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The Never-Ending Cycle of "Our Music Was Better"

Music has always been my faithful companion and has been an integral part my whole life, luring me to concerts like a moth to a flame. That being said, I can be easily spotted at a concert. Once, as my father picked me up from a concert of Pakistani singer Hasan Raheem, he was shocked at the sight of the exiting crowd. Curious, he asked about the singer, and obliging his curiosity, I played one of Hasan Raheem's songs in the car while enlightening him about the talented doctor-turned-singer. Alas, my father dismissed the tune with a scoff, reminiscing about the musical legends of his time. "Ah, Muhammad Rafi sahab and Gulzar! Those were the days," he sighed. I nodded, acknowledging the greatness of the music and lyrics from that era.



Later, in a conversation with a slightly older friend, I encountered a familiar refrain. They too asserted that the music of their time was unparalleled. Once again, I found myself in agreement, recalling the songs of Jal, Strings, EP, Fakhar, Haroon, and the many other Pakistani musicians who had woven the soundtrack of my youth.


While I firmly believe that music preference is entirely subjective, with individuals having the freedom to choose what they consider good or bad, there is a recurring chorus echoing through the ages: "Our time of music was superior." This sentiment persists, even though we understand that the notion of labeling something as "trash" is arbitrary. All this made me wonder: why do each successive generation claim superiority over the music of the next?

The answer may lie in the generational gap and the discomfort it brings. Music evolves, pushing boundaries and challenging established norms with each passing era. This unfamiliar territory can be unsettling, provoking a dismissive attitude towards newer sounds. Our desire to preserve what is familiar and cherished creates a cognitive bias that fuels the notion that "our music was better.


It seems that nostalgia often takes the stage, blurring our objectivity and causing us to yearn for the music of our past as we proclaim its unmatched greatness. Nostalgia plays in shaping our musical perceptions. As we grow older, our cherished memories intertwine with the songs of our youth. The melodies that accompanied pivotal moments become emotional triggers, amplifying our connection to the past. Nostalgia wraps us in a warm embrace, making it all too easy to idealize the music we grew up with. We associate it with comfort, familiarity, and a sense of personal identity, leading us to believe it was inherently superior.


So, the cycle continues, with each generation convinced that their music reigns supreme. Ultimately, there is no judge, only the timeless beauty of melodies echoing through the corridors of time.



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