I have been listening to Sirius radio a lot recently. I mainly stay on the 80’s channel. It is my generational music, a veritable soundtrack to my teenage years. I can attach a year, an instance, and/or a person with most songs. I am sure that most people have that capability. Music is an easy timeline for many people. I found myself in a good mood while listening, I was more productive and happy.
Upon retrospective, I have noticed is that the 80’s music is upbeat, for the most part. Sure there is the Chicago “Hard to Say I’m Sorry” and anything Air Supply…aptly titled the Band that can Make a Happy Man Cry by a childhood friend.
For the most part, however, it’s happy music. Walking on Sunshine, Girls just Wanna have Fun. Anything Hair band!
(They have their own channel on Sirius, which is fun if you need an adrenaline rush)
So, to take it further, I thought about music and generations. I wonder if music and the happenings of any one generation are correlated? The sixties were very tumultuous and toward the end of the decade, the music reflected it.
The 80’s were about excess and the music reflected it. The 90’s were the crash of the boom of the 80’s and the angst-filled music reflects it.
The fifties, the baby boomer generation, is filled with fun and upbeat music. It is the decade of rock and roll.
The “Roaring Twenties” is another good example of music reflective of the time. Even music about prohibition is was up-tempo.
The 40's was a war generation, recovering from the Depression and the first World War only to enter into another World War. I think, with my limited knowledge of that generation, that the music does reflect the generation. Lots of songs like "I'll Be Seeing You."
Another thing to consider is, perhaps, the music of the 80’s is upbeat to me specifically because that is my personal soundtrack. For someone that came of age in the 60’s, their perspective might be different.
And yet another thing: Music is also so much more diverse now.
It used to be four categories: Rock & Roll – or Pop be it as it may, Country, Jazz and Classical. Now there are so many categories that a person can’t possibly list one single favorite. Just look at the list of station Sirius offers. There are four different types, too many to list actually, of Country, Pop, Rock, Classical, New Age, World.
Now there is a whole different category specific to the current generation: Hip Hop.
Nothing makes me feel older than hip-hop. I feel like I've become my parents, I just don’t get it. Sure, there are songs that I like but for the most part, no thanks. Is it just because I don’t understand it? Would I like it if I were 16 years old right now? (unlikely, I was a hair-band fan in the late 80’s) Will I like it in the future as it grows and progresses? Who knows?
So, is the music of the 80’s more upbeat or is it my perspective? Is music truly reflective of the times? Isn’t it funny how music is a polarization of generations? So many things to think of!