My favorite Steve Albini story was how he mad he was when Urge Overkill jumped to the majors and all but said his incessant interfering is why their early stuff is garbage (and it is). IIRC he still holds a grudge against them to this day for that. But I don't think Albini could ever record an album as emotionally mature as Exit the Dragon anyway. (RIP Blackie)

Your talk about aging made me think of my own work, particularly Y Signal. I know some people said it could be considered young adult or read by kids, I think it works much better for older audiences. There is no way I would have been able to do something like that when I was younger, and I don't think I would have really hooked into it either. There is a way to write about youth and those juvenile days without being juvenile about it or clinging to the past. That's the sort of thing that resonates more with me.

Also, I agree with Kevin Smith's lack of maturity really not aging well. It would have worked had he had some sort of transformation in his own life that made him reassess where he came from and where he was going, but no: he still cries over corporate cape movies and deliberately tries to ruin childhood properties for people who like them. As a consequence, he has nothing to say and it makes going back to his early work really difficult when you have that context.

That isn't to say I don't like silly stuff. I do like a good bit of glam-style or deliberately juvenile music, but it's usually a bit more than mindlessly swearing and just trying to get under people's skin with nothing else to it.

That said, there is a reason when bands used to get older they would change their sound so much--like the Replacements or even Oasis did. You aren't the same hungry kid who picked up that guitar decades ago. Naturally, you're going to change, and it's up to you to make sure that's in a way that still connects with your base audience. I find that's what Albini and so many others miss. They didn't grow up so much as they grew away.

That reminds me years ago when I saw a random review of a then-recent Lamb of God album and the singer, who was just turning 40, I believe, bragged about how he was exactly the same as he was when he was 18 and hadn't changed in the slightest. All I could think of was how sad that was. Hopefully he has learned since then.

All that said, I can still find joy in an old Three Stooges or Tom & Jerry short, so there's that!

Expand full comment

Not gonna lie: the Jay and Silent Bob movies still do it for me. Mallrats will (probably) always be one of my favorite comedies.

Expand full comment

I can't tell you how much I appreciated this article. I'm just slightly older, 46 in two weeks, but everything from The Who (saw what's left of them in 2015), to Our Band Could Be Your Life, but I completely track with everything you wrote here. Including no longer finding Kevin Smith funny, but I still hold onto my autographed copy of the screenplays for Clerks and Chasing Amy, mainly because the book is too beat up to sell to anyone, and sometimes to know where you're going, it does pay to know where you've been, even if you don't care for it anymore. About the only thing I can add, is you hit a point where the Beach Boys "When I Grow Up To Be A Man" becomes more uncomfortable and sad to listen to.

Expand full comment

Great post. I'm 38 now and I'm still trying to figure out what moves me at this stage in my life, as far as art goes. Most of the stuff I used to watch/listen to doesn't do it for me anymore.

Honestly, though, excellent portrayals of family within film resonate more now than ever before, despite not having kids.

I also appreciate musical artists, like Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, or Nick Cave, who matured to create some of their best works in their old age.

Expand full comment

I guess this explains why I don't like teeny angst music anymore, though I find it musically boring too, and not just lirically unrelatable.

Expand full comment