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 New to Me, Old to the World

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Since I entered the University of Western Ontario last September, my taste in music has changed considerably. Since the purchase of my first CD, Offspring's Smash in grade 5 until last June, I was a sucker to popular music. Like almost every single high school student, most of my music came from the TV. The only genres that I really listened to were rock, rap, dance, and punk. I really had no choice, since I was spoon-fed these from the music station. Every single CD in my collection could have been tagged as popular music.

This changed over the summer. I admit again to having fallen victim of pop, as I did buy the new Good Charlotte CD. But, about halfway through the summer, I was watching an infomercial that was selling old CDs from the '60s. I heard a few bands that I already knew, like the Lovin' Spoonful and the Mamas and Papas. The other bands fascinated me, and I set out to hear more of this music from the "good old happy days." I bought the Guess Who's Greatest Hits, and since then a ton of my old CDs have become just that - old. I waited patiently until the beginning of university so I could reconnect to the Internet and get my hands on more music. And after Frosh week, which I suffered a number of hard day's nights, I was ready to begin.

So there I was, sitting at my new desk in my new residence room, thinking for a few minutes where I'd start. I decided to get some stuff that I was familiar with. I began downloading Beatles' songs. I found that their music changed so much from when they started to when they walked down the long and winding road and split, and unlike bands today that change their music, theirs was really good. Now I know the words to "Mean Mr. Mustard" by heart, and the same applies to a lot of their other stuff. Some songs, like "Hello Goodbye" and "Hey Jude," I had heard before, but I didn't know the Beatles sang them.

Now, I didn't stop there. I have a few friends here that have been into that music for some time, so I was able to borrow a number of CDs. I listened to the Greatest Hits of Paul McCartney, Simon and Garfunkel, and the Beach Boys. Oh, darling! I was so impressed with the time this music was made in that it is the only type of music you will find me listening to these days.

Even the Monkeys, who are often frowned upon for being manufactured, have some really good songs. I even went sideways and got other types of music from that era, like Stevie Wonder, Rod Stewart, and Elton John. Even though they have different sounds, they all come together to create an extremely good sound.

I'm not the only person this has happened to. My roommate has also added a significant chunk of oldies music to his collection of punk and rap. Sometimes I laugh when I hear a Matchbook Romance song followed by "Old Time Rock and Roll." Anyway, I was wondering what contributed to this change of taste.

Earlier in the year, we were playing punk here, there, and everywhere, and now we listened to very different music. Although it is generally known that people go through major culture shocks when in university, that was not a good enough answer for me. Sure, I'm going through the years when I will experience the most change, but I wanted an answer, and I wanted a good one.

Besides, not everyone changes their music taste in their late teens and early 20s, so I sent that theory out the window and across the universe.

As a little child, I was never exposed to this music. Although my father listened to music that I do enjoy now, such as Andre Rieu, my liking to this never developed until recently. My mother listens to the Rolling Stones, and although I heard this music when I was younger, I just didn't like it all that much. My older brother and sister were my main sources of new music, and it is mainly through them that I based my CD collection on.

So I thought that maybe the reason that I didn't listen to this earlier is simply because I wasn't hearing it enough, and that maybe I needed to have it hammered into my head before I started to like it. But the fact remains that I heard it, but I didn't like it. So this idea was no good either. So the question remains: Why do I like music now, at the age of 18, that I didn't like when I was 15? It's only been three short years. It feels like just yesterday.

As I stated a few paragraphs ago, most of my music was influenced by what I saw on TV. So maybe it is because I saw the infomercial on TV that I began to like oldies. This is reasonable, because maybe due to the fact that it was on TV, it was more presentable. I wasn't one to listen to a radio station that was playing oldies, it was always pop and rock while in the car. And this particular infomercial was at 1 in the morning, and Saturday Night live just finished and frankly there was nothing else to watch. It was also an interesting infomercial, because there were a lot of fun colors.

It's not like I watched this and my jaw dropped and suffered a major 30-minute culture shock; it took time to develop. I didn't see the light while watching the TV at 1 in the morning and there was no major revolution going on in my head. I didn't even start liking the music until significantly later, so this theory is no longer true, at least not in my case.

I've been thinking about this for a while now, and I simply couldn't come up with an answer. I was talking about it with my friends the other day over lunch, and one of them said that the Beatles were, in fact, a pop group. I knew this, but never in my life had I thought about it. So, technically, I am still listening to pop music, just not today's pop. And it doesn't even answer my question because I never saw much of it on TV. It's logic to think that in a way I am listening to the same "genre" as I've always been to: pop. But today's pop is much different than that of the '60s.

One of the better theories is that of the all-powerful phase. How many people go through phases? Everyone. You don't see many people still sporting the clothes and hair that they had in the '80s. Maybe my childhood was a phase. Maybe right now is a phase. I won't be able to know which is right until later in life, when I'm 64, and I can look back and see which genres have left a lasting impression on me.

So now that I know that I won't have an answer to my case, I set out to find out some things that may help me reason with this dilemma. First off, I am part of a very small minority that listens to this music at my age. Only a few of my friends enjoy the melodies of old-time music. Second of all, most people that listen to the Byrds and the Turtles today do so because it was popular when they were my age. And lastly, as far as today's pop music is concerned, I still dig it.

There are a few possible answers that could help me with my query. It could be the atmosphere I live in that allows my mind to enjoy simple music. Maybe it's because I've reached a more relaxed stage in my years, and this music is softer. I was more energetic in high school, and that may be why I liked faster music. Even though I couldn't find a good and complete answer, I am satisfied because in the process I've found an entire genre of music that I could spend my whole life exploring and never reach the end.

The Reader's Challenge:

In each paragraph in this article, including this one, there is the title of a Beatle's song. I challenge you to locate each song. Some of them are easily more evident than others. Here are the rules to this challenge:

-Not all of the songs were released as singles, thus not all of them are necessarily very popular

-All of the songs were released as a Beatles' songs

-The three songs quoted in the second paragraph do NOT count

-The song and the word "Because" is excluded from this challenge as I had to
use it on numerous occasions

-No song is repeated

-If, you find two songs in one paragraph, it was done unintentionally

-There are, in total, 14 songs


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