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Your Parents’ Music Will Be Stuck in Your Head Forever—And You’ll Like It

Deep down, new research finds, kids may be secretly enjoying themselves and creating fond attachments to oldies songs that still rock their parents out

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Teens are often stereotyped as sullenly slouching in the back of the car, protesting Mom or Dad’s music. But it turns out, according to new research, that deep down, they may be unwittingly creating fond attachments to those same oldies songs that still rock their parents out.

Photo: livinginurletters

Here’s NPR on these findings, which no doubt will pleasantly shock some parents:

Earlier research has found that the music heard in late adolescence and early adulthood has the most impact and staying power through a person’s life. So the researchers figured that today’s 20-year-olds would be all about Rihanna and the Black Eyed Peas. Not so.

To arrive at these conclusions, researchers asked 60 students, most of whom were around 20 years old, to sample clips of pop and rock songs spanning 1955 to 2009, then report back on whether they knew the tunes, whether they had any memories attached to them and whether they liked them.

Participants in a study on musical memory didn’t just say they remembered and loved the music that was popular in the early ’80s, when their parents were young. They also loved the music of the ’60s, which their grandparents may have been blasting while changing Mom’s diapers. And the 20-year-olds of today liked the older songs as much as the new stuff they listen to with peers.

These results suggest that music is a “multigenerational phenomenon,” Pacific Standard reports. “It seems the songs we love aren’t just the ones we discovered, but also the ones our parents enjoyed, and presumably played in the home.”

On the other hand, the researchers postulate (humorously—we think) that it could be that music from the 60s just rocks in a very timeless and legitimate way. Of course, one of those researchers putting that idea out there is indeed a boomer, and her younger co-author may be one of those parentally persuaded converts.

More from Smithsonian.com:

The Cowboy in Country Music 
John Lennon’s First Album

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