Old Music, not bad music

Jake Sinatra (TheLorian)

The American Culture has always been heavily reliant on the music of the time to form the societal practices of the country. With Bluegrass Jazz in the 1800s and early 1900s, the start of swing in the Roaring 20s, the rise of names like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr., and of course the eras of slow rock, hard rock, hip-hop, old school rap, and new school rap, every standard of entertainment has dictated the behaviors of society. Take Janice Joplin: the epitome of the hippie, heartfelt rock genre at events like Woodstock. Compare her to names like Pitbull who perform at Lala Palooza. The atmosphere of the events very closely aligned with the performers’ styles.

The great thing about America is that anyone can produce any music they want. However, it seems like our current culture has decided that any music produced before the past five years is suddenly “old”. That is the term I hear when I play early Kanye music, Queen, or Outkast: “old”. So what if it is old? Does the current era suddenly decide whether a hit song or band for decades at a time is suddenly unworthy of being listened to? For example, one of my friends is a big fan of Panic! at the Disco. She loves their music, but for some reason when I listen to their album “A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out,” which has two of my all-time favorite songs on it, she criticizes me. “That is such an old album, play newer stuff.” Yes, the album was released in 2005, but that does not mean the music is bad in itself; and it isn’t just seen with my friend.

I see it all over the campus here at Loras. Even songs that were released two years ago are “old”, and I am told to play the new stuff. If a song is good, it is good. End of story. I have over 1000 songs on my Apple Music account, with the oldest one being performed in 1906, and the newest one having been released in Sept. 2021. I have a playlist that contains bands from over a 30-year stretch. If a song truly carries musical meaning, then what does the age of the song have to do with the power of its message or the catchiness of its beat? Absolutely nothing. Yet, we can see it in every aspect of life outside of music as well. People constantly want something “new”. We purchase the newest iPhone released every year and my sister buys a new shirt or pair of jeans every week based on the current fad at her high school. I think we as a culture need to go back to enjoying beauty for beauty and not try to immediately find something new to look at. After all, the most beautiful masterpieces ever created are the ones we still look at for reference.

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