Age 50+ artists only.
LEE FIELDS – “Faithful Main” – as described by teddy morris-knower
“I live by the rule of: If you keep a laugh on the inside it’s gonna hurt you later. So if you gotta laugh, laugh out. Let it go, don’t hold it down. That’s a good remedy. I’m not a doctor don’t claim to be a doctor. Let the doctors be a doctors and the lawyers be lawyers and the politicians be politicians. I’m a singer, that’s what I do” – Lee Fields
He’s gonna be at the Mezzanine 12/3 if you wanna come
R. KELLY (feat. USHER) – “Same Girl” – as described by phill giliver
I know what you’re thinking: “Hey, wait a second, isn’t R. Kelly only 49 years old? And isn’t Usher only 38? I thought the prompt for this week was artists who were 50 or older? Doesn’t that mean that this song doesn’t mean any of the criteri–” YEAH I KNOW THAT, READER. But guess what? This song exists outside of space and time, forever in our hearts, and forever in our souls. R. Kelly and Usher have been messin’ with the Same Girl, and no age restrictions can even begin to describe the beauty of this power duet.
BJÖRK – “Lionsong” – as described by ena alvarado
Although Björk was less than fifty years old when she worked on her latest album, Vulnicura, I think “Lionsong” reflects the labors of a fully-grown mind, well into middle age. What is most powerful about the song is Björk’s honest and vulnerable insistence in the messiness of her own thoughts. Despite years of living, she still isn’t sure how to handle “abstract complex feelings.” Yet, it is absolutely true that “a sign of maturity” is “to be stuck in complexity.” The wisdom in gray hairs comes from knowing that one’s problems never cease to go away. One only learns to bear them.
LEONARD COHEN – “On the Level” – as described by nick burns
Leonard Cohen has left us, to our great disadvantage, and it’s a fitting time to appreciate the wise, accepting ambivalence of his final album. This song has Cohen moving on from an old romance, with a measure of realism: “When I walked away from you / I turned my back on the devil / Turned my back on the angel, too,” he sings. A good, honest breakup is like growing up: you’ve got to throw aside black-and-white notions of your own morality, and that of others. None of us is an angel, or a devil for that matter. Cohen’s telling us we’ve got to realize the world is more complicated and beautiful than all that.
JOHNNY CASH – “Hurt” – as described by angelica jopling
This song will tear your heart out, crumble it and piece it back together again. The music video is even more haunting, with Johnny Cash and his wife June Carter Cash, love snd sadness in their eyes foreshadowing both of their deaths within just seven months of recording. good luck..
FITZ AND THE TANTRUMS – “HandClap” – as described by chloe rickards
“But wait, isn’t this a new song from a new band?” Yes, yes it is. But, the lead singer, Michael Fitzpatrick is 46 years old, so he’s closer to 50 years old than I am. Fitzpatrick founded the band in 2008 when he was 40 years old, proving that mid-life crises maybe aren’t acts of desperation after all. And, I love the fact that this band gained popularity in the alternative/indie/pop genres, which are dominated by young artists.
PRINCE – “THIS COULD BE US” – as described by leilani reyes
The Purple One was 56 when he released this song as part of his thirty-seventh studio album, Art Official Age. If the title of this song reminds you of a popular Twitter hashtag from 2014, then pat yourself on the back. Yes, Prince drew inspiration from a meme. In fact, the song was re-released as a bass-heavy, futuristic remix on his 2015 HitnRun Phase One Tidal-exclusive album and as a SoundCloud Go single, which featured the following meme as its cover art. May one of the coolest cats in American culture live on through his music.
PAUL McCARTNEY – “New” – as described by nikki tran
When I was 14, I was lovesick with Beatlemania. Every car ride, I’d always bring along at least one bootleg CD copy of a Beatles album. I felt so mature, so sophisticated, so precocious listening to the gobbledygoo of “Come Together.” But then I got a little older and fell in love with different stars. “New” is one of the first post-Beatles, Paul McCartney songs I’ve listened to (besides, well, “FourFiveSeconds”) since my adolescence. “New” is almost old in the way it echoes back to a sunny, 60s boy band vibe (think: Beach Boys). Sometimes the past comes to greet us in the present, and all we’re left to do is say welcome.
DAVID BOWIE – “LAZARUS” – as described by anthony milki
We escape in music, but we also find comfort in the barrier that separates us from the superstars that give it to us; no matter how much it speaks to me, a song, for my own intents and purposes, is in part fiction. Bowie died only days after he gave us his haunting, prophetic Blackstar. Hearing him speak to us from beyond the grave, looking down from heaven, forces us to think about our own mortality. The song makes itself real to us. It’s deeply spooky, and essential listening.
GIL SCOTT-HERON – “New York Is Killing Me” – as described by alejandra salazar
In his 2010 album I’m New Here, Gil Scott-Heron had this stroke of genius – genius that Pitchfork describes as “post-industrial blues”, but what is better described as, “nah, it’s just Gil Scott-Heron being Gil Scott-goddamn-Heron” — to take his spoken word and lay it over some choice samples of Kanye West and The xx. (He was an established master of jazz, soul and poetry since way before either Kanye or The xx were born, but talent recognizes talent no matter what era it’s in.)
Not even a year later, Kanye returned the favor on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (his greatest work, don’t @ me), dedicating a full minute-thirty to Scott-Heron’s spoken word in his album closer, “Who Will Survive in America.” Jamie xx would go on to remix the entire album in 2011, naming his brilliant homage We’re New Here in cheeky reverence to the original.
It was only right: if Gil Scott-Heron casually immortalizes you on one of his records, you’d better honor it with your absolute best work.
Oh, and lest we not forget, the man was 61 at the time. Legend.
MORRISSEY – “Something Is Squeezing My Skull” – as described by katie nesser
Technically, this song was released when Morrissey was 49, but let’s face it: Morrissey has been middle aged from birth. I have this theory that every Smiths/Morrissey fan goes through three stages: infatuation with the disdainful Mancunian, rejection of his self-important misery, and acceptance of his singular persona. I had a more self-indulgently gloomy adolescence than most, so I’ve only recently been able to revisit Morrissey without cringing at the bombastic lyrics I used to cherish. This song finds Moz bemoaning modern life, apparently because his hat is too tight. Some people don’t change.
Image from here.