What is your musical age?

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There was a time when I had consciously sniffed out new music like a hungry hound set loose after days of deprivation. A single song that I had heard somewhere on the internet would lead me to the band after which I would simply have to listen to the entire album and then download the entire anthology. Thanks to that habit of mine, I own anthologies that I have never listened to after that first week when I would eat, live and breathe those songs. My computer storage says “Like you’ll listen to all of them ever again” each time I hover around the Delete button and then move away.

But I digress. I was just building up context to show how times have changed. The only effort I can make these days is to download the entire UK Top 40 Singles every other month, and the Billboard Hot 100 once in a while to keep myself updated with the latest. True, the compilation is no way an exhaustive benchmark of great music, but more often than not these are the songs that you would get to hear the most on the radio and in coffee shops in general. I swear, when Adele’s “Set Fire to the Rain” came out, by the time I had heard it in the umpteenth coffee shop I was almost ready to gag.

So the other day I had put on a UK Top 40 Singles compilation from last year (or maybe it was the Billboard Hot 100, I forget) on shuffle on my iPod, and was looking out the window of my bus with a smile on my face, which is what I do to pretend my life has a background score, when suddenly it felt like my ears were being scraped over a rusted metal grater. Wondering how I could be listening to Young The Giant’s Cough Syrup one moment and then be subjected to this monstrosity the next, I unplugged my earphones and stared at my iPod. Of course it had to be Skrillex, going all screechy on me in Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites. Shaking my head and sighing at what music has now become, I realized this was the first sign I was turning into an old soul. Which then led me to the epiphany that whether you are in your twenties or in your fifties, your musical age is not always the same as your biological age. Here’s a guide to finding out what your musical age is:

Your musical age is 50 if…

The lyrics of the songs you listen to define your philosophy in life, and you find yourself quoting the lines every now and then. You sway to the Unchained Melody (Righteous Brothers) with your other half and your idea of a peppy number is Build Me Up Buttercup (The Foundations). Listening to Sunny Afternoon (The Kinks) has you smiling all the way on a gray winter day and you think no other song can beat Light My Fire (The Doors). And School of Rock wasn’t the first time you heard Sunshine of Your Love (Cream). You like songs that are uncomplicated with not too elements ruining the essence of the song, which in turn is so deeply threaded you feel one with the song you listen to. You definitely don’t know why people even like songs with lyrics that go “Baby baby baby oh, baby baby baby no, baby baby baby oh… thought you’d always be mine” and wonder instead if the poor guy should have been sent to counseling instead for suffering from delirium. You listen to Adele instead and think about how you would feel when you would go back to your hometown. Or maybe to Norah Jones just because you keep feeling the same way all over again. You don’t recognize any of the Glee songs because you don’t care enough about Glee to give a damn.

Your musical age is 40 if…

The songs you love say a story, and the story might not always have a happy ending but you wish life was all about the rock and roll instead of the hip and hop. You adore Elton John and not just for having the courage to come out and wave the rainbow flag, but for immortalizing Crocodile Rock. You don’t know that Rachel sang Copacabana at Barry’s wedding (F.R.I.E.N.D.S) but you sure love how Barry Manilow could take you away to a fun filled beach with the song. Cats in the Cradle (Cat Stevens) gets to you every time and you do The Hustle (Van Mc Coy) when you’re thrilled.You have been trying to master the Bohemian Rhapsody without sounding tone deaf for years now, and it is still your go-to shower song. You like music that lifts you, and the lyrics might not always be the reason why. You might know that there is a series of unnecessary movies called American Pie but you still believe that it was a cheap icon for youth when Don McLean had already given the world a song for an icon by the same name. You recognize most of the Glee songs by their originals, but believe that the oldies and goldies should not be tampered with.

Your musical age is 30 if…

When you sit down and talk about music you invariably start with, “Boy, Bon Jovi is the ultimate. Except of course, if you go down the Bryan Adams road”. You love soul in a song when it is served with a side of adrenaline, and is so multidimensional you wouldn’t know if to love the fact that it gets your groove on or that it touches you from deep inside. You know the lyrics of Hello (Lionel Richie) by heart, and prefer it to the other Hello (Martin Solveig et Dragonette) hands down. Your idea of love is singing With or Without You (U2) to your beloved, and your FRIENDS theme might as well have been Summer of 69 (Bryan Adams). You remember the heydays of Green Day and even have Time of your Life stored somewhere in your phone. You remember Black Eyed Peas before it started getting all techno. You love Nirvana and know songs beyond Come as You Are. You recognize most of the Glee songs by their originals, and are willing to love the Glee version better if they are really good.

Your musical age is 20 if…

You are like, super into music, and like, can’t live without an earphone protruding out of your earphone all the time. You recognize all the songs that are being played on the radio and can sing along to all of the lyrics, even the rap part. For you to love a song, it has to get you up from bed in the morning, and make you run faster when you go out on your jog, or else it has to be unobtrusive when you keep playing it in the background while surfing the net. You have new favorites every week, depending on which song you heard last. You think Somebody that I Used To Know (Gotye feat Kimbra) is the epitome of what good music should be and that Rolling in the Deep (Adele) couldn’t have enough covers. You love watching acapella videos on Youtube, and can’t think too deep to decipher the meaning of Taylor Swift’s songs, but would still sing along to them. Oh, and you might just love Skrillex.

Unless you want me to go on lower than the 20s when I would have to talk about the metal and black t-shirt phase, or the K-Pop wave that seems to be in vogue these days, I would rather stop here. I should probably mention a fifth category: Ageless. These are the people who love The Mamas and the Papas as much they love Pearl Jam and Coldplay and Mumford and Sons. Ageless music people are open to liking a song as long as it has the right sound. And they are blessed with the ability to decipher noise and sieve the music from in it. But, whether you are in your musical 50s or 20s or are a blessed Ageless, I guess we should all cheer about the fact that we are music people. So here’s to music! Until next time.

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