Why Do We Have “Golden Oldies”?

A friend and I have been discussing how we will always love the music we listened to growing up. Now, I know we do it because it\’s nostalgia, but I thought let me take this a little bit deeper. So, let’s see what professionals say about why we will always listen to the same old bands over and over again never getting bored of them.

No one ever understands why it is I keep listening to the bands I do, but each song I hear reminds me of when I did homework or special people from school who listened to that same music. Psychology and neuroscience, however, have their own answer as to why I can’t stop listening to the Glitch Mob and Deadmau5. They say that these songs we hear in our teenage years hold a disproportionate power over our emotions. It’s also true that our brains bind us more tightly to the music we heard as teenagers and it’s a connection that will never fade. This musical nostalgia is a neuronic response–something that occurs on a neurological level. It doesn’t matter how old you get or how far you move on in your tastes of music there will always that same old band or song that you will always love. When you were younger (12 – 22 yrs old) the music you listened to basically become hard-wired into your lobes for good, this is because between these ages your brain undergoes a rapid neurological development. Hormones that are released during puberty make us believe that everything we hear is important, hence attachments to certain musicians. Researchers also say that music listened in our formative years will always be an important part of our current selves. Social interactions or connections formed with friends also aid in making these deep ties, as we tend to link certain songs or bands with certain people. I have a friend who loved Elvis growing up and to this day if someone mentions him or I hear one of his songs I am reminded of her.

Music has the ability to create a portal back into our youth and causes us to wonder what happened to those friends we met in highschool or that one weird kid who was always sticking things in your classmate’s hair. This all because music links us to certain people by the fact that at the time it was all everyone listened to. It becomes imprinted in your mind as well your best friend in Matric you wish you could see again.

The science behind what I mentioned above has all to do with what happens to your visual cortex when you hear that song. Every time you hear Blink 182, for example, it’ll link with a specific memory. I can still remember the first Pen’s Down party I went to because it was the day I heard Skrillex’s song First of the Year played by a friend on her laptop for us. I can even see all my friends sitting down on our towels or blankets after a good swim. I’m sure you all know what I mean as I say this. This is as a result of the visual cortex linking music with a visual memory in your brain.

This neurological process has even shown to be able to alleviate dementia and strengthen relationships in couples who share a specific song when they listen to it together and reminisce. My parents have their own song called “One More Night” by Phil Collins. Something worth noting is that this period of attachment to certain songs are different for specific genders. A survey conducted by Spotify on men found that this age range was between 13 and 16. Women, however, formed these attachments at a younger age range of between 11 and 14. This attachment we form to music as youngsters can be further strengthened by singing or dancing to that particular music. There are various neurochemicals that are released as we listen or sing along to a song, but for younger people the release of these chemicals are heightened.

Listening to the music you did growing has also been found to recreate the same emotional state you were in when you heard that particular song. For example, a lullaby sung by a parent that then gets passed to those parents’ kids and so on and so forth. There are two songs I myself remember were lullabies my mom sung to me. I will probably sing these same lullabies to my kids when they are little. There’s one sing that to this day still helps me when I’m scared. My father taught me the song “Jesus Loves Me” and told me to sing it when I was scared. It helps me remember that my Jesus is stronger than any evil thing that could scare me. As a child I struggled with horrible nightmares and this song helped me feel safe and now that I’m older and I’m serving Christ, I understand that the comfort I felt was because my Jesus was with me even there.

We have already mentioned in the above section that music can create a portal into the past, but what about the future? Can this same ‘musical nostalgia’ create a passage into the future?

We’ve all heard our parents say, “This song was originally written by …”. This, right here, is evidence of the past music leaking into the future. Hollywood has re-invented some of these classics. The most successful I can think of are Disney’s “Aladdin” and “The Beauty and the Beast”. Music is constantly being inspired by the past greats. Painters imitate the great artists before they start painting their own creations. Anyone who’s watched enough YouTube will know what a cover song is and how many there are or how many times classics are remixed or sometimes amalgamated with all sorts of other songs. My own personal favourite example of this is Nightcore’s “Don’t Threaten Me With a Good Time”. If you want to listen to it, I’ll attach the link below. Johnathan Young is another artist who does brilliant covers of Disney songs and other famous soundtracks such as “The Greatest Showman”.

I’ve discussed covers performed by artists still finding their feet, but there are plenty of times where they re-invent music from the past. They’ve done a brilliant remix of “Hit the Road Jack”. It’s a personal favourite, but there are hundreds of others. I have always loved music and the brief studies I have done of it for my blog articles has taught me so much that I only vaguely knew, but now the more I learn the more I love it.

I can now say that music is like a broken record (pardon the pun). Our deep-grounded connection to it will always bring the classics we had as youngsters back.

Thank you for your continued support, all my avidReaders. I’m hoping to get my own domain soon, but I’ll keep you posted once it’s all finalized and sorted out. I’ve just got to figure my way around that. So wish me luck. Again thanks so much guys. If you have any ideas for new topics, questions or comments please leave them in the comment section, on my Instagram account “avid_writer94” or my Facebook page “The Weird and Wonderful”.

I got the privilege of hearing these guys live and they are really talented. Follow and like these guys. Come on SA represent! They\’re local blood!

God bless all of you and have a great weekend!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.