I've spent a lot of time recently wondering when people stop searching for new music to listen to.
At what point do people stop tuning into radio stations that play new, or newish, music and start listening for station that play the music they listened to between junior high and, say, 27?
I don't listen to music on the radio, much. Stations piss me off with all their commercials and intros and traffic updates and inane DJ chatter, so I tend to listen to NPR because the major commercials only come twice a year and the chatter is is less inane. Still, there are those moments when I just don't want to consider anything and I'll flip through the radio. And, like most everyone else, I'll stop on songs that I recognize, songs that I can sing along with.
A few months ago, during all this overtime stuff, I started listening to Last.FM when I could. It's great fun because you put in the name of an artist you like and then it plays music by people who are similar. Without it I'd never have experienced the joys of listening to Moxy Früvous and Julia Nunes, among others. (Although the damn radio keeps trying to slip in Hootie & the Blowfish songs, which sucks seahorse scrōt.) So, in that way I've started to move out of what I know and into finding other things, even if I don't buy any CDs or songs from iTunes or wherever, I'm getting to know some new, to me at least, artists.
Still, though I wonder when people stop listening for new things. When driving through the valley on my way to the airport a few weeks ago, there were a bunch of stations claiming to play the best of the '80s and '90s, stuff for my generation. Have we, or many of us at least, already shut off our desire for new music and only want to listen to what we already know? We're only in our thirties, for Xusia's sake!
Anyway, thinking along that line led me to start thinking about my dad. He used to be a pretty big music guy. Lots of records from the '60s and '70s, but not much of anything, if anything at all, from the three decades following. Seems like he sort of quit buying, and maybe listening, to new music between the time my mom got pregnant with me and when they got married. When he discovered modern day record clubs, he bought stuff from his youth. The radio in the house was, except for days when snow was on the ground, tuned to stations claiming to play "the best of the '60s and '70s." and eventually branched out to include the '80s.
I decided to make a mix for him of artists he may have heard coming from my room when I was younger or never heard at all.
I have a few questions, though, that maybe someone out in bland (you know, blog land) might be able to help me with:
1. I have to include The Dresden Dolls. Finding this band was one of my happiest musical moments in recent years. Right now I'm planning on putting "Coin-Operated Boy" on the CD because it's the most accessible song, I think. It's fun, but not my favorite. It's not like "Dear Jenny" or "Girl Anachronism" or "Dirty Business," but are those too outrageous for my dad? Should I play it safe, or throw him into the deep end?
2. I choose Cake's "Love You Madly" because it's a fun song, but I also thought about "Short Skirt, Long Jacket" and "Going the Distance" and "Building A Religion." Maybe something else? Cake has a lot of great songs, so it's hard for me to choose. The only reason I chose "Love You Madly" is because it was the first song that popped into my head when I thought about putting Cake on the CD.
3. Semisonic's "Closing Time" was choosen because it's a good, catchy song. Hell, it was a single for a reason. (It also has a real bad ass video.) The song's excellent, there's no way for me to deny it, but it's not my favorite. My favorite is "Gone to the Movies." So do I pick my favorite song or a recognized great song?
4. The song I'm most unsure of is "Six Different Ways" from The Cure. I just really enjoy the song, but don't think it really represents The Cure. Any suggestions?