Wisdom is supposed to come with age, but so do certain harsh truths.
Yes, the body creaks a lot more, hangovers last longer, and going to bed after 10 p.m. seems like a foreign concept, but lately, I’ve been noticing a few harsh realities.
Do any of the following statements strike too close to home?
- The music played in the grocery store seems to be a lot cooler. When I stocked shelves back in high school, the rule was only light, inoffensive, and, if possible, instrumental music was to be played in the store. When I went to pick up some dinner the other afternoon, I heard The Smiths’ How Soon is Now playing in the produce section. That sent me to the liquor store where I heard Come As You Are from Nirvana, which depressed me enough that it required a purchase of a second bottle of vodka. Enduring a five-hour Air Canada delay at Boston’s Logan Airport on Thursday, I found myself humming along to MGMT’s Kids which was playing in the terminal.
- Teenagers tell me that the biggest song from the 1980s is actually Break My Stride by Matthew Wilder. While I’ve always thought of this as a one-hit-wonder curiosity from 1983, it’s been resurrected for Gen Z as the soundtrack to countless TikTok dances. Not only has it had more than 40 million views on YouTube, but it’s also been streamed nearly 300 million times on Spotify, largely because TikTok got young’uns into the song.
- I’m both chuffed and annoyed that Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill is a big hit as a result of being used in a scene in Stranger Things 4. I love that this masterpiece is now being appreciated by a new generation 37 years later while simultaneously thinking, “Damn kids! That’s MY generation’s song! And now you’re going to ruin it by liking it!”
- You remember a time when “going viral” meant coming home from school with chicken pox.
- Are you confused when someone points out that the first Lollapalooza tour took place 31 years ago and that it was conceived as an alternative festival? Check out this year’s poster to see how much things have changed.
- I tense up whenever a younger person refers to their record collection as “vinyls.”
- Meanwhile, the insistence that cassettes are back in vogue makes me crazy. Anyone who fetishes cassettes today wasn’t around when they were the only thing we had if we wanted to take our music with us. They’ve never experienced a tape jam, a melt mark on the dashboard, or treading upon a pile of them on the floor of your buddy’s car.
- Paul McCartney turns 80 this month. Stevie Nicks is somehow 74. Heck, at 57, Eddie Vedder now qualifies for some senior discounts.
- As of this year, Kurt Cobain has been dead for longer than he was alive.
- You decide to prove to yourself that you’re still hip when it comes to new music only to give up after a few days because music was obviously so much better when you were young.
- Your kids laugh at you when you tell them that you used to line up overnight to buy concert tickets. If you really want to give them a giggle, tell them about the times you waited for a record store to open at midnight so you could be the first to own a hot new album.
- Remember when all concert tickets were stamped with “No cameras or recording devices?”
- More with concerts: Do you look at the PA systems bands use now and wonder where all the speakers have gone?
- Somewhere in the house is a box of DVDs featuring compilations of the music videos from your favourite groups. Bonus points if you can substitute “VHS tapes” for “DVD.”
- On that topic, does there seem to be more people with canes and walkers at the concerts you attend? And are you relieved when everyone finally sits down to watch the show?
- When did the techno of your college days start being called “EDM?”
- Those flights where the flight attendants (they were “stewardesses” back then) played the same movie for the whole plane. And let’s not even talk about those weird non-electric stethoscope-type earphones everyone had to use. (Sidebar: You could smoke on airplanes then, too. And yes, the smoke inevitably drifted everywhere in the cabin, so there really wasn’t a point in having smoking rows.)
- A little bit of you died when Radio Shack stopped publishing their annual catalogue in 2011.
- You saw a movie at the mall and then bought the soundtrack at HMV on the way out. (Another sidebar: Did the original Top Gun really come out 36 years ago? Yes. Yes, it did. And where are you, Kelly McGillis?)
- Anyone else as excited about the return of CREEM magazine as I am? Boy howdy!
- You called a radio station to request a song and then (if you got through) waited for it to be played.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go shout at some clouds.
Alan Cross is a broadcaster with Q107 and 102.1 the Edge and a commentator for Global News.
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