Scott Woods digs up a bunch of related-to-each-other quotes that I imagine hit home for a lot of people (and, if his post on Facebook is any indication, Scott’s one of those people):
The fact that I fear the moment spoken of in the above, even as I am 56 years old, says something unfortunate about myself, I guess. I understand that we’re supposed to outgrow certain things as we get older … I also understand that I’m not very good about outgrowing things. Having a semi-charmed life is part of it … I’m not often forced to grow up. Being an amateur doesn’t hurt, either … the quotes Scott features are from professional rock critics, most/all of whom long ago tired of writing for this or that editor/publisher. Similar to my position within academia … by not actually having a position, I can have a blog, write about what I want, and get published occasionally if I’m lucky. Yet even I often think I should get out of this place … been writing this blog for 6 1/2 years, without any clear reason why.
Specific to the concept of burning out on pop music (or just outgrowing it), I’ve been through several ups and downs. When I was a kid, the radio was the main focus, first the Top 40 channels, and then, as I entered my teens, my beloved FM “underground” radio. I only had a handful of records for most of that time, which I played over and over again … doesn’t matter how good Having a Rave Up with the Yardbirds was, I played even the worst tracks on that album dozens of times more than I’ll ever hear, say, “Rebellion (Lies)” by Arcade Fire, which I love to death, because then I listened to the same records all the time, where now “Rebellion (Lies)” is just one of tens of thousands of tracks I can listen to.
The next period in my musical life was the beginning of my attendance at concerts. First concert, Judy Collins supporting her In My Life album. First rock concert, Chuck Berry at the Fillmore (recorded for a live album he released soon after) with Eric Burdon and the Animals and the Steve Miller Blues Band. First OMFG I can’t believe I’m here concert wasn’t until 1974 (Bob Dylan and the Band). Then came Bruce in October of 1975, and I never looked back.
Then, punk. I went to more concerts in the late-70s/early-80s than I ever would again. In 1984, I quit working at the factory, became a college students, and turned 31. The peaks of “college rock” kept me going (hello, Hüsker Dü), as did Prince and, as always, Bruce. But by the end of the 1980s, Bruce had split from the E Street Band, the Hüskers had broken up, and I was a graduate student in English in my late-30s. I still loved music, still went to concerts, but I was probably more concerned about how the Giants were doing than with how good the Stone Roses were.
And I could live with that. I was “out of that place.” If I resisted nostalgia, that was less because I was Forever Young and more because I hate nostalgia more than just about anything.
And then came Sleater-Kinney. For a decade, I was reborn as a music lover. I played their albums obsessively, saw them in concert a dozen times … and I wasn’t alone, there were always middle-aged men at those shows, happy to have found a reason to not outgrow. Even as so many things worked to keep me out of that place (not least, the increasingly availability of every piece of music ever recorded), S-K kept me strong. Which is why their “hiatus” affected me so deeply, why I miss them to this day. Because, as I said at the time, I knew that Sleater-Kinney would be the last musical act that would put me back in that place. I would never again obsess as much about a musician as I did about Sleater-Kinney. I was in my mid-50s … the gravitational pull to get out of that place is just too strong, I don’t have the time time, what’s on teevee?