Saturday, February 24, 2007

Hipness and Music

The other day, I picked up the latest Yeah Yeah Yeahs album, released early in 2006. I was playing in my office and my office mate laughed and said that my pop music was always a year behind. He said something like, "My brother made me this album last year and I listened to it a lot for awhile and then forgot about it until now."

I thought this was interesting. I guess I am about a year behind the times or so. But the idea that music is for a particular time, while an overwhelmingly common notion, is odd to me. I'm behind the times because I buy in a lot of different genres. (A side note--I still buy CDs because I believe in supporting the artists and because I believe in the album format.) Along with this album I also bought a 2 CD set of George Jones and Sun Ra's Space is the Place. So I fall behind in with new releases in all sorts of new music because I am trying to cover my bases and buy a little of everything. Plus, I make no pretensions to actually being hip, in my musical purchases or otherwise.

But why would someone buy music that they didn't think was good enough to listen to for a long time? Does good music date itself? Is an album from 2006 not cool anymore in 2007? Or for that matter, does music from the 1940s still resonate today? I answer yes to that latter question, but the vast majority of people I know dismiss this out of hand.

I guess I don't have much of interest to say on this matter except that I flat out don't understand how you can like an album for a month and then forget about it. Sure, your tastes can change but that's not what happens to most people. Do people buy music to be hip or because they actually like it?