"Tired of lying in the sunshine, staying home to watch the rain
You are young and life is long, and there is time to kill today
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun"
( Time - Pink Floyd)
If someone asked me what is the most cruel thing about life, I'd say that it is how it paced - not too short to make dash for things you want in life, and not long enough to savour the hard gotten things, as much as you like.
Its a few days after my 48th birthday, and am listening to the new Depeche Mode album, "Memento Mori" - an album which they started with Andy Fletcher, but finished with a title clearly that has much to do with his passing, and a reminder of their days left. However, it is hoped that Gahan and Gore will release more music before they call it a day. Being around sixty years of age, that is naturally to be expected ( and Fletcher's passing was somewhat untimely). However I think it is obvious that some of the bands, parallel to their hey days, we spent our youth in, are on their last phase. Hopefully Depeche Mode can dish out one, if not two before they retire. Peter Gabriel is finally releasing I/O, an album which was over 20 years in the making. Last year Tears for Fears released "The Tipping Point", an excellent album, which could very well be their last. Robert Smith of The Cure has promised us a new album this year, and the new Metallica album is just to be released - and it safe to expect one or two albums from them too. Tool released "Fear Innoculum" a few years back, and hopefully we'll hear more music from despite them taking forever between albums, and the excellent Danny Carey's advancing years.
Looking back, I can recall the first music that I heard of each of these artistes. Songs of Faith and Devotion was big when it came out in 1993. "I feel you" hit the air waves via TNL, and MTV. Although I had no occasion to listen to the album as a whole, "walking in my shoes", and the hit single "its no good" from from Ultra convinced me to listen to "Exciter" (2001), when I had the facilities to listen to the full album. I've listened to all subsequent albums, and have gone back on their discography and collected most of their albums on CD, but Exciter to date is more special to me than their other albums.
The story is similar for other artistes too. Peter Gabriel's "Steam" as the starting song on one of the music award shows, and the better "digging in the dirt" made a deep impression - which I caught in a friend's 'best of' Rock album that was available back then. Now am a huge fan of his early albums, especially "Peter Gabriel" - ( ok, 1, "car" album to be precise) as well as "Up". "Friday, I'm in love" was huge, and I've caught up with The Cure's full discography, since. Tears for Fears became a big name, a little before my teen years, and hence their hits were familiar songs by the time I reached them. I have their early big albums on CD now. "Lateralus" blew me away, when it came out in 2001. But Stink Fist has made an impression on me a few years prior via Z-Rock 40, so that I didn't hesitate to procure a copy in an unlikely place, when I stumbled upon it.
Other than Gabriel ( and some members of Tool), most of others that I mentioned here are no more that 12-15 years my senior, and are in the last leap of their long careers. Each of the artistes I have mentioned here are very special to me, as I moved from my youth to middle age, in absolutely no time, wondering "hey, what the fuck happened ? I was, like 29, yesterday".
There are others whose whole careers coincide with my passage from youth to middle age - namely Radiohead - every bloody album of theirs , Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains ( including the painful passing of Layne), and Nirvana - Kurt, and Sound Garden's Cornell. Seeing old videos of some of these who are no longer with us, make me realise what huge impressions they made, and the gap they've left behind. I felt this most when watching old footage of Scott Weiland - some of dance moves live, and his remarkable stage antics. Men (and women) who lived their lives as they believed they ought to, however much troubled, they may have been in their somewhat brief lives ( Kurt -27, Winehouse -27, Layne - 34, Weiland - 48, and Cornell - 52 ).
After living the life to the music of these bands, these days I find that the music that impresses me is few and far between, as the music scene has changed so much. Recently Rick Beato did a YouTube clip called "Why do we stop listening to our favourite albums" ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwzrct0X4LM ) - well, I for one haven't, but I do get the drift that Rick attributes to. For these are bands that produced music in parallel to various stages of my life. I had a copy of Pearl Jam's vs. made via a CD-to-tape recording, along with a tape copy of 'ten', for me to keep me company during my Advanced Levels. The first CDs I bought were Alice in Chains' "three legged dog", and "August and Everything After", by Counting Crows (during my years of higher studies), since the tape I had till the second half of the 90s had run its course to its "tape suicide" in a deck, with all its tape intestines poured out. I got an original CD copy of OK computer within weeks of its release, and purchased CDs via CD Now, and later Amazon, at a time when the exchange rate made it feasible, and I was making a little money. I was still with my parents, and I could spend what I made, on music. Come the new millennium, the fortunes changed, as my father fell ill, and Tool's Lateralus was my favourite album on the year of his passing. By this time pirated copies of CDs were very common, and I must confess that was a good thing, along with Napster and other peer file sharing mechanisms, as the new conditions didn't leave much extra cash. I think the years 2005 to 2010 were the years that I was mostly distant from music, as I had to relocate after marriage leaving my hi-fi and the CD collection. While I did listen to most that was coming out from my favourite bands, I had little time to explore new music. After 2010 I caught up with most of the albums that preceded my youth, as I caught up with the back catalogs of most bands - The Cure, Depeche Mode, R.EM., Black Crows, Rolling Stones, Genesis, Fleetwood Mac - I could go on and on, - as well as what I had missed out on in that 2005-2009 period. - as unlimited internet in an overseas posting made the vistas open. Come the mid 2010s, Music groups in facebook etc. made me knowledgeable about bands that I was not aware of before, and some of the favourite albums from recent years have been from bands that I learned of, through them ( Wide Awake - Parquet Courts - 2019; CRAWLER- IDLES - 2021 ). Over the last couple of years, streaming music has made me go less and less to my hi-fi. It is only when I want to yank up the volume once in a while, as I power the old monster - my 25 year old NAD amp, as against settling for Spotify on my Bluetooth Bose.
Such has been the passage of life from, 14 or 15, to 48, always with music by my side. The journey has been too brief for my liking, although there is no doubt it has been wonderful. I am in my middle age and and some special people have contributed to this ever expanding list of artsites - as they introduced them to me - Abul Hasan, Eshanth, Mirshad, and facebook group like Music buffs cannot be forgotten. By today, my teenage sons love their music, but I reckon they are in the process of discovering more and more. One likes Coldplay's first two albums most, and was surprised to learn that the chorus from an Eminem song ( the title of which I do not know) has been copied from Aerosmith's Dream on- a song so old, that their own father was not born at the time of its release. My youngest - at 10, identifies Solsbury Hill and Diggin' in the dirt as among his favourites - making his dad very proud.
By the time I finish typing this in, the third round of Memento Mori has just started playing, and Gahan sings,
"Don't play with my world
Don't mess with my mind
Don't question my spacetime
My cosmos is mine"