soundtracking with Robert Szkolnicki: thoughts on our changing soundtracks

June 12, 2012

This tweet from Disquiet was a thought about the recent death of the former member of the Bee Gees. To me, this comment is a reminder that our musical soundtrack changes as we get older.

When we are young, our musical influences were our parents, older brothers and sisters, friends and what we heard on radio. As we get older, we come into contact with new influences in the form of new friends and new media outlets.

To me, and to many of a certain age group, radio was the device that allowed us to experience music in a social collective. You were listening to the same song with thousands of other people. If you liked what you heard then you went to the record store and bought the album. If you didn’t like what you heard then you moved to a new radio station.

To a different age group, music videos and MuchMusic became the new social collective. The result was the same, in that if you liked what you heard (and saw) then you bought the album. If not then you moved on.

Ah, moving on. That happens in so many ways as we age. Friends drift away. We move to a different apartment or house (city! country!!). Marriage and kids. The “important” items of our youth get left behind. We also leave behind the prejudices of our early years.

Through the years, we not only have the opportunity to hear more music, we have the opportunity to hear older music in a different context.

Music makes an important impression in movies and television. Mad Men, anything with Quentin Tarantino involved features music (artists) that we should not forget.

So yes the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack may not have been in your social circle when it was first released. Many years later and seeing the movie with older eyes, you might say, okay I get it. It’s not that bad.

The new album by Saint Etienne, Words and Music by Saint Etienne, has an opening track about growing up with music. The setting is in a different part of the world from me but the effect of music is the same. The spoken word ends with an important question. You might have already faced it. Maybe you will.

Check out Over the Border.


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