It hits you first when you read the 68th 20 year retrospective piece of the week. Or that press release telling you about a re-release of Embrace’s ‘seminal debut’ The Good Will Out. Even reading Lizzy Goodman’s fantastic oral history of early 00s New York Rock, Meet Me in the Bathroom.
Articles about albums that, in your head, are still recent. And you realise that time has been marching on relentlessly as you try and find the next big thing. Working in the music industry makes it easy to trick yourself that you’re still young. Cos if you’re always chasing the new, how can you be old?
It hits you a bit harder when you hear the new albums by these bands and realise they’ve become the elder statesmen. You realise those artists you thought of as old, slightly too safe and old-fashioned, those lumbering stadium acts – Springsteen, U2 – well, whisper it, our bands have become them. And you really hate to admit that.
LCD aren’t playing Daft Punk in anyone’s house now. They’re making dark, serious brooding Berlin-era Bowie songs. And Daft Punk aren’t shorthand for cool anymore, they’re malfunctioning robots making Chic songs. And over there Arcade Fire seem to be making U2’s Pop album with the same message just slightly updated for the social media age and added #content. Thank god The National always sounded (magnificently) like they were 50, so that hasn’t changed.
And you ask yourself is this something to mourn, really? Have we become the people we didn’t want to be? Or, at least, have the bands we loved? A little older, a little safer? Of course, it’s not all bad – some of this music is still brilliant. But deep down you hate the idea that your youth is over, and you can hear in these albums that it is. And now you just have to prepare to tell your kids that these bands were exciting, they really were, as you drag them to see the LCD/Arcade Fire Infinite, Infinite Content tour in an enormodrome in 2047.
Danny Wright is a music writer who’s older than he realised. On Twitter at @dethink2survive