Turns out the music we liked when we were 13 or 14 is the music that will stick with us for our lifetime.
For this project, the music streaming service Spotify gave me data on how frequently every song is listened to by men and women of each particular age.
The patterns were clear. Even though there is a recognized canon of rock music, there are big differences by birth year in how popular a song is.
Consider, for example, the song “Creep,” by Radiohead. This is the 164th most popular song among men who are now 38 years old. But it is not in the top 300 for the cohort born 10 years earlier or 10 years later.
Note that the men who most like “Creep” now were roughly 14 when the song came out in 1993. In fact, this is a consistent pattern.