If you’re a regular to the website, this will likely feel like preaching to the choir. My advance apologies. But I can say with something close to certainty that all of you will have heard a version of the following conversation at some point in your music loving lives:
‘Music’s dead, mate. Don’t you think?’
‘Yeah. It’s a shame. They just don’t make music how they used to do in our day. I never listen to anything new.’
‘Tell me about it. You want another Carlsberg why I put some Queen on the jukebox?’
‘Go for it, Neil. How about Bohemian Rhapsody, mate? It’s a fucking belter, that one.’
Anyway, you get the point.
I’m not one for stereotyping, so I’m just going to say that the majority of times I’ve heard this kind of conversation it’s usually been conducted by the kind of middle aged man called Neil who likes to drink Carlsberg. And his best mate, Darren, too. On their way to see a reunion show of KISS or some such shit. The type of man who still thinks the biggest choices to make in music are whether you’re a mod or a rocker, a fan of The Beatles or The Rolling Stones. Or maybe, if you’re lucky, you get a slightly younger version who still hasn’t decided between Oasis and Blur.
LISTEN TO SOME FUCKING YOUNG FATHERS, MATE!
But hey, before I get too brutal, I should say that this pull to your musical past is understandable. Music connects us to a time and a place and the time and place we want to be is often back when we were young, before responsibilities, when music was about abandon and freedom. When we first danced in a club or went to a gig. There was a short time in my life when my listening habits mainly resolved around five or six bands and I, too, was in danger of becoming an auditory dinosaur.
I get it. If you’re that person who’s stuck on Queen, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Oasis, Blur, or even Aqua, that’s fine. Nobody wants to insist that you like anything. But how about you offer the same courtesy to us? And how about you give things a go before you completely dismiss them, the way the world has been giving your favourite three bands a chance since time began.
Stop telling us that music was better back in your day. Stop making faces at the stuff you hear on the radio and give it a bloody listen, or at least don’t tell people who are giving it a listen that they’re stupid. Because the only thing that’s stupid is the idea that music is dead.
If you haven’t spent time to listen to any of it in detail, to let it grow on you, to learn its nuances, then just don’t comment on it. That’s okay, too. A bit of bloody silence on something that doesn’t interest you.
For my personal tastes 2019 has already been one of the best years for music in living memory, with stellar albums released by the likes of The National, Loyle Carner, Fontaines D.C., The Tallest Man on Earth, The Twilight Sad, Little Simz, Aldous Harding, and Sharon Van Etten. Give yourself an hour and check one of them out. And if your tastes differ to mine, that’s fine; we’ve seen strong recommendations for artist such as Billy Eilish, Bear’s Den, Jade Bird, Weyes Blood, FKA Twigs, Khalid, and Patty Griffin since we launched our site in March. I believe there is something there for pretty much anyone.
I doubt I’ll have convinced you of anything. If you’d still rather spend a grand on Weller tickets and that fifth vinyl reissue of Stanley Road than give a couple of hours to one of the many new bands influenced by him and his buddies in The Jam, that’s fine. I get it. I still listen to a lot of the bands that remind me of being a teenager, too. But how about you actually take that vinyl out the packet and enjoy it, and leave us to enjoy our Kendrick Lamar special editions in peace.
Words by Fran Slater.