Old Music vs. New Music

Posted: February 21, 2012 in Related Issues

Lately, I’ve been thinking about my therapy repertoire.  Along with a few original songs, I use a lot of popular songs to help the clients feel engaged with familiar music.  But as I look through my songbook, most of the music comes from the 60s or 70s.  That’s partly me – I like that kind of music, and I know a lot of my clients do as well, particularly the adults who grew up with it.  As the years progress, there are fewer and fewer songs.  I have some from the 80s, and only a few from the 90s.  Up until recently, I had practically nothing from the 21st century.

Part of the problem for me, I think, was that I didn’t really grow up listening to current music.  My parents listened to a lot of oldies and NPR, and the few records I had (yes, records) were mostly Muppet related.  I’m not saying I was deprived, I just wasn’t that interested in the hits of the day.  I was a big Michael Jackson fan right around the time Bad was released – I remember how excited I was about the world premiere of the video.  I also liked Weird Al Yankovic and Ray Stevens – not exactly mainstream stuff.

The 90s rolled around, as did my teenage years, and I tried getting into current music.  Right when alternative music was getting big, I had a few stations I listened to, but I got tired of them.  Going into college, I entered my classic rock phase, which lasted awhile until I realized that a) the catalogs were extremely redundant since nothing new was being produced in the genre (by definition), and b) classic rock stations often played music that I hated rather than what I considered to be the good stuff.  For every Led Zeppelin or ZZ Top or Edgar Winter song, there were about 10 by Rush, Joe Walsh, or some hair band that I did NOT consider to be classic rock.

Eventually, I just gave up on radio entirely and started listening to audio books.  That has morphed into podcast listening, and I find that suits my tastes a lot better.

That’s kind of a long way to say that I still don’t really listen to current music.  It’s not because I believe that there’s nothing good out there, or that old music is inherently better.  I just think it takes some time to weed out the junk and find the good stuff.  The charts are flooded with flash in the pan hits.  It just takes a while for the cream of the crop to become evident, and the songs with staying power will become clear over time.

So, I’ve been taking a look at some current music, trying to find some of that good music that I know is out there.  One of the big songs that I think will be around for awhile is Cee Lo Green’s “Forget You.”  It’s pretty simple, just three chords – C, D7, F.  I just had to make sure to use the super sanitized version.  I’ve also learned Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance.”  Not that this is a GOOD song, but it’s catchy, and I do think it will have some staying power.  I’m trying to stay out of the Justin Bieber/Miley  Cyrus/Katy Perry/Jonas Brothers type of music…I think that will be as much of a joke in twenty years as New Kids on the Block/MC Hammer/Vanilla Ice are now.  I’m thinking I may look at Adele next – she’s got some good music going.

Anyway, this was kind of a rambling post.  Hopefully I’ll be more coherent next time.  Thanks for reading!


  1. Peggy Hickle says:

    I was going to suggest Adele. We went to a show choir concert at Maggie Lewis’s middle school and they did a lot of Adele music. The music teacher said it was accessible and mostly language appropriate for her students. I took that as a pretty good recommendation.

  2. themtguy says:

    Forgot to mention that I’ve been using K’Naan’s “Wavin’ Flag” in sessions as well. So that’s three songs from this century…

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