Years ago, I remember the delight of having been sent a partial pre-release CD for Anberlin‘s sophomore album, Never Take Friendship Personal, and a family member – who was always quick to share their strong opinions that often negated my own – asked “How is it?” Knowing I never seemed to get warm acceptance for any opinion I’d try to share, I simply said, “Well, I like it.” The family member acted surprised by my reply and said something like, “That’s a great response! Good for you!”
Recently, my 13-year-old son met some new kids at school and one of them, upon learning that my son is super into Minecraft, proceeded to try to diminish his interest by declaring how “old” the video game is. I was quite irritated by this news when my son told me after school that day and, being that I still love playing original NES games from time to time, insisted that that is one of the dumbest things to try to make someone feel bad about. Sorry kids, but video games don’t “go out of style.” (The original Super Mario Bros. game will never NOT be awesome! And didn’t those two plumbers have a hit movie earlier this year?)
And therein lies the lesson… who cares? Who really cares? It doesn’t matter.
I remember riding in my car with an office coworker years ago (when I worked part time for a local web-based company — completely unrelated to JFH), and I was playing P.O.D’s Satellite CD and flipping around to the best – and most known – tracks on the record. After one of them concluded, my coworker – who’s a few years younger than me – honed in on the CD player in my dashboard and literally said, as he began tapping the Next Track button, “What’s the next radio single?” (Cue the following gif as my reaction.)
When I was a teenager, I remember just how important it was for some people to really be on top of the latest trends or styles. And I know that’s still super important to some people today. But an old adage that may date all the way back to the 1600’s from Jonathan Swift (or yet other authors–it’s a little fuzzy on who coined it), states that “Everything old is new again,” and if you take a look at history, this can be seen everywhere. From fanny packs to Star Wars and dozens of movie franchise reboots to the sideways ponytail and that Kate Bush song in the fourth season of Stranger Things (a show of which is one big love letter to the 80’s itself) — the popular things of the past seem to just circle back… at some point or another.
Earlier today, I literally found myself standing in the art gallery of my old high school, hanging up artwork I’ve drawn at some point in the past decade. (I was invited by a former schoolmate and youth group friend a few months ago to take part in an art show gallery with him.) I had my earbuds on and a playlist of songs I really like — across many decades — on shuffle. At one point, “Time” from the legendary Christian metal band Bride came on and it was the strangest feeling… here I am in high school. My old high school. Some… 25 years since I graduated, and a song from when I was a freshman in this very school is playing in my ears. And y’know what? I still like the song. I don’t care.
What difference does it make, y’know? I like what I like. My favorite movie, Ghostbusters, came out when I was 4 years old. I still love it. Sure, my “favorite movie” rotated around a lot when I was a teenager trying to figure out what it meant to have favorite things. But it was somewhere around my college years when its placement cemented. I can say the same thing for my favorite band. I remember that shifting around some when I was a teenager. And I suppose there are things that affect why it is you love a certain thing, but let’s face it — there’s a reason why those teenage years are our “formative years.” We’re trying to figure out what we like, who we are, and where we fit in the grand scheme of things.
But what difference does it make to anything or anyone if you still like something that is long past its time for being “in style”?
When we’re lying on our deathbed, I’m pretty sure no one’s thinking, “Oh gosh, guys, I’m so sorry I watched ALF well into the 2020’s” or “Please forgive me for not being able to let go of the Supertones long past the demise of ska!” It doesn’t matter, guys. Keep saying “As you wish” like Westley from The Princess Bride anytime someone asks for a favor.
So, like what you like! Obviously, I mean liking things that don’t threaten our spiritual health, or what have you — but there’s no sin in liking something that isn’t “in” anymore or just because it’s “old.”
I love listening to my playlists where you can hear a brand new song from an artist in 2023 one minute, and a 1995 classic from PFR or Steven Curtis Chapman’s “Dancing with the Dinosaur,” or a long forgotten track from Parkway (Remember them? I didn’t think so!), or that random cover song Grammatrain did of Rebecca St. James’ “God.” I love it! (As I’m writing this, “The Cave” from NEEDTOBREATHE, which released in September, just gave way to “Once Again Here We Are” by Bleach, from 1999. Love it.)
And mmmm… technology. These ridiculous rectangles we carry everywhere can hold SO much music — or access to streaming it — where we don’t have to be choosy as to which cassettes or CD’s will make the cut to accompany our Walkman. (Ugh. I don’t miss those CD visors in the car, either.)
So, grab that NES controller, play a little Bomberman or Burger Time. Pull out those Petra, Geoff Moore and the Distance or Three Crosses tapes and CD’s, and turn on Darkwing Duck or Get Smart and just take it easy. Like what you like! And don’t worry about what others like.
Rediscover your (harmless) guilty pleasures and — most importantly — the music that once INSPIRED you. (Ooo! “A Better Me” by Poor Old Lu is up next!)
— John DiBiase (That guy who started this site… in the mid-90’s 😉 )