So this weekend, while getting my breakfast at a local coffee shop, Semisonic’s “Closing Time” came on the radio. The girl behind the counter, whose age I’d have pegged at 17 tops, quickly turned it up: “Oh, I love this song!” Somewhere between fishing my $3.13 out of my pocket and walking out the door with my bagel and coffee, three thoughts occurred to me: No. 1, “This girl was just entering kindergarten when this song was new.” No. 2, “Holy crap…where has the last decade gone?” And knowing I would be blogging this week No. 3, “I can’t be the only Idolator reader experiencing this sensation on a semi-regular basis these days.” Right?
I have no real firm ideas about the site’s demographic at this point, but I’d assume it’s still generally in the 25- to 35-year-old range, meaning people whose teenagehood/early twenties occurred somewhere between the late ’80s and the late ’90s. This means, as my best friend has pointed out to him every day by his 19-year-old employees, it’s going to be a rough year for our generation from an aging-related ennui standpoint. Those born in the year of Nevermind will be able to legally vote. The Chronic just recently had its Sweet 16 party. Rave nostalgia has begun to glut the blogosphere. Bands like Third Eye Blind are increasingly referred to as “old school” by the underage and/or petulant. The next few crops of high school graduates, and their benign renewed interest in the pop culture of their elementary years, are going to start making us feel older than all the blog asses in the world.
This is nothing new, of course. It’s something every generation has gone through, at least since the first generation that started marking the slow passing of adult life by receding pop cultural milestones along with more traditional markers like marriage, spawning, and mortgage payments. I’m sure my parents felt a pang of “road not taken” style regret the day they woke up and some punk asked them what the deal was with Janis Ian or Steve Howe. (Maybe literally some punk in the case of my prog-head father.) But it’s finally our turn — or has been for a couple years and counting — and so I think we’re forgiven a little mild kvetching about our transition to yesterday’s news. (I’d like to hope we’ll go quietly, and with a little dignity, but I doubt it.) And so with that in mind, I ask you: What was the last song you heard, or interaction you had with a music fan half your age, or other pop-related moment, that made you unconsciously start fantasizing about rocking Ten or Doggystyle at retirement age? (Just kidding! None of us get to retire!)