I listen to a lot more music now I have a streaming account. Listen to a lot more and pay for a lot more than I did as a teen. I wasn't no torrent freak of course. They didnt even exist then. I just didn't have much money.
I've often wondered why the new music which I find now, and which I love to play still doesn't seem to embed itself in my imagination or memory or even affections the way the music of my youth did.
Slate has the answer. Whole thing's worth a read, but the take away:
Between the ages of 12 and 22, our brains undergo rapid neurological development—and the music we love during that decade seems to get wired into our lobes for good. When we make neural connections to a song, we also create a strong memory trace that becomes laden with heightened emotion, thanks partly to a surfeit of pubertal growth hormones. These hormones tell our brains that everything is incredibly important—especially the songs that form the soundtrack to our teenage dreams (and embarrassments).
On its own, these neurological pyrotechnics would be enough to imprint certain songs into our brain. But there are other elements at work that lock the last song played at your eighth-grade dance into your memory pretty much forever. Daniel Levitin, the author of This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession, notes that the music of our teenage years is fundamentally intertwined with our social lives.
“We are discovering music on our own for the first time when we’re young,” he told me, “often through our friends. We listen to the music they listen to as a badge, as a way of belonging to a certain social group. That melds the music to our sense of identity.”