I am a child of the 80s. At least, I think I am. I was nearly 8 years old when the clock struck midnight on January 1, 1980, and nearly 18 ten years later. In my book, the awareness of an 8-18-year old during the 1980s qualifies as being a child of that decade. It makes sense, therefore, that I like 80s music. It’s interesting what a difference just a couple of years makes. For instance, Kelly, who is just a couple of years younger than me, is not particularly fond of 80s music, but instead enjoys 90s music. My thoughts on 90s music can be summarized by a single word: meh.
I also go through phases. I listened to 80s music for a long time. This reached a kind of pinnacle a few years back when we got Sirius XM satellite radio1 and I could list to the 80s on 8 channel as much as I wanted in the car (and later, anywhere thanks to the Internet subscription add-on). I still like 80s music, but it is no longer what I generally listen to when I work.
Of course, it depends on the type of work I am doing and what my mood happens to be. My “default” these days is the 70s on 7 channel. I find this to be an almost perfect complement to work I do at my day job because it keeps my slightly off-balance. After all, I am typically doing things like storyboarding designs for user interfaces. I do this work on an iPad using the Paper app and a Bamboo stylus. And yet, in the background is the music of my early childhood when an iPad would have been some serious science fiction: Styx, ABBA, Eagles, Elton John, Bee Gees2, etc. It is like having hot water poured in one ear while cold water is poured into the other ear. I like that. It keeps me on my toes.
If I am not doing design work, but writing code, I often listen to something a little harder. This usually involves one or all of the first four Metallica albums, but may sometimes include Def Leppard.
When I write, things are much different. It is very difficult for me to write with music containing vocals when I am writing because the vocals jumble the words in my head and completely blow my concentration. I often do my writing in the evenings, after getting the kids ready for bed, but before actually putting them to bed. During this time, they each get to pick a cartoon to watch3. This means that there is a TV on. So I put on my noise-cancelling headset and listen to a white noise album that is mostly thunderstorms and rain. It is just enough to block everything out without screwing up my concentration. Sometimes I mix it up, however. Recently I have been listening to the excellent Hans Zimmer score for The Man of Steel.
- Can I just say that I love Sirius XM. It is the kind of radio station I always imagined having as a kid, one in which you could choose the type of music you wanted to listen to and then listen to it to your heart’s content and without commercial interruption. ↩
- I swear I typed the words “Bee Gees” here and “Night Fever” was the next song to play on 70s on 7. ↩
- The Little Miss usually chooses Caillou, while the Little Man picks one of several superhero cartoons. Currently, it is a 2003 version of Spiderman. ↩