Hi-Fi Fifteen: Over the Hill Gang

Does aging have an effect on creativity? The great poets seemed to peak in their late 20’s to early 30’s. This seems true as well with songwriters. Forty seems to be the age when songwriters lose the muse and start declining rapidly. Artists like Tom Waits, Joe Henry, and Neko Case seem to get better with age, but they are outliers. Bob Dylan, Brian Eno and (until his death) David Bowie remain relevant in their sixties, but this is because they are artists whose work is their highest priority. Search your library and see if you can find great songs/albums by the over-the-hill set.

For this month’s Hi-Fi Fifteen, the three of us contributed songs written and recorded by artists in the 40th year of age or older.

1. “Dance Yrself Clean” – LCD Soundsystem
from This Is Happening (2010)
age (James Murphy): 40

2. “City Swans” – Neko Case
from The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You (2013)
age: 43

3. “Let the Train Blow the Whistle” – Johnny Cash
from American Recordings (1994)
age: 62

4. “Lotus Flower” – Radiohead
from King of Limbs (2011)
age (Thom Yorke): 43

5. “Our Song” – Joe Henry
from Civilians (2007)
age: 47

6. “Things Have Changed” – Bob Dylan
released as a single (2000) and on the Wonder Boys original soundtrack
age: 59

7. “Bottled in Cork” – Ted Leo & The Pharmacists
from The Brutalist Bricks (2010)
age: 40

8. “Glass, Concrete, and Stone” – David Byrne
from Grown Backwards (2004)
age: 52

9. “I Still Have That Other Girl” – Elvis Costello & Burt Bacharach
from Painted from Memory (1998)
age (Costello): 44; (Bacharach): 70

10. “You Don’t Know How It Feels” – Tom Petty
from Wildflowers (1994)
age: 44

11. “The Beast in Me” – Nick Lowe
from The Impossible Bird (1994)
age: 45

12. “Hard Core Troubadour” – Steve Earle
from I Feel Alright (1996)
age: 41

13. “Yalla, Yalla” – Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros
from Rock Art and the X-Ray Style (1999)
age: 47

14. “Youngstown” – Bruce Springsteen
from The Ghost of Tom Joad (1995)
age: 46

15. “Love and Mercy” – Brian Wilson
from Brian Wilson (1988)
age: 46

Hi-Fi Fifteen is a callback to the “5 in 5” playlist game that MMDG, holybee, and djlazybear used to play on their lunchbreak. They’re all in different professions now, and don’t even live in the same counties, but quickly throwing together playlists on rotating themes is still fun as hell.