Virtual Bourgeois

Just An Analog Guy Trying to Upgrade For a Digital World

Age and Taste

Posted by Gerald on December 22, 2008

For a long time I was a major REM fan, and I guess I still am.  If you found me listening to music at any point during the last twenty five years (am I really this old?) odds were you would find me listening to either something by REM or something by Steeleye Span.  I still listen to both although, as I wrote some months back, I’m in a real obsessive Decemberists phase and have been for over a year now.

The thing is, I really can’t seem to get into anything the band has done since New Adventures in Hi-Fi.  I’ve tried but I just can’t.

I’m no where near as analytical about music as I am about TV, movies, or books.  With all of those I have a good vocabulary for explaining why I like what I like and why I admire what I admire.  I don’t have that kind of understanding when it comes to music.  I do not know enough about what I am hearing to understand how it is put together the way I understand how books are written or visual productions are created.  The only exception is in lyrics – I know good use of language and can appreciate it.  I know this is part of what drew me to all three of the bands I’ve mentioned here.  With Steeleye Span (and what I’m about to say would fit bands like Fairport Convention and other British folk rocks groups as well) I like the traditional lyrics that show me the inside of these people I’ve studied so much.  With both REM and The Decemberists I love the poetry and the word play of the lyrics in their songs.  Still, I also love the music.  I cannot analyze why it moves me, but it does.  I enjoy it and have to stop at that level.  I know what I like – but I’m not sure why.

I just don’t like any of the songs I’ve heard from REM  in recent albums the way I liked what I heard before.  The language is still there, but it doesn’t have the music that moves me anymore.  I don’t know if this has anything to do with the change in the band’s make-up.  I can’t put my finger on what it is that I don’t like, and that is the point.  Still, I don’t.  As I’m writing this, iTunes has just offered up “Disturbance at the Heron House” – a fine example of the music and lyrics I loved and still love.  Maybe this is a case of a band developing as I remain static.  I don’t know.  Maybe it is all a matter of age and taste.


3 Responses to “Age and Taste”

  1. bridgett said

    I hate to admit this, but I’m the same way about Elvis Costello these days. It used to be that I was at the store when it opened the day that his records came out, but I saw recently that he had put an album out this spring. I thought to myself “Eh, should I get this for myself for Christmas?” and then just as quickly thought, “Meh, maybe not.” Whatever it was that really grabbed and shook me about his work just doesn’t do that now. I think that I’m just less in need of defining myself by what I listen to (no, really, I’m cool and arty, see?) and developing affinities with others based on a set of tastes. It used to be kind of a shorthand for where you located yourself culturally. Now I guess it’s not really all that important to me. Hell, I even socialize with people who pay good Yankee dollars to see a windbag like Glenn Beck.

    Did you have a good Christmas?

    • Gerald said

      My Christmas was fine. Did my yearly movie tradition and went to Christmas dinner with some friends. I hope yours was good as well.

  2. bridgett said

    Christmas proper was very nice. Apres Christmas was flu, flu, and more flu.

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