Musings on taking music out of the library: Am I too old to listen to Top 40?

Imagin Dragons

To the younger person who will borrow this CD after me,

There is an awesome scene in High Fidelity when a middle-aged father walks into Championship Vinyl looking for “I Just Called to Say I Love You” by Stevie Wonder as a gift for his daughter.  Barry (a super snarky sales clerk/music snob played by Jack Black) asks the man: “Do you even know your daughter? There’s NO WAY she likes that crap!  Oh wait… is she in a coma?”

It’s such a hilarious scene – until you become as old as that middle-aged man. Ok, I might not be quite that old, but this weekend one of my friends looked at the Imagine Dragons CD I just got from the library (and it is awesome!!!) and had never heard of the band. She bemoaned the state of the music industry and wondered out loud what happened to good music.  Bite your tongue!

But, it brings me to the question I have to ask: Am I too old to listen to Top 40?

See, the thing is, I have wonderful memories of singing along with ABBA, Peter, Paul and Mary,  and The Bay City Rollers for the four hours it took to drive to the cottage. My parents had tons of disco on vinyl, a lot of Glenn Miller, and of course, The Beatles. And I loved it all. But, when I turned in to an ungrateful teenager, I started listening to more moody music by The Smiths, The Cure, and I left my parents behind. It was an amiable parting – my mother moved on to Yanni, Michael Bolton, and all those other barfy guys with too much hair, and my father continued to listen to the same music for the next 20 years. I think he still has a mountain of cassette tapes somewhere. Needless to say, my parents have no clue about anything on the Top 40 list…today or at any time in the last 30 years. At weddings, they frown at hip hop, and stop dancing somewhere after the first 20 minutes because that is when the golden oldies stop, and the real music begins.

But, I’ve noticed lately that most of my friends keep up with music – and many of them horrify their children by singing right along with whatever is playing on the car radio. My niece and I belted out the lyrics from “Cups” from the movie Pitch Perfect last week (which really begs a question of the same ilk: Am I too old to watch teeny bopper movies?), and she was amazed I knew the tune. So, why am I , a woman almost 40, still stuck on Top 40?

Is it because I am a Top 40 slut? Yes, I admit, I will listen to anything that’s catchy
Is it because my close friends happen to be audiophiles?
Is it because access to music has changed thanks to technologies such as P2P sharing, iTunes, etc.?
Is it because music companies are pitching to a broader audience?
Is it because of Glee? (Oh God, could it be?)

As no doubt you are a young and hip music fan (if you’re taking out this CD) – I would love to know how you feel about me listening to YOUR music (and this album is brilliant, by the way). Should I pack it in and stop embarrassing myself, or does music build bridges and span generations?

Yours ’til the needle drops,

Libby

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