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|How Can You Listen to That Garbage?
|Nowhere is the generation gap more evident than in music.
The other day my brother sent me a “note” on Facebook to list your favorite 15 albums in 15 minutes. This prompted me to think about music that I love and realize a few things about myself.
I refuse to feel old because I don’t enjoy much of today’s music targeted at teens. Make fun of me all that you like. It has nothing to do with my age…
Growing up music was a big deal in my house. My mother didn’t watch much television but she loved her stereo. Music was always playing. My parents had a great album collection. I even recall my mother giving me her collection of 45’s when I was very young. I danced around my room to songs like “Bony Maronie” and “Venus”. They bought me my own record player (nothing fancy) when I was very young and I loved the oldies as much as I loved the current stuff. I played their albums and had an appreciation for music of all eras. I remember loving the Motown sound and the Beach Boys. Heck, I even grew to love Gladys Knight and the Pips and the Fifth Dimension. I spun those vinyl discs for hours.
Eventually I was old enough to start my own record collection. By the age of 10, that was serious business to me. I remember making my birthday lists with my favorite new albums that I would like to have with the hopes that I would get a few from friends and family. I saved my babysitting money to buy my music as well. There was an awesome record store at the intersection of Route 4 and 301. It was in the shopping center with the Dart Drug, A&P and Trak Auto. I would browse that shop trying to decide what would be the new edition to my collection. Eventually, the album collection became a cassette collection for my car once I was driving.
My mother liked most of the new music back then. She wasn’t wrapped up in her oldies. She was opened minded to whatever was new on the horizon. I remember she had a great stereo in her Buick Regal. She would crank it up. We listened to music together. Donna Summer and My Sharona frequented our home stereo. I remember Mom loving the song “Le Freak” when it came out and we grooved together. Mom always sang the “FREAK OUT” part! Somehow generations apart, we met each other on the same plane during that song.
Now my dad was a bit different. He liked what he liked and we weren’t going to convince him to come around to much of the new stuff. He would pick me up late from the dance studio for years. He would wait in the parking lot in his Chevy truck. I would get in and it was always the same. Talk Radio or the oldies channel. Now I didn’t mind it because I had grown up listening to their music and had developed an appreciation for it but he was never interested in the new stuff out on the radio. I remember begging him to listen to Casey Kasem’s Top 40 countdown on car rides to my grandparents. It wasn’t going to happen. He would say, “When you’re driving, you can listen to what you want.” It was your typical musical generation gap.
Through the years, I have continued to indulge my passion for music. I have changed with the times. My Ipod is a plethora of music showing that I can conform to just about anything that the music industry wants to deem “the next greatest thing”. On my Ipod you’ll find a multitude of options - disco, Motown, AC/DC, Frank Sinatra, ELO, Maroon 5, Kenny Chesney, U2, Dave Matthews Band, Guns N Roses, The Fray, Shinedown, Patsy Cline, and Lady Gaga…you’ll even find the Theme to Welcome Back Kotter followed by Toby Keith. I’m all over the map. Definitely not a music snob.
So obviously my kids were raised in a home that has music on for a majority of the time. Again, when they are little they listen to the music that you like. My oldest son loved the group “America” when he was little. It played on our CD player a lot. To this day if “Horse With No Name” comes on, my 16 year old is singing all of those lyrics – as bizarre as they are. I remember keeping up with the music the kids liked. We invested in those “NOW” cds when they were in preschool and lower elementary school. I remember when we bought NOW 4 – the other day they advertised NOW 33! How could that be? But I guess that just proves how much music changes and how much it influences our culture. Especially the culture of our youth. When I was making that list of albums it was funny how most of the music was from a time of growing up. For all of the fads that have come and gone – the music that stuck with me was that of my youth. It got me thinking…
My kids have Ipods. For the most part they download and sync their own interests. They definitely have a great deal of “my” music on their Ipods. They have Michael Jackson and a lot of my classic rock. They know the words to most of those songs. It still makes me laugh when my teenagers start singing, “Ain’t No Woman Like the One I Got…” but now, in the next breath I hear “The Old Me’s Dead and Gone…and they break into some fast rap interlude. Their tolerance for my music is lessening as teenagers. I was naïve enough to think that it wouldn’t. I really believed that “my” music was so great that they would always appreciate the talent because clearly the music of today’s teens clearly shows a lack of talent and will never stand the test of time. Not like MY music. The famous last words of every generation of parents.
When we drive in the car now, they want to touch my stereo settings. You know what I mean; they want to change the radio station. They are trying to control my music. I’m not loving this so much. I miss the days when I would put on Ricky Martin’s Livin La Vida Loca and they would bop around the car and sing. We all used to like the same music. I remember that brief period of time when we had finally graduated from all of those children’s music tapes during car trips when I didn’t have “Do Your Ears Hang Low Do They Wobble To and Fro” played over and over and over. There was a brief, yet wonderful point when they liked what I liked on the radio. Apparently that ship has sailed.
Car riding becomes an argument over musical selections. Especially if we ride in our SUV. We’ve got satellite radio in that. Once I found the 70’s on 7 and 80’s on 8 channels, oh baby I was all over it! They used to like me turning that music up – but apparently I am only allowed to do that now if there is someone with numbers or initials in their name blabbering out some sort of attempted rhyme with a heavy bass thumping through some remix remake. (I was horrified to learn that Eminem had done a remix called “Sing for the Moment”. That’s right! You heard me – he’s rapping to the background of Aerosmith’s Dream On. What the heck? Of course that song is going to do well on the charts – he’s taken a HUGE hit that has stood the test of time and rambled on over top of it about whatever his latest anger issues are – but clearly everyone only hears Steven Tyler’s genius coming through.) I try to be open minded and listen but once that loud chanting starts - I just can't take it. I will turn it off everytime and put on something I like.
Suddenly, I hear those words coming from my mouth. “Don’t touch the station. When you are driving your car, you can put on what you like. When I am driving – we listen to what I want to listen to.” But now I can add something my father couldn’t. “Listen to your IPod.”
…yikes. Did I really just say that? After all of these years of taking pride in the fact that I roll with the times and that I can be as hip as the next teenager, I blurted out the words that my father used to say when I thought he was an old fuddy duddy. I realized that my playing that 70’s station and belting out Robert Palmer’s “Bad Case of Loving You” while seeing glimpses of myself at the roller rink on a Friday night – is really no different than those nights I got in that Chevy truck and dad was singing the Four Tops “Bernadette” and feeling like it would take forever to get home.
Thank goodness that technology has advanced with the times of music. Occasionally there are times when my stereo is playing in the family room with my IPod selections. My eldest son’s stereo is thumping in the basement with his latest annoying download. Son #2’s laptop is cranking out his favorite Alternative Rock jam. My daughter is at the family computer in our living room on ITunes dancing to Enrique Iglesias’ “I Like It” with its racing dance club intended beat. I find myself shouting, “Turn it down!” While I get the typical response. “What?” “I can’t hear you!” “Why are you yelling at me?” It is at that point that I am grateful to John C. Koss and Martin Lange for introducing the concept of listening to music through head phones in 1958. Hmm. 1958. This was not too long after the teenage discovery of Rock N’ Roll and American Bandstand in 1956. I don’t think this was a coincidence.
But ultimately this leads us into another parent/teen battle. Driving in the car while the kids sit behind us listening to their IPods. My husband turns to me and says, “I can’t take it. I can hear their music through their headphones over MY radio. Tell them to turn it down. How can you stand that? Don’t you hear that buzzing sound? That’s ridiculous. It’s WAY too loud.” I smile at him…take his hand in mine…look out my passenger window and sing “BBBBBBB Bennie and the Jetsssss…”
…It’s only a matter of time before our kids are grown and become the next generation of parents. I’m sure they will invent something to take care of that problem. What comes around goes around.
-- Hey Dad! Guess what? - Sirius XM Satellite 70s on 7 plays Casey Kasem's Top 40 Countdown on Saturdays at Noon - 3 pm ET and 9 pm - Midnight ET and Sundays 9 am ET - Noon ET, and Mondays Midnight - 3 am ET! It's all good now!
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