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Marissa Lingen

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Young ‘uns [Jan. 26th, 2016|08:33 am]
Marissa Lingen
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A few weeks ago, when we were having a rash of notable deaths, one of my friends was asking, in her grief, whether it would just be like this from here on out. One of her icons, one of her heroes, after another. And Tim very quietly said to me, “Now would be a great time to start liking the work of artists younger than yourself. Every time is a great time.”

Well: yeah. And the immediate aftermath of a death is not the right time to say it more loudly than that, which is why I waited. But yeah. Because you’re not trying to replace anybody. No one will ever replace the artists of your childhood, the people who inspired you in your teens, those who touched your heart and lifted your mind in the first days you were an adult. Those people are irreplaceable.

But that doesn’t mean you go quietly into a downhill spiral of fewer and fewer artists to love. I think too many people do. The studies show it: most people stop liking new music in their late twenties or early thirties. They stop seeking it out–or maybe they never sought it out, and they stop being in situations where it finds them automatically. I think this is maybe less true on average for books and movies, but still somewhat true: the shape of things you seek out slows down.

And it gets easier to feel like the world is getting worse. Like things are getting sadder, diminishing. But they’re not. There’s more good stuff out there. The kids are not only all right, they can be there so that when the artist who was 30 when you were 15–30 and living hard, 30 and partying all night on the tour bus–turns out to be mortal, as statistically it turns out a great many of us are–there’s the artist who was 15 when you were 30.

And no, they don’t sound the same. They won’t feel like being 17 and having your life ahead of you. They’ll feel like being 37, or 57, or 87. And still choosing to have your life ahead of you.

That’s a pretty good thing to sound like too.

Originally published at Novel Gazing Redux


[User Picture]From: redbird
2016-01-26 05:04 pm (UTC)
It would help if dying wasn't the best way for an artist or band to get mentioned in the media. Yes, David Bowie has a new album, released just before he died: that doesn't mean his earlier albums are better now than they were in November 2015, but the news of his death seems to have prompted a lot of people to think things like "maybe I should buy Ziggy Stardust on CD."

(And this is not something you can do anything about, and may not be fixable in general: nobody, including the musician, could have predicted the shape of his career when he released his first recording.)
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[User Picture]From: dichroic
2016-01-29 05:51 pm (UTC)
Part of that is just reminders too - I didn't own David Bowie recordings at the time of his death, because the time of my life when I was listening to him more was back when I had more of my music on cassette tapes. I have all of my CDs uploaded electronically, but no tapes. And so all the news coverage reminded me to go out and rebuy the same album I used to listen to, in a format I can hear now.
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[User Picture]From: asakiyume
2016-01-26 06:19 pm (UTC)
This is why I really want to find a way to continue being around young people (i.e., high school and early twenties). It's also one reason why I like being online--you rub shoulders with people of all ages.

I find all sorts of musical and literary goodness out there from people younger than I am :-)
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[User Picture]From: wshaffer
2016-01-26 11:19 pm (UTC)
Some years back, I realized that I'd gotten into a musical rut, and began a concerted effort to search out new artists that I'd enjoy. There seems to be an interesting statistical tendency for my very favorite musicians to be very close to me in age. I can't quite decide if this reflects that there's something about music made by people in a similar stage of life that resonates with me, or if it's just a historical accident, due to some of my favorite genres having flourished in the 90s.

In any case, there are also enough younger folk making music that I like that I don't ever expect to run out of new music to discover.
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[User Picture]From: buymeaclue
2016-01-27 01:19 am (UTC)
It is, it is, it is.
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[User Picture]From: ashnistrike
2016-01-28 04:54 am (UTC)
Oh yes. Same goes for friends, one of the most useful lessons I've learned from Jo. We have a new babysitter who is 14 and great company.

I hypothesize that some of that musical cut-off is having kids. You don't have much time for novelty-seeking, the first few years, and many people probably get out of the habit. (Although in testing this hypothesis, I looked at my media list and found that I read 7 new-to-me authors last year in spite of reading fewer books than at any other time in my adult life. But no new music, because unpredictable auditory stimuli and babies who have trouble sleeping are a bad combination.)
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[User Picture]From: dichroic
2016-01-29 05:57 pm (UTC)
Listening to new genres helps with this too, because you naturally end up hearing new musicians of all ages as you explore. Especially when the new genres turn out to be just a new name for something you already liked. ("Americana" is closer to what I mean by "singer-songwriter" music than what, say, Sirius radio plays as "singer-songwriter", which is often just acoustic versions of pop songs. And a lot of new country music is pretty close to the country/folk/blues side of the early 70s rock music I imprinted on.)
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[User Picture]From: whswhs
2016-01-30 04:59 pm (UTC)
My last atttempt to explore more recent music involved putting a couple of favorite songs into Pandora and seeing what else it came up with. That led me to "Through the Glass" (Susan Werner) and "Lovely Hours" (Willow Willow)—not cutting edge artists, but more recent than the ones I was familiar with—and I have both songs in iTunes now. Unfortunately Pandora didn't expose me to any of their other work, and after about a month it settled into a routine of playing mostly the same list of Bob Seger songs. Perhaps I shouldn't have hit Like and Dislike so much; that might have narrowed its selection criteria too far.

Fortunately between you and sartorias and the people on autopope's blog, I hear about enough new sf/fantasy to keep discovering new authors.
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[User Picture]From: zalena
2016-02-02 01:45 pm (UTC)
It's true, pop music has become incredibly irrelevant in my life. But I make more music now than I ever have and am exploring different styles and genre. I just connected with a chamber music society whose primary passion is tango!
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2016-02-02 08:14 pm (UTC)
Yeah, artists younger than yourself and cutting-edge pop definitely do not have to be the same thing.
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