Old Music

They used to tune in to certain radio station in the workshop. It played old songs, songs which made me feel young. Many of the numbers were popular hits when I was a teen. I guessed at some point in life, you stop following the current hits and gradually starts listening to songs which brings you back memories of the time you were attractive and virile. Because we could never outperform ourselves, year after year after year. When one is past his prime, he tends to associate himself with entities of the past to remind himself how good he used to be, how good he used to feel.

Living in the past.

Songs bring back memories in a profound manner. It has a knack of digging up bits of history in the deepest crevices of your mind you thought didn't exist anymore. The memories are vivid, flashing loudly like a movie playback with strong colours and sounds.

I'm getting old for sure, how else can you explain this? Since I started work at the new job, I began to play the car stereo during my long drive to work. I don't even tune in to the station which they loved to play in the previous workshop. For the past fortnight I was listening to a radio station that plays music of my father's era. I recognised a lot of the songs because he used to blast them in the house. I remembered being extremely annoyed with my dad because I hated songs played loud. Surprisingly I began to appreciate some of these songs (played softly of course) over my tuner during every drive.

The feeling was odd. Last Saturday when I knocked off from work for instance, I felt like I was driving along a dusty road of old America on a hot lazy afternoon. Sometimes the thought of "wtf am I doing here?" rang through the mind. They played some very old songs even my dad might find 'retro'. At first, I listened with amusement but I did that with more intent in the last couple of days. The lyrics of many songs suggested how life were back half a century or more ago. Most songs were trying to tell a story, some albeit a tad too simplistic. Silly but nice.

It was refreshing hearing simple stories behind the old songs in contrast to many contemporary pop songs, probably written by song-writers while piercing their pee-holes with a rusty needle at the same time. It seemed like I noticed something new each passing day of listening to these ancient songs. I observed how common it was to create their music with wind-instruments such as harmonica or trumpet and things like that. You know, any little stuffs that creates sound.

It led me to think about how complicated life has became. These days, a basic piano, guitar or drum isn't good enough. Perhaps not even an electric organ, electric guitar and electric drum anymore, you need synthesisers or god knows whatever gadgets they need to create contemporary music. If we look around, that applies to everything else in our lives. Mechanical to electrical to automatic to smart. What the next step? Virtual perhaps.


  1. RIP Robin Gibb and Donna Summers...

    Disco and Night Fever will never die, they'll be stayin alive and just fading away.

  2. You wait until your children start to play their music around the house. You will hear yourself saying the same things your parents did about your music, then you will really feel old!

  3. for me it's cranberries' ode to my family... i remember my ns days then.

  4. I think it's proven in psychology that the past can always seem simpler and more beautiful to the human mind, because that's how we're wired to remember things over a long time.

    For example, we love the oldies (for me, it's 80s music), but may have forgotten the hassle of turntables and vinyl records, plugging into the socket, cumbersome walkmans with batteries that drained too fast, clunky cassettes with tapes that spooled and jammed and killed out beloved songs.
    Compared with the MP3 player through speaker and earpiece in our lightweight mobile phones today.

    Or further back, during the World Wars, initially no penicillin, or the broad-spectrum antibiotics we casually and cheaply pop into our mouths these days.
    Or the medicated plasters that sell by the 100-pack today, in place of troublesome cloth bandages.

    But I take this 'beautifying effect' of the past as a lesson for the future: however bad it is now, I will only ever remember the best bits, years from now.
    So why not focus on creating our happiest experiences now, to remember fondly for now?