In nearly 32 years of life, I’ve been accused of many things — some true, others not so much.
That’s to be expected, especially considering I grew up in a small town and the rumor mill runs rampant. But that’s another story for another day.
The most pervasive accusation, and probably the most accurate, is that I was born 30 years too late.
No, not literally. If I’d been born in 1954 instead of 1984, I would be older than either of my parents. I would also have been born before my grandparents were married.
What my peers mean is that my musical taste is more that of your average baby boomer than of a millennial.
I have three obsessions: sports, rock music and good Mexican food. If you can combine the three, even better. But when I’m not watching my beloved Denver Broncos or Colorado Avalanche play, odds are I’m listening to some variety of classic rock music that came out at least a decade before I was born.
If you were to take a look at my iTunes directory, you’d first notice that I have more than 10,000 songs — a total that means I could listen to my entire music collection and not hear the same version of the same song twice for about seven weeks. You would also notice that little of my collection was released after the mid-1990s. There are some exceptions, but mainly for recent albums released by artists who began their careers in the late 1980s or earlier.
I owe this in large part to my father, who has amassed a collection of well over 500 compact discs (remember those?). In fact, the stereo speakers that currently sit in my living room were the ones he had while I was growing up, up until he decided that a modern home theater system was the way to go.
His loss, my gain.
Growing up in Moab, there was no top-40 radio available for most of my childhood. We did have cable, and thus had MTV, but as I grew older, it began replacing hours of entertaining music videos with hours of trash TV. MTV’s greatest influence on me was “Beavis and Butt-Head.”
So the vast majority of my music exposure came from what my father would put on when he got home from work.
That exposure began almost from Day One. I have the pictures to prove it. There is a picture of my dad and me on the day I came home from the hospital. He’s holding me, and in the foreground is a copy of Bruce Springsteen’s “Darkness on the Edge of Town” — incidentally, my favorite album by “The Boss” to this day.
The result? To say that I know the entire Beatles catalog inside and out is an understatement. Same with Springsteen and Neil Young. While most of my friends are thrilled by the latest and greatest thing on pop radio, I’m the one who’s seen Springsteen and Tom Petty three times each — and has probably been the youngest person in the crowd by 20 years every single time.
I’ve learned that there is a rock song for just about every situation in life — happy, upbeat songs; depressing songs that fit a breakup just right; perfect songs for driving 80 mph toward Wendover; songs that bring back vivid memories of my childhood, spending time with friends and loved ones … you get the picture.
There are also songs that I greatly enjoy, but only in the right setting.
For instance, can you imagine going shopping in one of those overcrowded department stores with some fast-paced progressive rock song — say, “YYZ” by Rush — playing in the background? Anything recorded by Yes? No. Talk about your sensory overload. Those are good songs when you’re driving fast.
Listening to James Taylor’s greatest hits while driving through the night? Good luck staying awake. But unwinding after a long day at the office? Perfect.
So, to my fellow millennials, you can stick to your music that was released sometime post-1995.
I’m content being an old soul.
Vaughan is the community news editor for the Transcript Bulletin. He has been to more than 30 rock concerts, which explains the constant ringing in his ears. Email him at email@example.com.