Saturday, November 22, 2008

Golden Oldies.

I wasn't very well-versed in popular music when I was growing up. I picked up some of it peripherally, but my entire time at elementary school, when I would listen to the radio in my room, it was always tuned to Majic 102.7, an oldies station in South Florida. That was over ten years ago. I was back in Florida recently, driving around on some nights, so in my search for decent music (which ultimately eluded me), I tuned to Majic 102.7. But something was very different about this station now. Not all of the songs they were playing were oldies. But they hadn't changed formats or anything. Then I noticed that the station was now purporting to feature all the "greatest hits of the 60s and 70s."

Whoa. Excuse me. But oldies are from the 50s and 60s. Not the 70s. Apparently, somewhere around the turn of the century, oldies stations started concentrating less on the 50s and more on the 70s to stay hip to their demographics. This sounds to me like an immeasurably foolish precedent.

You can't redefine what constitutes an oldie as the decades pass. Pretty soon, everything's gonna be an oldie. But everything from the past few decades already has a name. Like disco, classic rock, punk, grunge, or easy listening. And so it goes for all music present and future, because whenever a style of music changes enough that it can be classified as something else, they always come up with a new name. Like nu metal, psychobilly, hatecore, indie pop, or even pornogrind.

My point is that the term "oldies" was coined for one style of music. The original rock and pop music from the 50s and 60s. If they change that, and give its name to something else, the world will be dumber for it. Words from our cultural lexicon change their meaning all the time, but the cause is typically general ignorance. This isn't like Nick at Nite phasing out The Dick Van Dyke Show and airing George Lopez under the banner of classic TV (as egregiously foul as that is). This is serious. This is our language. Fuck everyone who contributes to the death of the golden oldie.