I’ll be the first to admit that I’m one of those girls that has more songs on her iPod from before 1990 than songs that are currently on the radio today. Most of my friends’ recent favorite artists are bands like Icona Pop or Of Monsters and Men, and while I enjoy current music too (especially if it has an older sound!), my recent favorites include Earth Wind and Fire and Elton John. Don’t even get me started on ’90s R&B or jazz/blues music.
Most of my friends make fun of me for it – my own parents even call me an old lady (I mean, they’re not wrong – what other 24-year-old do you know that prefers Otis Redding to Miguel?) but it doesn’t particularly phase me. I did, however, get self-conscious recently when I was visiting my old sorority sisters and they wanted me to plug my iPhone into the speakers when the iPhone we were previously using died. I froze at first because I knew I didn’t have any new music to play and didn’t think that a room full of drunk sorority and fraternity folks wanted to listen to Janis Joplin for 3 hours. Eventually I scrolled through my iPhone so many times that I settled on Michael Jackson (always a crowd favorite in any decade), and I realized that the reason I was so self-conscious about not having a playlist full of Taylor Swift songs to assail my sorority sisters with because it’s still not a social norm to listen to older music un-ironically and non-nostalgically.
Why is that? Why do we automatically shun everything that doesn’t have a shiny new coat of paint on it? For me, I’m obsessed with Prince because I’m just now discovering songs of his that I’d never heard before. For me, this is my new music. Sure my taste in music might be a slightly older model, but it’s been given a brand new paint job and it’s just like new to me. It’s that song that I hear on the radio (albeit on the oldies station) and get so enthralled by it that I immediately go home and download every song that I can. Sure I do this with new artists too, but I’m discovering and getting into older bands for the first time and it’s awesome. And sure, some of it is for the nostalgia factor too – my recent obsession with 90’s R&B was a direct result of a YouTube spiral I found myself on that started with looking up the song “Let’s Get Married” by Jagged Edge and ended 3 hours later after clicking through all of the related videos from D’Angelo and Boyz II Men that I nearly forgot about – but whether for nostalgia or a first-listen of the classics, I still feel the need to defend it.
Guys, gals, if you’re like me, know that it’s totally alright to own your love of old-school jamz. If you want to throw a song by The Pretenders or Electric Light Orchestra into your party playlist, by all means, own it! Those unfamiliar with music of an older variety may be surprised and honestly if they’re partying hard enough, probably won’t even notice (unless of course you cut right from a hardcore-rager like LMFAO’s “Shots” to something soft and slow like “Power of Love” by Celine Dion.)
Us old souls are becoming the minority – even the radio station that used to boast playing “the 80’s, 90’s, and today” and then recently changed their slogan to “the ’90s, the 2000s and today” rarely ever play songs from before 2003 anymore. We’re losing our right to freely listen to some of the best music ever made and having to settle for the soul-less drabble (my opinion – sorry!) that’s on every radio station ever with no escape to a golden era far gone.
So I guess what I’m saying is it’s okay to listen to old music in today’s day and age. Own it. Love it. Learn it. In fact, I think that if everyone took the time to expose themselves to the classics, the world (and especially the radio) would be a much better place. Put the Biebs on pause and give your ears a rest from all of the electronic noise that pollutes our airwaves today with some sweet acoustics from someone like Joni Mitchell. Obviously older music may not be for everyone, but you never know – you might surprise yourself.