My How Times Have Changed: Music

I’m getting on my soapbox.

You kids today don’t know how good you have it. Why, back when I was growing up thirty years ago….

Music was so much different. We didn’t have all these new fangled contraptions like eye-phones and you-tubes. We got our new music in one of two ways: radio or attending live concerts.

I remember we used to have to walk miles and miles (sometimes in a foot of snow in our bare feet) to the local record store to pick up a copy of our favorite artists’ new album. Then we’d spend the next few days wearing out the vinyl while absorbing the sonic nirvana.

Sharing music with our friends in those days was usually done via word of mouth. There was none of this copying files onto a CD or emailing an mp3. We’d much rather say: “Hey, so-and-so’s new album is awesome. You need to go buy it”.  And if your friend trusted your musical judgement chances are they DID go buy it!

It was an extremely rare event for someone to lend someone else their new album. Our music was sacred. If you want to hear my new music and you didn’t get your allowance yet, then come over to my house, sit in my bedroom with me and listen.

The alternative to our version of “file-sharing” was taking a portable cassette player (if we were lucky enough to own one – Who knows? maybe your Dad was a doctor or something) and copying the music coming from the speakers onto the blank tape. Sure, the sound quality went down tremendously but at least the song was there.

Most of the time though, going to concerts was the best way to hear our new music. A time when you could see four or five bands over the course of the summer for the same price it costs you to see just one of these new acts now. Don’t get me started on Ticketmaster.

And another thing….

You kids are over saturated with new music! Every time I turn on that damn local radio station they are playing the exact same six songs over and over again.

Why I remember you considered yourself LUCKY if you heard the big “hit” from the band you loved thirty years ago played in its entirety on the radio. Most of the time you caught it halfway through. I can’t tell you how many times the DJ would announce my “song” was coming up and I’d be glued to my radio (or sitting out in Mom and Dad’s car) waiting for it to come on.

And you could forget about calling them up and asking them to play it again if you missed most of it. They’d laugh you to scorn. But if they just got done playing a Katy Perry tune today and I called and asked them to do it again my gut feeling is they’d be more than happy to oblige. Either that or tell me not to worry because it’s scheduled to be played again in an hour.

And what’s with all of these artists collaborating with each other on songs? Seems like every new song title has the word “featuring” next to the artists’ name. What happened to the days when you rocked out all by yourself?

But you kids can take your Justin Bieber (Boyfriend), Nicki Minaj (Starships) and Katy Perry (Wide Awake) and stick it where the sun don’t shine.

I’ll take Survivor (Eye of The Tiger), Asia (Heat of The Moment) and Joan Jett (I Love Rock and Roll).

We’ll see which ones we’ll still be talking about thirty years from now when you whipper-snappers are taking care of me in the old folks home.

5 thoughts on “My How Times Have Changed: Music”

  1. Wow..someone’s fired up! I must agree however!! I can hear the same 5 songs on the radio at least 3 times during my work day! In my opinion….today’s “rock” all sounds the same…and its just bad!

    I’ll stick with my Survivor, Night Ranger, and Bon Jovi. They know how to ROCK!

  2. just imagine how i feel, coming from a background of free-form fm radio where you might hear the entire side of ina-gadda-davida…all 17 minutes of it. Or the entire side of an album.

    however i would guard against pissing off that younger generation…they just might be the ones changing your diaper in 30 yrs.


    1. Is it really too much to ask to not take a short road trip (let’s say to the mall) and hear the same song TWICE – once on the way there and once on the way home? Sheesh!

  3. so true… music these days suck big time… I wonder even how people can call that “music”… thanks for the great review James, it’s really well written

  4. Thanks Celine. I agree, it’s hard to call what their spoon feeding the masses these days “music”

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