“They don’t make them like this anymore”; a 30-something mourning the loss of her taste in music.

Please could you all check down the side of your sofa? In your garden shed? The boot of your car? Because I’ve lost something pretty valuable and I desperately want it back. It’s my music taste, you see. It’s gone. AWOL. Vanished. Missing, presumed dead.

I first got into music at around 10 or 11. This was 1988. Now, I wasn’t listening to your usual 80s pop for a girl of that age. No Bros, Pet Shop Boys, Erasure. No, I was into Guns n Roses, Metallica and Def Leppard. I blame my brother, being five years older than me, I copied his taste. It was those bands that we taped off the Radio One Chart Show, fingers poised above the tape deck pause button on a Sunday evening. I even had a Guns n Roses “Use Your Illusion II” t-shirt, which was fairly unusual attire for a small freckled Scottish girl growing up in the sticks. We’d sometimes sit in the back of my parent’s Vauxhall Viva, a Walkman in between us with one earphone each, singing the lyrics to Faith No More’s Epic.

I liked being a bit different. It was 1994 in Miss Selfridge on Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow, while waiting outside the fitting room, that I caught a glimpse on a TV screen of the band that would play an enormous role in my life. Oasis. The sight of their incredible frontman had my jaw on the shop floor. And once I discovered that two of the band shared my then surname, Gallagher, well, I was hooked. I bought every single on the day of release from Supersonic through to 1998 (when they stopped being good, in my opinion). My very first proper concert * was in the summer of 1996, when they played on the banks of Loch Lomond exactly one week before they broke every record going at Knebworth. A pretty special way to begin your love of live music. (*this is a lie, my actual real first concert was Roxette at Ingliston, Edinburgh, but that wasn’t my choice and I didn’t really know the songs, so there!)

Britpop came along just at the right time for me, last few years of high school, starting university. Britpop was my Beatles. Every song I hear from that era reminds me of a day, a pub, a club, a person. The theme song for our university year group was Pulp’s Disco 2000, released in 1996, the same year we started out. “Let’s all meet up in the year 2000, won’t it be strange when we’re all fully grown?”. It was as though it was written for us.

The Stone Roses, The Charlatans, Elastica, Sleeper, Supergrass, Blur….the list goes on. 1999 saw the release of the first album by my second favourite band, Muse. And so, time went on, I dabbled in dance music, house, triphop, hiphop, a hefty old dose of Take That.

Little did I know that at the opposite end of the country, another Britpop fan was listening to the same songs, living a life with the same soundtrack. It was really no surprise to either of us that when choosing our wedding venue, music was a massive consideration. To find a stunning building which would double as one giant iPod speaker for our very own playlists was a dream come true. Weeks, and I mean WEEKS, were spent sitting in front of iTunes, haggling with each other over what would make the final cut. We had everything from Muse to Morecambe and Wise, Belle and Sebastian to Burt Bacharach. It made our wedding day.

My husband’s favourite band is Belle and Sebastian. I wrote to the lead singer, Stuart Murdoch, prior to our wedding to ask for a message, I didn’t expect a response. So, when we received a hand-written postcard tailored exactly to my husband, well, we were blown away. We played their song “I Didn’t See It Coming” to my bump when I was pregnant, singing a duet in the car together. Our little girl knows the song and starts dancing to it now, she’s been influenced well! Even our bedroom wall is decorated with the lyrics of a song by The Rapture.

We went to see Muse at Wembley Stadium when I was 5 months pregnant, she was kicking like mad. I like to think that she was rocking out, but she was probably saying “turn it down Mum!”. She also went to Latitude Festival whilst in utero. We took the inspiration for our daughter’s name from a piece of music. Even our cat’s called Elvis.

Anyway. I could go on all day long, but you get the gist of it. Music is HUGE to us. There’s an unspoken rule in our house; if we are awake then we are listening to music.

But wait. Why have I issued the above plea for my missing music taste? Well, something awful has happened. I’ve only gone and lost it. I’ve lost the buzz. I am out of touch. I can’t get past the 90s and the Britpop era. I even say things like “they don’t make them like this anymore”, or worse “turn this OFF, it’s just a noise!”. At a cheesy nightclub a few weeks back on a girly night out, I was awkwardly shuffling around the dance floor to various songs that I didn’t know. “They don’t play this kind of thing on Radio 2”, I shouted, trying to make myself heard over Rihanna.

Our daughter seems to love her music and so if she ever dances to anything or her little head turns towards our amazing Ruark music system with a smile on her face, then I download it for her. This means that, I am ashamed and horrified to admit, the last 5 songs I downloaded on iTunes are by Olly Murs, Katy Perry, Maroon 5, Jessie J and Rizzle Kicks.

And don’t even get me started on the nursery rhymes plaguing my playlists!

I know that these acts are very popular, they are topping the charts. But, something inside me dies every time I hear a bit of Labrinth (it’s not even spelled correctly for heaven’s sake!).

So, there you are. Yes, I admit that I am trapped back in time, inside I am wearing Kickers and a James daisy t-shirt. My iPod is slowly being taken over. I need help. Please, someone, save me from the tunes of today and help me get my music taste back.

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8 Comments on ““They don’t make them like this anymore”; a 30-something mourning the loss of her taste in music.”

  1. I’ll look down the back of my sofa……It happens to all of us…I have lost touch and then got back in touch with musical tastes several times over the years. Right now I’m halfway…and share your reservations over the dubious musical pleasures of Rizzle Kicks. Really good post though – I can identify a lot with it! My cat’s called Ziggy…

  2. Off Duty Mom says:

    I loved this post.

    I, too, have come to be irritated with the way music has gone here in the US.
    http://offdutymom.wordpress.com/2012/03/05/bikinis-zucchinis-martinis-no-weenies/

    You should try Rock-a-Bye Baby soundtracks. They are lullabies for your babies/kids, but when you listen closely, the songs are from your favorite artists. I have the one for The Cure. They were always my favorite. But, they also have Guns-n-Roses, Metallica and tons more. I want The Smiths and The Pixies for my kids!

    Check it out: http://www.rockabyebabymusic.com/ecom/music?p=1

  3. […] who on earth the songs were written by or for (my music taste has stuttered since the 90s you see, I thought Rita Ora was a drink), watching the faux-arguments between the judges…….and […]

  4. Love this blog! I find myself wandering around the music section of the supermarket wrestling with my conscience as I pick up the Wand Erection CD that my daughter keeps talking about (she has never even heard it, not in this house). Should I buy Jesse J for her and let her have some ‘kids’ music. And, my conscience won. No! Well yes she has some downloaded Eliza Doolittle and the such, but she prefers to ‘mosh’ to some Queens of the Stone Age or Foofighters. I am still searching for mine, not down the back of the sofa. Love your old music tastes btw!

  5. Steve says:

    I feel your pain. I did something very desperate the other week. I bought a turntable! I record player! I rooted out the box box of vinyl in the attic and started listening. Once I’d got over the fact that I can’t skip tracks, and that until I’d cleaned the records themselves they sounded like something from the 50’s, I fell in love again with all those great albums I had from the 80’s, and 90’s before CD’s and iTunes ruined everything. (Well Ok they didn’t ruin everything, but the pleasure of sitting cross-legged on the floor with the album cover in hand is still unmatched by any high resolution iPod screen).

    Something else very weird happened. My 15yr old son sat with me for a while, probably intrigued by the odd contraption in front of him, and listed for a while. After berating me for listening to Genesis (fair point), he went upstairs and started Googling vinyl of his favourite bands (mostly screamo metal stuff that I must admit liking too). Thirty minutes later he was chuffed with having ordered a couple of Enter Shikari LP’s. On Vinyl.

    So, my suggestion? Start frequenting charity shops, eBay, and the weird record fairs that are tucked away in village halls, and grab a tangible slice of music as it used to be. If it all fails, then you can always do what I used to do with my dad’s old 78’s and use them as frisbees.


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