The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Saturday, July 26, 2003

THE CURSE OF THE OLDIES
(blogathon 2003)
This one is by special request from my college buddy Pete, up in Pennsylvania.

Pete is aghast that the early 80s music like U2, The Cure and The Clash, stuff he grew up on (as did I, to an extent; I never really "got into" music to the extent my peers did, and still don't to this day), is now slowly but surely joining the ranks of the oldies. It really hit him when he recently saw a billboard for some radio station up there that featured a picture of Bono from U2, and promoted it as Classic Rock.

"Since when is U2 Classic Rock?!?!?!" he wrote me. "CCR, Cream, Stones, etc. can all be Classic Rock, but not U2! That's our music - damn it! Who decides what's classic?"


"They" do, Petey--whoever they are. It was bound to happen at some point. I'm not going to worry too much about it until the day Britney Spears turns up in the Classic Rock bin.

But I'll go you one better with my own, similar experience in this pop culture zone:

There was a radio station here in the Tampa Bay area a couple of years back that was heavily promoting its new format (I think they changed formats since then--I wouldn't know for sure, as I gave up listening to commercial radio years ago). It's name was Jammin' Oldies FM. It used catchphrases in its marketing like "Get your morning JO", etc.

Guess what musical era they were tagging as the "Oldies" in "Jammin' Oldies"? That's right: 80s music! I was disgusted, even though I realized that it had to happen at some point.

But you know what? If you're going to do that, don't try to soften the blow in such a craven way. To wit: You can use "Jammin'", you can use "Groovin'", you can use "Wild" even; but no matter what "exciting" adjective you stick in front of it, it doesn't hide the fact that you're now tagging the music from my childhood and adolescence as OLDIES! Christ!!