Is Your Playlist Stuck in a Time Warp?

Or have your kids convinced you there is some music today worth listening to?


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?  

Dino Ciliberti (Editor) October 18, 2012 at 02:12 PM
Great column Margie. As a music historian and a classic rock fan, it's hard to not stick with songs of the past. I still buy new music, just from old bands!
Margie Peterson October 18, 2012 at 03:29 PM
Thanks Dino. So what are your favorite bands? Are they writing new music?
Ron Beitler October 18, 2012 at 03:38 PM
A retro sound is coming back! You wouldn't know it by listening to B104... And you have to look for this stuff. But there are some great bands/groups out there doing great stuff. Check this single out by a group called the "Noisettes". Great example. This song is a staple in my cocktail hour playlists! (I own a company that does weddings and events - DJ's live bands, lighting, film and photography) Pretty cool huh? almost a motown vibe. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KRFHiBW9RE8
Mary Youtz October 18, 2012 at 03:43 PM
I don't have anyone under my roof guiding me through 21st century rock, so I must confess I stay stuck on the music of my 20s and 30s, especially music from the 1980s. I stopped watching the Grammy Awards one year (can't remember when) because I no longer recognized most of the performers. That's my confession, but I still love music from the 80s, no matter what. It's the best!
Mary Youtz October 18, 2012 at 03:47 PM
I need to clarify: I also loved the music of my 40s. After that, things really changed.
Dino Ciliberti (Editor) October 18, 2012 at 03:48 PM
Well, just bought new album from Heart. Recently saw Kansas, B-52s, Beach Boys and Squeeze in concert. My fav band is the Eagles and most of my tastes are from 1970s. Big on Grateful Dead too so still to this day buy old concerts out on CD.
Ron Beitler October 18, 2012 at 03:48 PM
Who doesnt love the 80's Mary! Thats another genre too thats seen a bit of a renaissance in terms of new artists emulating the "electronic" vibe. Phoenix for one. The Killers new album has a bit of an 80's vibe to it also.
Pamela Porter October 18, 2012 at 03:56 PM
There's been new music released since Neil Young's "American Stars & Bars"? Who knew!? I don't have a child either, but someone I dated introduced me to new stuff, so now in addition to Mr Young, my CD collection includes Mazzy Star, Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers, The Reverend Horton Heat and others. I'm hip - and get off my lawn! :D
Dino Ciliberti (Editor) October 18, 2012 at 03:59 PM
I can't stop buying music. I-Tunes is great. Just got new Stones song. My CD collection numbers in the thousands and even bought a record player last Christmas to start playing some of my old vinyl.
Mary Youtz October 18, 2012 at 07:08 PM
Just got back from the grocery store where they were playing songs from the 80s. I sincerely liked it. Yes, I must confess then quite fully that my playlist is stuck in a time warp. Thanks, Margie, for food for thought ... excuse the grocery store pun.
Margie Peterson October 18, 2012 at 08:24 PM
Mary and Dino, I agree that there's a lot of great music from the 80s. Just take 10 minutes and listen to these two songs and if you don't like them, I'll throw in the towel. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZW5in7A-dmM and then youtube "Anna Sun" -- my computer is acting up or I would send you the link to that one too.
Mary Youtz October 18, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Oh my goodness. I listened to both and they were somewhat mesmerizing. Anna Sun still is echoing in my head. Thanks, Margie!
Jennifer Rodgers October 18, 2012 at 09:36 PM
My kids have definitely opened me up to new music but there's one genre, hip hop, that I can only take so much of!
Margie Peterson October 18, 2012 at 09:52 PM
You're right, Ron, the Noisettes do have that Motown sound -- that's a good video. Pamela, I'll have to check out the groups you mentioned. I have a lot of ground to make up considering how many years I ignored any new music.
Chris October 20, 2012 at 07:15 PM
I like classic rock little bit of the Beatles but mostly 90's rock like Nirvina and Offspring and all kinds of bands if anyone checks out my 3 playlist of rock music on youtube there is so many known and unknown bands on that both my 2 playlist have 200 songs on it and my 3rd has like 65 songs and still adding on but Black Sabbath old songs from Rio Speedwagon are awesome Listen to so much Black Sabbath there like my #1 band of all time
Mary Ellen Alu (Editor) October 20, 2012 at 07:50 PM
Katy Perry! I thank my 7-year-old for that!
Jonathan Gerard October 26, 2012 at 05:13 AM
"Popular music" will, by definition, be unpopular in time. None of the songs mentioned above will be listened to a hundred years from now. Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert... have an inherent greatness. We could easily teach this music to our children by playing it in school while they are working. It would take no extra school time to introduce them to music that would enthrall them all their lives. This music is revelatory. There is a place for popular music but, like weeds, it crowds out the really best stuff.
Chris October 26, 2012 at 09:05 PM
Right ya see I'm not talking about 1800's music I listen to that and I can't handle that cause it's slow boring and not my intrest my intrest are Rock music of the 50' 60' 70's and lots of the 90's the 80's to me suck just like Journey and there song Don't Stop Believeing but all the genres of music your talking about are 100% old but rock is were it's at and always will be
Ann Wlazelek December 03, 2012 at 11:35 PM
I thank Brad for introducing me to so many of his favorites, including Offspring, Chilipeppers, STP, Green Day... the list goes on


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