Sunday, January 11, 2009

Old Time Rock and Roll

I’ve been adding a bunch of my old man’s cds onto my hard drive as part of a larger-scoping digital project, and I realized a peculiarity in the way I think about music and records. Is it just my own idiosyncrasy, or do you think this way too?

I added Motley Crue’s Dr. Feelgood to my itunes. As I did so, It occurred to me that I considered this to be the Crue’s current record. Well, not current, I know it came out almost 20 years ago, but it happened to be the record I bought when I really got into them. To me any of their previous records, Girls Girls Girls and before, qualify as their old stuff, while anything that came after Feelgood was new. Fear of a Black Planet was the first Public Enemy record I bought. It’s “current.” Thus, Nation of Millions is old, and Apocalypse 91 is new. This same pattern holds true for almost every band that had built some sort of catalog before I was aware of them, particularly bands like Public Enemy or Motley Crue that were at the peak of their powers in the 80s or early 90s. This theory applies to a few 90s bands as well, as I got into Green Day with Dookie and Nine Inch Nails with the Downward Spiral, just like everybody else did. To me, Dookie is current, Kerplunk is old, and Insomniac is new.

This theory does not apply, however, to early bands. I first got into Led Zeppelin with their untitled Runes album, best known as IV. Led Zeppelin IV came out in 1971, and I got into it in 1992. Now, I’m not an idiot, I know that Led Zeppelin II is older, and it has a much rawer, more garage-y sound then IV, while Physical Graffiti has a more technical sound. It’s easy to tell which sounds older. However, because every Led Zeppelin studio recording that mattered was released before I was aware of the band in any way, it all falls in the realm of “old.” The same is true for bands that actually recorded during my lifetime. I wasn’t aware of the Dead Kennedys until well after they broke up, and I didn’t get into NWA when they were recording, thus everything both groups did has always been, to me, old.

Of course, this doesn’t apply to later bands either. Bands that I was aware of from their first record on, there’s less of a new/old divide. I asked my old man if he thinks about music in a similar vein, and he said that he does not. I assume it could be because basically every rock and roll band falls into the later bands category for him. Most everything he listens to was released after 1963, and by then he was old enough to be aware of new bands and new records.

So, do you think this way? If so, add some comments, tell us what’s “old,” “new,” and “current” for you.

1 comment:

Jan said...

I consider the Beatles to be contemporary music. : >