A few months ago my daughter told me that she was going to a live concert at the O2 in London. My immediate thought was that she was going to see one of the new bands that she continually ’educates’ me about. But to my surprise she announced she was going to see Queen. Queen were producing greatest hits albums when I was her age!
When we go on long road trips as a family we often do 'pass the Phone' to allow everyone to have a go at selecting the music. I am constantly surprised how many times my kids select what I would call older music - David Bowie, ELO, Prince, AC DC, Michael Jackson etc etc. In fact I am often lambasted for my choice of newer pop songs…the kids detest Bieber, T Swift et al. What is going on?!
But when I sat back and thought about it this all makes sense. My kids have access to huge libraries of music that just didn't exist when I was their age. I remember that at their age, I only owned about 8-10 albums and maybe 15-20 singles. Over many plays, these records used to get so damaged that I would sing along with the scratches because I knew each track back to front. I would have to save up my pocket money in order to go and buy the record I wanted and would make a trip with my friends to the record store and rush home to listen. It was an event!
I also remember the excitement of getting my tape recorder with its 'condensed microphone' for my birthday one year. Every Sunday I would spend the afternoon recording the latest hits off the radio whilst trying to make sure I did not record any 'bad' songs and try to avoid any talking from the DJ
Because of this automatic restriction on consumption we had no choice but to select only certain types of music. There was simply not enough money available to create an eclectic taste. My theory is that this is where the cliques came from...Punk, Mod, Rockers etc. - all part of teenage desire to belong and rebel. Now there are no restrictions in this vast online catalogue, so this is why there are not the same fashions based on music as there were in the past...you just don’t see so many Goths, Romantics or modern day equivalents. Since music and fashion used to be so tightly coupled I think the lack of really innovative new fashions are a function of the lack of new creative types of music.
I think it is amazing that my children have access to virtually every major artist and album ever made! Their tastes are now very eclectic, a real mix of old and new.