music, I started spending pocket money on vinyl or records as they were back then. Saturday mornings were spent at an independent record shop in Derby perusing the second hand bins for gems that quite often turned out to be scratched on first play. For me Dire Straits track Telegraph Road doesn’t quite sound right without extra beat created by a jumping needle at the start of the track.

It was also in the 80s that I got to see my first gigs, again with Dire Straits among the first bands I got to see live. To this day I don’t think I’ve seen a better live performance than Queen at Wembley in ’86. Recently watching Bohemian Rhapsody reminded me of what a great band they were and how disappointed I was not to have a ticket for Live Aid.

But I am not alone in craving the sounds of my teenage years it would seem…


To test the theory I went to look up the song that was number 1 on my 14th Birthday and found it to be ‘Jack & Diane’ by John Cougar Mellencamp – certainly in my liked songs on Spotify so that tallies. And whilst I find a fall into whats normal it doesn’t suppress my craving for something new.

So I need to find a new way to challenge that I listen to. I’m not one to criticize all new music as rubbish – I can find gems in pretty much all music genres. I need to find some sort of music roulette on Spotify that addresses this – any ideas?

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