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Question on Ask Metafilter: Why do people prefer music from their teenage years? A lot of great, thoughtful replies. I’ve thought about this a lot before, but this one was sort of new to me (though it’s obvious now that I think about it):

So when you’re a young adult and your mind really opens up to the musical experience, you get to hear all these things in different combinations for the first time. You might never learn intellectually what a chord progression or a key change or syncopation are, or various other bits of music theory and song-construction, but your mind is absorbing them and learning about them intuitively. So when you hit your thirties you don’t have the vocabulary to describe exactly why a new single the kids love doesn’t excite you (e.g. “Oh, that’s a I-IV-I-V chord progression and a key change one whole tone higher for the last chorus”). But subconsciously your brain recognizes that it’s heard that combination of building blocks several times before, only with someone else singing and different effects on the guitars.

I assume the phenomenon has to do with new experiences + hormones + independence.

Posted on - July 31, 2007 [at] 9:47 am by Brad
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4 Comments on this post

Gordon on Why do people prefer music from their teenage years?
July 31, 2007 at 10:28 am

Well I was told that it is because that is when the brain creates loyalties to brands. Since that probably crosses over into types of music…

Ken on Why do people prefer music from their teenage years?
August 1, 2007 at 7:20 pm

I think it is just because everything is new when you are young. Most sensory-oriented things are more exciting then – movies, music, etc. The older you get, the more familiar, and therefore less stimulating, things become.

AndrØid on Why do people prefer music from their teenage years?
August 4, 2007 at 12:06 am

Maybe It’s because music was better back then…

ben on Why do people prefer music from their teenage years?
August 23, 2007 at 12:50 am

just passing by, your music is great btw.

i remember reading somewhere (maybe a book or magazine about music…) that music is very strongly associated with how our brains create memories. i’ve known this to be true for me and sometimes when i reread a book i’ll think of the album i was listening to when i read it the first time. likewise listening to the cd can recall memories of the book.

I think that the teen years are where so much of who we are as adults begins to take shape. So as our identities form the music that we’re listening to at the time somehow gets woven into the mix.

just some thoughts

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