Children have a way of pulling us out of the past. Were it not for my kids, I think my musical taste would be caught in the time warp of the 1980s and earlier.
There’s nothing wrong with those old songs, mind you. But song writing didn’t end with David Bowie’s “Modern Love,” the Clash’s “Should I Stay or Should I Go?,” Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” and Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark.”
I have friends who, when it comes to rock, are stuck in Beatles-mode. They don’t believe anything written since then is worth listening to. I love many Beatles songs but I’ll take Springsteen’s “Born to Run” over “Dear Prudence” any day.
The music we grew up with holds a special place in our hearts and souls. It was the soundtrack of profound changes in our lives – first loves, painful breakups and unrequited love, finding our way in the world, discovering passions and navigating success and failure.
Some of the best songs make us feel as if they were written by someone who reads our minds. And others simply make us move.
When I’m 90, I’m sure that I will be constitutionally incapable of sitting still when I hear “Build Me Up Buttercup” or “Mony Mony,” “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” or “I’m a Believer.”
Until my kids were old enough to develop their own musical taste, my rock music horizons only went as far as the band U2. I’d turn on the radio on my way to NPR and think most of the songs I stumbled on were forgettable tripe.
But as my kids got older, they staked a claim for equal time on musical selections in the car and that meant at least some current pop. If I had never listened to the radio, I never would have heard the soaring “Viva La Vida” by Coldplay or Kevin Rudolf’s “Let it Rock” – which has got to the best basketball warm-up song ever.
Then my kids also got tired of having to wade through forgettable tripe to get to some of the good songs on the radio and began branching out to more Indie music. That’s when they introduced me to the Killers with songs like “Human" and “All These Things That I’ve Done” as well as groups like Imagine Dragons with “On Top of the World.”
My current favorite song is “Anna Sun” by Walk the Moon and I play it so much my teenagers are sick of it.
But just as my teenage-self got a special kick out of introducing my mother to Simon & Garfunkel, my kids seem both pleased and bemused when I like some of their music. Pleased because they are my tour guide to 21st century rock. Bemused because if I like a song, it can’t possibly be cool.
So here are the questions: What music moves you and what music makes you move? Did music stop for you in the 50s? 60s? 70s? 80s? 90s?
If not, were you always adventurous musically or did someone younger drag you into the present?