I’ve been thinking lately about what it means for a film or album to age well. People change their tastes as they age. But this slows down after a certain point, wouldn’t you agree? As a teenager you might like Justin Bieber or Katy Perry, but as you enter college, you decide what you really like. Some people continue to like top 40 all the time, while others discover Dylan and Hendrix. But I would argue that at some point while your tastes in music and film might change some, they tend to slow down or even solidify.
But despite this, you notice exceptions. You still like Scorsese films, but maybe one of them no longer seems that great in retrospect. Or you continue to like a ton of indie rock, but now you wonder whether Weezer was ever all that great. Why does this happen?
Sometimes it can be obvious. Society has changed, and you just can’t get over the fact that Breakfast at Tiffany’s features such blatant racism, so it ruins the whole thing for you. But other times it’s more subtle, and it becomes difficult to explain why. Here are a couple examples that have been on my mind lately:
Music that aged well: The Wrens. Their album, the Meadowlands, is one I enjoyed when it came out during my college years. It was a solid piece of indie rock with varied styles within the album. But as time passed, I would forget about it, and revisit it after months or even years. And every time I did, I enjoyed it more. This is a band that could have been the next Creed, but instead chose not to “sell out.” It’s good for us – we get their excellent music – but it wasn’t so obviously good for them. The guys still lived together in suburban New Jersey working shit jobs making very little money. And the feelings the album evokes continue to resonate as time passes.
A movie that didn’t age well: Lord of the Rings. The books are classic, and the movie is a well-adapted version of the fantasy world. But remember how huge this seemed when it came out? How much it dominated the media? How many pop culture references it produced? How the third film won over 10 Oscars, including Best Picture? Doesn’t that seem silly now? Doesn’t it seem indistinguishable in excellence from other very good adaptations like some of the Harry Potter films?
So what do you say, Unpersons? Any good examples you have of things you know you used to love but don’t anymore?