How do you feel about music?
I think this is important because I think it says a lot about how you are aging. Feel free to disagree with me on that but it’s been my personal observation for years.
In my early years, I started with my very own record collection, full of hits like Disco Duck, Art Linkletter, and the epic Free to Be You and Me album. My sister had a more mature record collection with the likes of Barry Manilow, Donnie & Marie, and the soundtrack from Star Wars. We were definitely rockin’ the 70s.
But as I started to get older, I wanted a taste of bigger and better music. And so I begged my mother to get me Linda Ronstadt’s Greatest Hits for Christmas one year. And she did. Or Santa did. And yes, I know all the words to Silver Threads and Golden Needles.
Then there was a blip in my musical history. I was born again and rock music was suddenly evil. We listened only to “Contemporary Christian rock” and looked down on all of the devil’s music. This, of course, occurred during my critical and formative adolescent middle school years which, as you can imagine, made me one of the most popular girls in school.
Yeah, I know. It explains a lot.
Somehow, we outgrew that phase. Maybe because we moved into the teen years and my mother had less control over our musical tastes. Or maybe it’s because I signed up for Columbia Record & Tape Club and suddenly had 20 of the best 80s albums all to myself. I could finally sit in my room listening to Culture Club, Cyndi Lauper, Huey Lewis, and Duran Duran. Oh yes. I was a top 40 dork.
Then my older brother came along with the coolest invention EVER. It was a Sony Compact Disc player and we could listen to these things called CDs. So I did, but my selection was limited to his music. I got turned on to the likes of Thomas Dolby, Pink Floyd, Depeche Mode, and Yes.
Yes, I clearly have varied tastes in music.
A few years later, I was off to college. Ah, the 90s. The music of REM, U2, and the B-52s, among others. But in addition to the newer music, college was a time when I was finally exposed to the classics. I learned about Simon & Garfinkel. Got to know the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Even ventured into Grateful Dead territory. And when I graduated college, went out into the working world, and eventually got married, the music stopped.
Actually, it didn’t. But for so many people, it does. That’s it. That’s the end of music. In the car, it’s strictly talk radio or kids music. Or silence.
Now, I can appreciate a good, silent car ride (most parents can) and I’ve spent a few years letting my musical tastes go dormant but thankfully I’m married to man who wakes them back up every once in a while.
He still spend too much time watching music videos, listening to lyrics, and spending too many credits at the iTunes store. But I thank him for it because it keeps me singing and dancing and passing along a musical experience to my son.
Some of the music we listen to is modern and hip. Some of it is old school. And some of it is whatever is on the Just Dance games for the Wii.
One of our latest favorites is an older song called “Gimme Sympathy” by METRIC. In the song, she sings “who’d you rather be?/the Beatles or the Rolling Stones.”
One day, I looked at my son and asked him even he knew what either of those references meant. He had no clue. So I promptly introduced him to both and even tied in the Maroon 5 song, “Moves Like Jagger” so we could come full circle. We sampled a few tunes and then I asked him, Who WOULD you rather be?
“The Rolling Stones,” he replied. I always saw myself more aligned with the Beatles but I’ll take it.
Yesterday, we ventured into downtown Baltimore and for reasons I can’t really recall, we decided to eat at the Hard Rock Cafe. It was there that I made the connection once again about music and aging.
While it’s really nothing more than a chain restaurant these days, I still had fun looking at the memorabilia all over the walls. I also realized how completely irrelevant a place like that is for a 6 year old. He didn’t care about Shakira’s bodice or Madonna’s glittery shorts or even Tom Petty’s guitar. But we did wait patiently and watch every music video that came onscreen.
I looked around the restaurant. Mainly families with children and nobody was paying attention to the music. Or even the memorabilia.
We started by watching INXS and then singing a little to Maroon 5 and then swaying to Squeeze and rocking to Foo Fighters. And then Mick himself appeared onscreen and sang a live rendition of “Angie.”
Evan! That’s Mick Jagger! From the Rolling Stones!
He acknowledged. I don’t think he was particularly impressed. But I had fun. I remember how much love music and even though silence is golden, so is rock ‘n’ roll.
I refuse to retire my musical tastes or knowledge. I fully plan to school Evan properly on music so that even if he chooses to blare Party Rock or, God forbid, Justin Bieber, he’ll at least have his rock ‘n’ roll roots.
Where are you with your musical tastes these days? Do you still blast your music? Do you share it with your kids? Do you still go to concerts? Sean is taking me to see Imagine Dragons next month and I’m hoping I still remember how to have fun. I think I’ll start with a beer.