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Music Is A Choice: A Newswhistle Manifesto

“How young are you? How old am I?”

This isn’t a test, but you could easily fail it. In fact, you might be failing right now. What are you doing at the moment? Go through yesterday’s events in your head. How much music did you listen to? Did you give yourself time to let yourself be moved by it?

Don’t tell me you’re busy. I am 42, have a job, and three kids. Just don’t.

Somewhere we each have an hourglass that holds jewels that you are awarded or deducted, much like Hogwarts’ house points in Harry Potter. Every time you seek out, or otherwise embrace some new, unfamiliar music, you get points, and when you ignore it, or tell yourself you don’t have time for it, you lose points.

I was listening to The Takeaway on Minnesota Public Radio a few weeks back (I told you I am 42), and I was struck by a very interesting conversation about what I am going to call “musical curiosity”. The Takeaway conversation draws a lot from this more extensive article, but my takeaway is simple.

We are musically dead by age 33, 35 if you are lucky.

This research points to an argument that drives this strange phenomena. It is really pretty pointless, and in fact, is bullshit.

MUSIC WAS BETTER BACK THEN.

Yeah, no. Not really, anyway. For every tiny bit of romanticized awesomeness from a past decade, there was a root beer barrel full of crap floating in the mainstream. Don’t even start with the “back in my day” garbage. One has always had to look for good music. It just seems that we stop doing it way too early in life.

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“How young are you? How old am I? Let’s count the rings around my eyes.”

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Knowing my age, you can probably guess how I discovered music from my formative year up until now. It started with older brothers, neighbors, friends, magazines, MTV, etc. Then in the mid 90s, a website called Addicted To Noise launched, and it was then that I discovered how the Internet could open up a million doors to music from all over the place.

My co-workers and I at IBM in Milwaukee, WI, would wait for the Daily News update (I think it was 11am, but I could be wrong). It was amazing. Then came the illegal downloading wild west years, and we end up here, now.

We end up at NewsWhistle. There are a million different places on the internet to discover new music, but I think our team does a pretty damn good job. Obviously, if music is important to you, there are other places you could and should go to immerse yourself in it, but I believe the joy of our own discoveries come through.

Sick of Sarah, Lux Lisbon, Ancient Warfare, Red Empire, etc., etc. are all great examples of amazing current music wafting out of the windows of the tastefully-appointed NewsWhistle: Music offices.

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In fact, Marion Walker’s EP Serious Picnic came across my desk recently, and it is a treat. It is three songs that work together as one whole 11 minute piece. You don’t have to trust me. Take a listen.

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It’s fuzzy, it’s buzzy, it’s muscular, mysterious, and maybe even a little dangerous. There is shiv hidden in this band’s glovebox. Serious Picnic is available Marion Walker’s website, Bandcamp, and (I am guessing here) at their shows.

It’s there for the taking (i.e. buying); decent music, I mean. I call bullshit on musical death by 35. Grow up, not old. 40 is the new 30, or something along those lines. However you want to think about it, it is up to us to smash this trend. We probably won’t, in the larger sense, but it felt good to write it.

“How young are you? How old am I? Let’s count the rings around my eyes. How smart are you? How dumb am I? Don’t count any of my advice.”

Paul Westerberg wrote that when he was 24 or 25 years old. He’s older now, just like the rest of us. Don’t let The Onion get it right (yet again).

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Image Courtesy of Christian Bertrand / Shutterstock.com

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NewsWhistle music contributor Chad Werner is “ahead of the curve, behind the times.” You can contact this rock n’ roll sphinx at chad@newswhistle.com (e-mail) or @scooternotmoped (Twitter).