Something that had been in the back a my mind for a while really started to sink in with last week’s announcement of the Grammy nominees — age is not only staring me in the face, it is slapping it.
Ever since this blog started, I’ve had an annual post on my record of the year. I even have a 10-year list. I began pondering this year’s selection a while ago — and kept coming up blank. Now the Grammy nominations and a few other lists suggest that I am falling too far behind on music to catch up againt.
I may have heard a cut or two off Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs but, to my knowledge, that’s the closest I’ve come to hearing a note from any of the Album of the Year nominees. I don’t do much better in other categories. In the jazz area, the only one I have is the Dave Holland Octet’s Pathways, nominated for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album. In the rock and pop areas, the only albums I’ve heard are Neil Young’s Le Noise (Best Rock Album nominee) and Singularity, the album by former Doors guitarist Robbie Krieger nominated for Best Pop Instrumental Album. I was not really impressed by either.
Now the Grammys aren’t a lodestar of musical excellence. In fact, Arcade Fire’s presence on the list seems to go a bit contrary to the commercial nature of the awards. Still, the nominations aren’t the only thing showing my musical tastes have become too aged.
For example, while it covers a very broad range of music, I haven’t heard a single album on NPR Music’s 50 favorite albums of 2010. I have one album on Paste Magazine’s 50 best albums of 2010, Bruce Springsteen’s The Promise. While the set of previously unreleased songs from the Darkness on the Edge of Town recording sessions is at number 12, I haven’t even heard any of the other 49 releases on the list. Similarly, the highest-ranking album I’ve heard on Amazon’s best albums of 2010 is number 22, David Cross’ Bigger and Blackerer — a comedy album. The only other one I’ve heard in the top 50 is Corinne Bailey Rae’s The Sea in position 27.
It perhaps shouldn’t be surprising. I quit listening to Top 40 radio in the mid- to late 1970s and I’ve never enjoyed rap or hip hop. That alone drastically reduces the scope and variety of what I hear. Still, nothing I heard this year really grabbed me. I can only hope that is a reflection of what was released this year. After all, being old is one thing — being old without hope is far more serious.
Inside every older person is a younger person — wondering what the hell happened.
Gospel singer Cora Harvey Armstrong