I need to get back in the habit of doing this series and thought I would do so with an approach a bit different than before. It is prompted by a statistic I came across in the last couple weeks. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, “people tend to most prefer musical recordings that were released when they were teenagers or young adults, with their interest peaking at about 23½ years of age, according to studies by researchers at Columbia University and Rutgers University.”
The first part didn’t surprise me since that is the time period in which we’re most likely to be listening to and exploring music. It was the second statistic about being roughly 23 or 24 that intrigued me. I’m don’t know the methodology of the university research but thought I’d take a shorthand approach to calculating when that would be for me.
I took the dozen albums on my Desert Island Discs list and calculated my average age based on their date of release. Since these are my favorites, I figured they were a handy synopsis of the universe of my musical tastes. The result? I’m still in college — and barely. The average is 18½ years. To me, that signifies one of two things. Either my musical tastes began stagnating or music was a helluva lot better “back in the day.” I lean toward the latter because that terminal point coincides with the onset of disco, one of the greatest ever banes of American culture and music.
The age range, though, is almost as surprising. I was a month shy of three years old old when Kind of Blue was released on August 17, 1959. I was days shy of 45 when Rockin’ the Suburbs was released on September 11, 2001. The middle point of those ages is 24, putting me quite close to the average identified in the university studies.
By the way, the latter ages end up being about the same time people realized what a huge p.o.s. disco was. You think there’s any correlation there?
I like pop
I like soul
I like rock
But I never liked disco
Everclear, “AM Radio,” Songs from an American Movie, Vol. 1