Another installment of “You know you’re a music fan of a certain vintage when…”

[This was my weekly column for – AC]

Wisdom is supposed to come with age, but so do certain harsh truths. Yes, the body creaks a lot more, hangovers last longer, and going to bed after 10 p.m. seems like a foreign concept, but lately, I’ve been noticing a few harsh realities.

Do any of the following statements strike too close to home?

  • The music played in the grocery store seems to be a lot cooler. When I stocked shelves back in high school, the rule was only light, inoffensive, and, if possible, instrumental music was to be played in the store. When I went to pick up some dinner the other afternoon, I heard The Smiths’ How Soon is Now playing in the produce section. That sent me to the liquor store where I heard Come As You Are from Nirvana, which depressed me enough that it required a purchase of a second bottle of vodka. Enduring a five-hour Air Canada delay at Boston’s Logan Airport on Thursday, I found myself humming along to MGMT’s Kids which was playing in the terminal.
  • Teenagers tell me that the biggest song from the 1980s is actually Break My Stride by Matthew Wilder. While I’ve always thought of this as a one-hit-wonder curiosity from 1983, it’s been resurrected for Gen Z as the soundtrack to countless TikTok dances. Not only has it had more than 40 million views on YouTube, but it’s also been streamed nearly 300 million times on Spotify, largely because TikTok got young’uns into the song,

Oh, there’s more. Lots more.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

3 thoughts on “Another installment of “You know you’re a music fan of a certain vintage when…”

  • June 13, 2022 at 10:38 am

    It’s so funny you said that about the grocery store!

    I was in a grocery store a few years back and took a video because Joy Division “Love Will Tear Us Apart” was playing over the speakers. I’ve heard “This Charming Man” by The Smiths at TARGET!

    These are the types of songs that would be blaring out of my room in the late 80’s and my mom would barge in and scream, “what the F are you listening to?”

    Just last week I heard an obscure late 90’s version of Ani Difranco’s “32 Flavors” by Alana Davis, which I only remembered because I thought it was going to be HUGE at the time… it was not. Regardless, why is a grocery store playing it in 2022?

    And for some weird reason I only hear Nelly Furtado “I’m Like A Bird” in grocery stores. I f’ing love that song! And now it’s the soundtrack to what flavor Triscuits should I get?

  • June 13, 2022 at 8:46 pm

    I also heard Joy Division at the grocery store. That was the weirdest one for me. Ian Curtis probably couldn’t have imagined mothers with toddlers humming along to his songs while they returned their grocery carts across the ocean from where he lived.

  • June 15, 2022 at 4:00 pm

    My first ‘grocery store’ song was the Ramones’ Sheena Is A Punk Rocker at Fred Meyer before Kroger bought it. (they were family owned back then or so I understand it – I’m not from the beautiful PNW. I’m from the Ugly California place which I hate with a passion of a 10,000 suns now. Three bad trips (not those kind) in a row and the California creep is ruining Southern Oregon with it’s tension and bad drivers and aggro crap.)

    Anyways, my next biggie? Many years later when it kind of became normal to hear my music on the overheads and I’d be-bop around the grocery store (especially Cash and Carry – the best of the best!) without a care in the world because, DUH, music trumps everything.

    Anyways, the next biggie… The dreaded Walmart who apparently has their own radio station and it was some dude from Arkansas requesting the Clash ‘Lost in the Supermarket’. Oh, yeah. I just shook my head and happily be-bopped down the aisle. That one was just too *too* much of a clash of worlds. (despite my taking advantage)


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