Interesting Question: At What Point Do People Have Their “Musical Midlife Crisis?”

For all of us, we have a musical sweet spot in our lives. It happens roughly between the ages of 14 and 24, from the time we enter high school to the time life begins to intrude with its demands of jobs, mortgages and families. During that period, almost nothing is more important to us than music. It not only becomes a personal obsession but something we use to proclaim our identity to the rest of the world.

But after about 24, we just don’t have the time (and often the interest) to indulge in our musical passions as much as we used to. Instead of spending hours seeking out what’s new and cool, we begin to fall back on the music of our youth for enjoyment, relaxation and comfort. New music just doesn’t do it for us anymore. We might even find ourselves saying “Music today isn’t anywhere as good as it used to be when I was young!” Then you go and yell at some kids on your lawn.

This is totally natural. Every generation has the biological right to believe that the music of their youth is the greatest music of all time.  We also have a biological right (or at least a predilection) to have a musical mid-life crisis.  The Guardian reports:

Some encouragement for all the 42-year-olds suddenly getting into Rihanna or Rudimental: at least your midlife crisis is less dangerous than buying an unsuitably-powerful motorbike.

Streaming music service Spotify has identified 42 as the age when many of its users rediscover the joys of current pop music, as part of research into how their tastes mature over time.

“During the teenage years, we embrace music at the top of the charts more than at any other time in our lives. As we grow older, our taste in music diverges sharply from the mainstream up to age 25, and a bit less sharply after that,” explained the company on its Insights blog.

“We’re starting to listen to ‘our’ music, not ‘the’ music. Music taste reaches maturity at age 35. Around age 42, music taste briefly curves back to the popular charts — a musical midlife crisis and attempt to harken back to our youth, perhaps?”

It’s a fascinating story.  Go here to read the whole thing.


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.

Alan Cross has 38324 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

3 thoughts on “Interesting Question: At What Point Do People Have Their “Musical Midlife Crisis?”

  • yes disco dance music is still alive !!

    i love it 🙂

  • New and cool?

    I think this guy doesn’t understand what music is. I prefer the composer to have been dead for a hundred years or so before I listen to his stuff. Time is a great filter. I’ve been listening to hours and hours per day even ever since I attended my first opera at age 25+.

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