Menu Close

Music of My Life

Warning: Despite English narration, majority of the clips used in this post are in Russian. Three other European languages, besides English, are also present. I hope my English-language audience will still enjoy the music.

My kid brother did me one better and created a meme of his own. While he did not explicitly state the rules, they are fairly simple:

  1. Think back to what music was your favorite at every 5-year interval of your life,
  2. Illustrate with YouTube clips.

I could not let such a nice idea go stale, so what follows is my own excursion into how my music tastes evolved.

Before we get into specifics, I should posit, that unlike Kisintin’s, my musical affinities have not really changed much over the years. Surely, I went through periods of liking specific genres and performers, which subsequently faded away from my playlists, but I largely like the same type of music today that I liked fifteen years ago.

Also, many of my favorites became such non-contemporaneously. My favorite rock group disbanded before I was born, and several of my favorite performers passed away before I was old enough to appreciate their art. In many cases, I became fond of musical acts years after their original releases. What can I say? When it comes to music, my tastes are often retro

Enough of idle babbling. Ready?

When I was five, music was about songs from animated shorts, many of which I adore until this day.



There was also Песня Года, watched by the entire country every New Year’s Day, and songs from it.



When I was ten, Песня Года and numerous concerts staged in honor of every which professional celebration day continued to provide most of my favorites.





But I also graduated from animated shorts to made-for-TV musical films.



When I was fifteen, I discovered for myself the Bard who was no longer amongst the living. Although lately I listen to his songs much less frequently, his is the name that first comes to my mind in any conversation about who was the greatest.



I also discovered rock’n’roll. Or, rather, the greatest group of them all…



At the same time, this was a period when Euro-pop was very much in vogue in the former USSR…

This was “it” during my DJ days in high school.



Italians were very popular.



Even Germans got in on the act.



When I was twenty, that was probably the only period of my life that I had some contemporary favorites. Among them was one of then avant-garde Soviet rock groups…



… as well as a certain Irish band…



But I also found some “retro” partiality then…



Meanwhile, another hugely popular bard has firmly established himself as one of my favorites.



When I was twenty-five, I started to veer steadily towards relative oldies, including instrumentals.



This duo had split ages before I came across their songs.



There was one contemporary whom I listened to regularly, though. Actually, he is still a contemporary…



Inexplicably, I also went through a period of liking country music genre, especially Garth Brooks (no good clips of whom can be found on YouTube – he is probably one of those performers who militantly protects any potential “infringement” on his copyrights).

Much more importantly, the overall nostalgia for movies of my childhood and youth has spawned strong fondness for their soundtracks.



When I was thirty, my tastes continued to progress in pretty much the same direction.

European travels re-awakened affection for old Euro-pop favorites…



… with Italians holding a very firm position near the top of any playlist.



A large group of Russian bards retained a special status in my musical Pantheon.



And my DVD collection of old Soviet favorites grew proportionally to my affection for songs from the movies.



When I reached thirty-five, it became self-evident that for all of my assimilation into the American way of life, my musical tastes are firmly revolving around Russian bards and movie soundtracks, with the Beatles and the Italian pop of 70s-80s retaining a special place, but with very little affinity for anything else besides assorted hit singles by various performers (some of which I periodically post in my YouTube’d memories series).

And that’s the music of my life. Anyone who’d like to do their own version, you’re more than welcome.

Posted in Memoirs, Music


  1. kisintin

    A great compilation, that made me realize three things.

    1. You have influenced my music tastes, up to the moment when you put on a very first heavy-metal song. Don’t deny it, you went through Ariya stage 🙂

    2. Modern talking could have made a great Heavy Metal band, they had all the props right.

    3. MULLETS are an international phenomenon.

  2. Ilya

    Scout’s honor, Ария was in the script, but I could not find a good clip of something that I would recognize (and sung by Kipelov) on YouTube. In hindsight, I should have given it a paragraph nonetheless – it’s another aberration in the evolution of my music tastes, similar to country…

  3. jason

    Ilya, this is really a neat idea — my complements to your brother!

    I love the Russian clips. They’re fascinating glimpses of a culture that I think still remains very mysterious to most Americans. The very first clip, the children’s short, is especially charming. What is that song about?

    One thing that’s very interesting to me is that the USSR always had the reputation here of being very closed off from the rest of the world, and yet your favorites seem to come from all over Europe. Here in the US, the only non-English-language song I ever remember hearing (without deliberately seeking them out, anyway) is Nena’s “99 Luftbaloons.” British pop groups were popular among some of my friends (I didn’t care for many of them, myself) but the German and Italian stuff never made it here. American chauvinism perhaps? Or the language barrier? Both maybe…

  4. Ilya

    The song in the first clip is a classic. It’s called “The Blue Railcar”, and it is basically about how we had a great day, but the blue railcar is taking us to the new adventures.

    As far as variety of the music that we have been exposed to in the USSR, it was all rationed and sensorship-approved. Much of it came from the Soviet block, but our cultural ties with Italy and France have apparently always been friendly. It’s no great surprise that horizons started to truly open only with perestroika.

    Also, don’t forget that many non-English acts still used English language (ABBA would be the easiet example, and you apparently knew also-Swedish Europe, etc). Coupled with a great number of British and American musicians (and Irish), there’s got to be infinitely more variety to pick from compared to a language used in only one country, however big. What follows is a lesser need to diversify your tastes with other languages…

    That’s not to say that American chauvinism has got nothing to do with it 🙂

  5. Kisintin

    I don’t know about chauvinism. The Language barrier I understand. The are certainly as many brit, aussie, and irish acts as there are popular American bands.

  6. Jack

    I’m surprised Queen isn’t in there. One of the first ‘Western’ bands to play the in the then soviet bloc. Maybe not your taste. Quite often people (especially americans) don’t realise the influence of English rock bands on modern music culture. Great vids anyway.

  7. Ilya

    Yeah, Queen would not be much to my taste, but I honestly do not remember being much exposed to it either. Although I have friends with similar Russian-American background who love it, along with Pink Floyd, above all else…

Comments are closed.