The Disconnect Of Music

BrokenI’m amazed at the differences that music, books, and movies have from each other, at least from my perspective.  Aside from the very evident aging aspects that can be seen and heard in these things, there seems to be a bit of a psychological approach these things bring to you.  Confused?  Me too.  But let’s try this:

Books have an ability to show their age in writing style.  Often, they are books that you’ve read when you were younger.   They have their meaning in your life, but they’re usually not something that you get back to again so they retain a nostalgic value.  And there is no disconnect.  Chances are a really great, satisfying story is in your future.

Movies also shows their age.  Often, they do so more than books but, for the most part, a film is deeply appreciated and highly respected for the legend that it has become, or the personal favorite it shows itself to be in your life.  It too has a nostalgic value.  And, like books, but generally much more often, you can revisit a film to scratch an itch.  And there is no disconnect.  Chances are quite high that you will see many more great movies in your future.

Film and books have a shared unique experience.  They continue to be created and enjoyed by us.  We continue to attach ourselves to favorites as they release.  It seems to be an ongoing process.  There will always be a bunch of satisfying books being written, now and into the future.  Somewhere, a few of those will become some of my most favorite stories.  The same with film.  Technology improves, and movies get better and better.  Somewhere, a few are going into my All Time favorite lists.

But music.  Well, there’s something for you.  It readily shows its age, sure enough.  But something happens with music that usually does not happen with movies and books.  A disconnect forms.

As we age, the music that we grew up with stays with us.  It’s a small, compact form of recognition.  You will revisit a song in your lifetime many times.  On the radio, in collected media (DD, CD, LP), as acquired ‘best of’ packages, in reissued and remastered packages, and in the happenstance of life, as sound-perfect memories.

But a strange disconnect forms.  As we age, the music that comes after should be developed and continually rewarding experiences, like films and books.  But it doesn’t really happen that way.  Instead, we lose our grasp on a very important part of our life that no longer reflects us.  The music we grew up become very ancient.  Loved and respected, to be sure.  Familiar and comforting, absolutely.  But ancient.

Here’s the hard part to explain.  As you grew up, you anticipated the progressions of your favorite bands.  As your life progressed, the music went with you.  You had an anticipation.  You had an in-place connection.  The next new album from Led Zeppelin, or The Beatles, or the Stones, or whoever, served to satisfy you, even if the album wasn’t what you expected.  You felt it would last forever.  And it didn’t.

Bands ceased because of deaths, or disagreements in directions.  They left behind monumental classics.  Some even continued to exist.  But most lost their way as well.  And the new music, unlike books and movies, failed to capture too much of your attention.

Why?  Because the compactness of music changes too much.  We can’t keep up. You feel a huge sense of loss because you know inside of you that the album you loved thirty or forty years ago is that old.  You know that an album of that quality is not forthcoming anymore.  Not by that band, and likely not by a new band.  The gap is far too wide.  In a way, there is a sense of emptiness.

This is how I feel, how I look at things.  It’s how I mourn the loss of something very important to me.  Yes, I can sometimes find something very pleasant to enjoy in this day and age, but it doesn’t carry the weight that the earlier music did.  Now, I just feel like an historian, carrying the music of a lost time, and unable to keep current because the craft has changed that dramatically.

This is the way I feel about this thing.  And chances are I have failed miserably at ably communicating my feelings on this.  How do you feel? (Should I see a shrink?)