WORDS BY MARY LUCIA •••
Every few months an old thread gets dragged around the socials concerning the lack of exciting new music to be found. Which sparks the preamble of “I may be getting older but…”
Personally, I don’t reply to online discus- sions about music, but this topic hurts my aorta.
If you’ve spent a good amount of time curating music for an audience of unknown demographics, you have to believe in this basic principle: Everything must’ve been new to you at some point. It could be the first time you heard the music of Handel or of Shungudzo. New to your ears is new.
I should preface this with a few things about myself:
· I don’t believe in guilty pleasure music. #NoApologies.
· I love what I love, no matter how stupid the haircut.
· I’m grateful to live in a world where everything is not meant for everyone.
· I hear discernment is making a comeback.
In studies where a snippet of a song has been played for a test audience, 95 percent of listeners who claim to dislike what they’re hearing say the reason they don’t like it is “I don’t know it.”
Heaven help us.
Is this generational? As in, how do you know you don’t like Brussels sprouts, Joey, if you’ve never tried them? Or is it possible that at a certain age do your receptors for new music default to “Get off my lawn!”?
I have a difficult time with the response, “That was before my time,” as any given excuse. Read a forking book. I wasn’t alive to see The Beatles on Ed Sullivan, but you can be damn sure I’ve read the story umpteen million times. I’m familiar.
Music history is fun—you should play along! Find out where you’re going by seeing where ya been!
Years ago, I had next-door neighbors whose preference was to blast was New Country Radio. I ain’t going to lie, it made my teeth itch. I toyed with the idea of tying a Mother Maybelle Carter CD to a rock and hurling it over the fence. New Country felt lazy to me. But why should I feel compelled to school these twentysomethings on the superiority of Hank Williams and Bobbie Gentry when, in reality, it was just my dumb, fat ego? (Well, that and if I had to listen to Toby Keith sing Betsy Ross’ Greatest Flag Hits one more time, I might’ve taken a hostage.)
New music discovery does require some effort on your part. Not a ton. No one is trying to pry your copy of Iggy and the Stooges Raw Power from your AARP grasp. That record is still untouchable, son. But as long as you’re crate digging at “I” for Iggy, it’s as easy as taking a few steps to the left and adding Dead Freights, Fontaines D.C., and The Idles to your pile. New! Still good!
Are you a closeted Harry Styles fan?
A. You shouldn’t be.
B. Check out Barns Courtney October 25
at The Fine Line. Snatched glam minus the hired stylist.
Have you never thoroughly understood the appeal of Tom Waits? Do yourself a kindness and get your hands on some Blind Willie Johnson. That taste is old time, but it could be new to you.
New is just Ewn as an anagram, which doesn’t mean anything, but my point is it’s OK to clutch The Ramones Rocket to Russia tightly to your bosom, but if you choose to publicly declare there is no good new music? Watch out for falling rocks tossed in your yard.
Remember the feeling as a kid when you looked at an older sibling’s album collection
and hungered to know what was inside based solely on image alone? Can you recall that rush of excitement down to your little piggy that went wee wee wee all the way home when you pushed play or dropped the needle for the first time? Don’t put that curi- ous delinquent on a shelf. You’re never too old to kick it root down.