Our lives have five ages. Birth. School. Metallica. Solo Project Hell. And Death. Well, not quite, but what I will tell you is this. Each of our ages, and the progression within them, neatly compare to our musical tastes we keep at those times.
When you’re born, frankly, you don’t know shit. So you listen to shit. The first few years of your life, you’ll listen to anything and it’ll be fantastic.. The Tweenies. la la la. Britney Spears. Ooh splurt. Joy Division? Lovely. Bouncy bouncy, la la. Much like our lives at this age, a dimly comprehended world without any complications. Just shut up, listen to the messages. You’re overprotected. You’re not that kind of girl. Hit me baby, one more time. Smack my bitch up. Shut up. Be quiet. Be happy. All that exists is boys and girls, and how to get one, how to keep one, and what happens when they walk out of your life with a door slamming in your face. That’s when you hit Phase two.
Typical band : Britney Spears
You learn about the world. You learn that it isn’t all its cracked up to be. It isn’t all sweetness and light. Bad thing happens. You can’t always get what you want. Hearts get broken. What really happens is the toys get put away, and it hits you. It hurts you. School is where you go to learn how to be a happy worker. “School” is on side one of Nirvana’s “Bleach” album by the way. The world is fucked. Grow your hair. Or cut it. Whatever you do change it. Wear make up that looks like Stevie Wonder applied in a speeding car. Stand around public places smoking fags, wearing hoody tops with a dodgy bootleg print of your favourite My Grans Gonna Hate This band. And a skateboard. They’re so Rad man. My, how you’ve grown! Listen to the alternative. At this age you know EVERYTHING. And nothing can ever change your mind.
You fervently believe in music that’s weird and unusual and hopelessly aggressive. For no reason other than that hey, you feel pain. You know what its like when “People = Shit” and the World is your enemy. It’s Out Ta Get Me.
At this stage, there is no fairness in the life you live and you follow the pack. And the only friend you’ve got is big bad rock music. So put on stuff like Linkin Park. It won’t ever let you down. And it’ll form a golden age in your mind when at the time you had no responsibilities, and all you wanted was responsibility. And the money that came with it.
Typical band : Slipknot / Linkin Bizkit / M&M
This is it. You’re a grown up now. The world is dark, and scary. And full of dark scary things. Black writing on black. Cool huh. By now you’re probably about 22, to about 32. Oh no. You’ll never sell out. You’ll always be true to the cause. Ok. So the hairs thinning. The belly is growing. Nights out on the town seem harder work now. Gigs are too loud. And you’ve got a job. Best not to stay out too late. You’ve got a meeting in Sheffield at 10.00 tomorrow. Let‘s rewind that, you’ve got a job. You said you’d never do that. One by one compromises become a way of life. You adapt to survive. You’ve got to. You do what’s known as a “Metallica” you turn slowly from one of the most original and idealistic entities in history, into a bloated, compromised beast.
And what’s with all these kids jumping up and down at the front? They don’t even look old enough to wander around on their own legally let alone go to gigs.
It was better in the old days wasn’t it really? You can’t pinpoint the moment when it all started to go downhill. But when you were growing up music was better. You can’t prove it. But then it had wit and style. And a bit of danger. Now its so safe and corporate isn’t it? Everything’s marketed very clearly at a certain demographic, and all you are is a statistic in a marketing trend. You’re starting to look back to the golden days, that golden year, when everything was perfect. You split from your ideals, went solo, and start living in the past.
Typical band : (whatever’s on the front cover of the NME today)
SOLO PROJECT HELL
It’s not perfect anymore. You’re past your prime. Time is taking its toll - especially around the waistline. One by one, your favourite bands - those that stuck with you, those that gave you the music you loved, split, or fell into large periods of laziness, or went solo. The singer of one them has a new solo deal, bouyed up by his past for an album or two before spending all his time in a big house in the country instead spending his diminishing royalties. Or singing with a cartoon band to hide his complete lack of inspiration. After all, EMI have got to get the money back somehow, lets pretend its a big postmodern pisstake of boybands. That’ll make up for the fact its tuneless twaddle.
The TV doesn’t play the same songs anymore. The bands you grew up on don’t get shown on MTV or Radio 1 anymore. If you’re lucky Radio 2 play one-off specials, alongside maybe, just maybe, a quick snippet on Jools Holland, or maybe BBC Choice. Solo gigs are rare, one-offs, with your heroes performing songs from the past, moaning about how bad the good old days were. You’re starting to live in the past - clinging to days that weren’t that good in the first place. You know the glory days are gone, and you know you can’t ever be young again. Welcome to Hell.
Typical Band: The Verve
By this time, you don’t even care about Music. Music is some distant memory played back on those old fashioned CD’s. Remember them? They were HUGE. I mean, 5 inches of silver and all you could get was 78 minutes of music. And you had to pay a fortune for them. What a rip off. You can’t play them anymore. Nobody makes CD players now. Even MP3 players are antiquated. And vinyl records sit in museums. So the music you used to love exists only on scratchy, skippy old CD’s that are unplayable, gathering dust in junk shops, and used as doorstops and antiques in films set way back in the 2000, when mobile phones were so huge they still had buttons, and we were still commuting to work in offices. What an antiquated concept.
So death. The final hurdle. And the music you used to live for now only lives on in your memory. In half-remembered songs hummed whilst cleaning out your possessions before you go to the nursing home. So sing along in your frail octagenarian mumble “and maybe... blah blah save me... and after all... granny, whats a wonderwall?”
Typical band:........I remember when music was actually made by people not computers you know. I’m 28 you know. I didn’t fight in any wars at all. If there had been any wars I wouldn’t have fought for this. Oh no. I’d’ve fought for legalised Cannibliss (TM) and legalised prostitution.
This is the future of music. And its coming closer one second at a time. Creeping death.