My Musical Preferences Are Not That Hip

I’ve often stated that my musical tastes came from listening to the music that my older siblings listened to.  And at 28, while I’ve definitely branched out and discovered a lot of artists on my own – I still tend to gravitate towards artists that were making their best music long before I was born.  “You dress like a hipster,” A friend of mine told me recently.  “But you tend to listen to Boomer music.”  Indeed, while wandering drunkenly wandering around Greenwich Village, I was more excited about finding a bar that was blasting Wilson Pickett and Jackie Wilson all night long than hanging out at the “hip” bars.

When I was in college, I probably listened to more “hipster” music.  Ironically, I looked nothing at all like a hipster than.  The last album I bought by a “new” band was Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs, and before that it was TV on the Radio’s Dear Science almost two years earlier.  Otherwise my “new release” purchases have been established artists that have been around for decades or more.  My girlfriend on the other hand, tends to listen to more indie and hip bands – Stars, Matt & Kim, MGMT, Metric, Mates of State, etc.  While I appreciate some of it and like some of the songs, the indie-rock/synth pop sound is definitely not something I would otherwise be into.

Maybe I just don’t “get” this new direction that popular music is taking.  Or perhaps I’m bored, and the only music that I find is exciting is music by older artists.  But I think a lot of it has to do with being burned by newer artists when they release follow-up albums to their acclaimed records.  Get Behind Me Satan was a tepid follow-up to the brilliant Elephant, Room on Fire didn’t ignite the rock world the way that Is This It? did, and Franz Ferdinand are still only known for “Take Out”. The Killers were better before they became sincere and Brandon Flowers was singing about androgyny.  And Kings of Leon?  They might have gotten bigger, but once Cabel Followill cleaned up his vocals and  Matthew Followill set his delay pedals to “Edge” they lost their touch, and soul.  When MGMT released their sophomore Congratulations earlier this year my girlfriend was disappointed as she loved their debut Oracular Spectacular. “A-ha!” I thought.  “It’s happened to you as well!”

These days,the only releases I’m excited about are Elvis Costello‘s National Ransom, Bob Dylan’s Bootleg Series, and Bruce Springsteen‘s Darkness on the Edge of Town boxed set.  Even though these artists might be some 30 years older than me, I still find them extremely relevant.  Darkness, for instance actually says a lot more about the state of the world today than Springsteen could have imagined.  And as for Wilson Pickett and Jackie Wilson?  There’s nobody alive today that can make me want to jump up on a couch in a bar.

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10 Comments

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10 responses to “My Musical Preferences Are Not That Hip

  1. Deirdre

    Actually, I thought Franz Ferdinand’s second album was much better than their first.

  2. Sean

    Though I do not know most (any?) of the bands you reference, having 14 years on you, what do you define as Boomer music? 60s I would think, though I see that your taste for such leans heavier on B Dylan and the Stones rather than Beatles.

    Good thing, too.

    BTW: What bars do you go to that have couches? I don’t think i have ever seen one that had a couch in it. Would make you wonder what is in on or under it…

  3. pete satterfield

    i think music prefrence has a lot to do with what is around at hand when you are young. i owe my tastes mostly to mum. thanks to mum i had record player in my room as a kid. and a ready supply of mum’s records. old ones. 45’s and 78’s all from the mid to late 50’s. elvis, hank sr, glen miller, hank thompson, hank snow ,webb pierce, clarence frogman henry loyd price(personality) , sam cooke, ben e king..just to name a few..plus old johnny cash. most of these records i still own. some are really obscure rare things. i thank these records for my taste. old country, soul, early r&b..jazz etc. really i would listen to anything at that age. and like it. this is why what you would call boomer music appeals the way it does. the band, van morrison, elvis costello all my favorites heard all this and reflected upon it and wrote. van sums it up in the song st. dominic’s preview. all these artists had an idea and were not just throwing notes and lyrics out there.

  4. Sean

    Pete, they were pretty scratched when I had them!

    Guess it just adds to the ambiance at this point.

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