Lately I’ve been wondering if I’m getting too old for music. There’s less and less out there that moves me the same way music moved me 10 years ago. I’m finding myself more reluctant to go to shows for a whole slew of old lady reasons. (I won’t get home until after 1 a.m. I care less and less for the general behavior of concert crowds. My feet hurt from standing). I seriously consider my concert shoe options based on comfort over style, and I’ve even invested in some decent ear plugs because most venues are too damn loud and get really annoyed with myself if I forget them. (Okay, maybe that one is just me finally getting smart. Protect your ears, good groupies.)
It’s not that music has become less important to me. I’m still listening to it constantly. My apartment hallway is lined with signed show posters and lithographs that cost me a shiny penny and the time I spent standing outside a tour bus, waiting for band members to sign them. My bedroom is full of black and white photos taken by a member of my favorite band. And I’m the first person my friends text when they need a song recommendation.
But something changed.
And it was a series of unrelated musical events that led me to discovering what had changed.
Musical event no. 1
Two weeks ago, I road tripped up to Oklahoma for a long weekend to celebrate Katie’s birthday. Friday night after I arrived, the girls and I headed out for dinner and Katie had Taylor Swift’s 1989 playing in her car. I groaned, but she insisted I listen to “New Romantics” (album’s bonus track) because Rob Sheffield named it one of his top 25 songs of 2014. (And given my love of Rob’s writing, I trust his musical opinions.)
We did. I didn’t hate it. And then Samantha asked me a semi-life altering question:
“What would 20 year old Miranda think about this song?”
My answer? She would have played the crap out of that song. And actually, 30 year old Miranda probably would too if she’d let herself.
Musical event no. 2
A few days later, my music pal Tess (who is a crazy awesome vlogger and killer music fan you should check out) shared this video talking about why we hate pop music – do we really hate the music or do we dislike the person behind the music because of our perception of them?
If you’re like me, the person probably outweighs the quality of the music more often than not. (My prime exhibit A for that is Kanye West – I respect his talent, but I can’t stand him as a person sometimes.) Watching this really made me step back and wonder about some of my opinions as well as some of my unwillingness to embrace music and bands I like but keep at an arm’s length just because of who they are in the grand scheme of pop culture.
Why? If I like the music, shouldn’t I just embrace it?
Musical event no. 3
Most mornings on my way to work, I’m tuned into the 60’s on 6 channel on SiriusXM. Tuesday morning, in honor of the 56th anniversary of The Day the Music Died, the DJ was asking callers for their personal story of the day that music died for them. One guy said it was sometime after he got married, had kids and seeing live music just became less of a priority. Another woman said it was the day Karen Carpenter died.
And it made me wonder…have I had my own Day the Music Died? Is that why my relationship with music seems to be changing?
The answer? No, I haven’t had that day yet because the more I thought about it, the more I knew exactly what occurrence will mark that day for me. I absolutely, positively refuse to write it down or say it out loud, however, because I don’t want to put it out in the universe. But if you know who I consider to be God in my little music world, you can figure it out.
Musical event no. 4
This was the one that really sealed the deal. The girls and I were texting, and Lauren shared a story about a guy she worked with who travels to Iowa every year for The Day the Music Died. He goes to a celebration full of 50s music and dancing that honors the lives of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper. (Hello, music bucket list item!)
Some people were just born with that bug. That melody. To go see the music live and feel it. And some people weren’t. Some outgrow it. And some don’t. I don’t think I ever will. As long as we’re all friends, I’m always going to get you to travel to see bands with me, Lauren texted us.
It made me step back and realize she’s right. That need to sing along, to feel the music coursing through me as guitars rattle my eardrums and bass lines speed up my heart – it’s a bug I was born with and will never escape. Without music, I don’t know who I am.
So what changed?
Somewhere along the way I, quite simply, stopped letting myself just love the music I loved. I started worrying about what the music I liked said about me. I started dismissing songs just because they were on the radio. I let my inner music snob get the better of me.
And I forgot what I cared about the most in the first place – the lyrics.
I’ve always been a girl who expresses herself better through writing than speaking, and I admire songwriters so much for how they can craft emotions and moments into beautifully constructed lines that I want to plaster all over my bedroom walls as a constant reminder of who I am.
Somewhere along the way, I stopped letting the words matter.
So no more. Because like Lauren said, when you’re born with that melody it’s not something you can outgrow. It grows with you. And in light of living a more musical life in 2015, I’m going to make sure I catch back up to it, starting with putting the lyrics first.
Am I too old for music? Never. I was just so busy trying to grow up that I forgot what mattered most.
Falling back in love with the lyrics,