According to my iPod, I'm old and I've never been cool
When I bought my iPod a couple of years ago (I am the converse of an early adopter) I dutifully loaded all of my music onto it from my iTunes, where I had just as dutifully stored every CD I ever bought. This is a modest library of music that began forming at around the time CD's were a new and poorly mixed technology that only barely sounded better than a record player. You remember: back when you couldn't walk heavily around the player without causing the CD to skip. Those days.
The inadvertent consequence of loading every CD and creating a massive playlist from it-- I listen to about 1350 songs on shuffle all day, every day, at the office-- is that I am now re-hearing songs I either, A: forgot about entirely, or B: didn't forget about but also didn't really want to hear ever again.
For example: I have the entire Genesis opus from post Peter Gabriel to whenever they stopped putting out records in the Eighties. (Why don't I have any Gabriel-Genesis? I don't know, but I do know that at my current age of forty I wish I did.) I will defend to the death the artistic quality of a number of these albums-- Duke in particular is a hair shy of brilliant-- but a lot of the songs have me turning down the volume so nobody in the next cubicle can hear it. Like, every song from their Eighties albums. And especially the song Who Dunnit? which I believe was written after someone bet Phil Collins he couldn't record the worst pop song ever made.
And the library is full of these little revelations. What made me think post- Zeppelin Robert Plant was so fantastic? I don't know... but I have two of his albums. And oh, how I loved every single line of every single Pink Floyd song back in the day. Now? Have you listened to The Final Cut lately? If you want a primer on bad lyric writing and don't have any Eighties Genesis on hand (try Domino if you do) listen to the lyrics of Two Suns At Sunset. I'm fairly discerning when it comes to song lyrics; I have no idea how this slipped past me.
And Terence Trent D'Arby. I have Terence Trent D'Arby in my collection. What the hell?
So I'm doing what I can to combat this long ago lack of cool by listening to as much Radiohead, Wilco, and White Stripes as I can now to try and compensate retroactively.
And asking my teenage kids what they're listening to. They seem to know what's going on.