Why do old people hate new music?

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    From Yahoo News:

    Why do old people hate new music?

    When I was a teenager, my dad wasn’t terribly interested in the music I liked. To him, it just sounded like “a lot of noise,” while he regularly referred to the music he listened to as “beautiful.”

    This attitude persisted throughout his life. Even when he was in his 80s, he once turned to me during a TV commercial featuring a 50-year-old Beatles tune and said, “You know, I just don’t like today’s music.”


    “All parts should go together without forcing. You must remember that the parts you are reassembling were disassembled by you. Therefore, if you can’t get them together again, there must be a reason. By all means, do not use a hammer.” —IBM Manual, 1925

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    I think “exposure effect” theory has its merits. It would explain outliers like myself and my dad. However, I think there is more to it than that.

    My dad was born in 1933, which would make him a teenager when rock and roll was born. My dad dislikes rock and roll and most pop music. His musical tastes tend towards classical music and country. Whenever I visited him at his office, his radio would play either classical music or talk radio (Rush Limbaugh, mostly). The only time I would hear him listen to country was at his home and that was probably because my mom was playing the radio. I think the bulk of my dad’s exposure to new music was during high school. He was in the school’s band (he and his school band played at Rose Parade – 1951, I think) and that was perhaps the bulk of his new music exposure (other than what he heard while in the army for the next three years after graduation). My dad never gets music CDs or records for his birthday or Christmas because he never requests them. He just doesn’t listen to music. Talk radio is his thing…and Minnesota Vikings football.

    On the other extreme, I still enjoy new music. Part of it is because I regularly listen to a contemporary radio station at least 30-40 minutes every work day (mostly in my car driving to and from work) and sometimes at home. New music is introduced regularly (although at a slower pace than I would sometimes like). There are times someone on FB posts a recent video from a band I never heard of and it sparks interest and I sometimes go on a buying spree of their music. Many times I enjoy the soundtrack of a recent movie (Dunkirk is the most recent one I can remember). Well, that might not count as “NEW” since the music is composed by older musicians. But it’s new music to me!

    I don’t listen to oldies stations, even though they tend to play the music I listened to in my high school and college years. I get bored with oldies music (I heard it all before dammit!) and I switch to a different station after only a few songs. A colleague of mine listens to oldies music (1970’s Rock) in her office all the time and probably fits in the “old people don’t like new music” stereotype. T

    Then again, I still listen to my older music on my MP3 server and Amazon music (ELO, REM, APP, TMBG, BNL, etc.- OK BNL and TMBG are not that old but I couldn’t stop the acronym thing) but sometimes I do that out of habit and want to hear something familiar and comfortable. My exploration of the older stuff does not last long, however. I get bored or I’m not in the right mood for that music.

    One reason I like listening to newer music – perhaps the biggest reason – is it inspires me and gives me wonderful visuals. I’m a big fan of Jean-Michael Jarre (New Age Electonica music best known for his Oxygen album) because his music gives me outer space visuals of solar system sized space craft, robots building space radio telescopes, (violent) death of the Universe, etc. This visual thing is not limited to instrumentals (which is mostly what Jarre does). I’ve gotten all sorts of visuals from Pink Floyd, Alan Parsons Project and Moody Blues. More recent songs like We Are Young and Pompeii have given me all sorts of visuals. Many times my visuals have no relation to the lyrics of the song. For example, Tove Lo’s song “Habits (Stay High)” is about loneliness, drug addiction and heartbreak. Does my imagery reflect that? No. Instead, I take the title of the song quite literally and imagined the singer doing the Felix Baumgartner by being dressed in a space suit and jumping off a helium balloon while singing he song.

    Anyway, I digress. The problem with the article is that the main premise “old people don’t like new music” is not backed by scientific evidence. No surveys, no studies, nothing. It’s just personal anecdotal evidence on the author’s part. If an actual survey was conducted, I would think the results would be different than what the author would claim. Based on my experience (again, anecdotal evidence) I would expect to see a correlation of age with the dislike of new music but I do not think it would be as strong as the author suggests. I don’t like how the author pigeon holed a whole generation and I think people are more complex than that stereo type he presented.

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    I actually listen to quite a bit of what’s called “downtempo” EDM, or electronic dance music; some folks call that same genre “chill-out” music. Royksopp is a good example of it, and I have sorely missed them since they decided that albums are no longer a thing and now they’ll just sporadically issue a single now and then every few years. I have kids, so chances are I’m exposed to more “new” sounds than I might be otherwise, and some of it’s really good.

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