A long time ago, my husband and I went to a slightly posh pool party with some more – uh – well-heeled friends of ours. The hosts were our own age, and everyone assured us “you’ll just love them – they are SO cool”.
And they were. Really. They’d made a ton of sushi from scratch, and bought imported beer, and it was a glorious, sunny, perfect day. They were sweet to us: they were interested in us, in our artwork, in our plans, in our opinions. We liked them.
Everything was going swimmingly (hah!) in fact…right up until the radio began playing some rap song or other, and our host said those fateful words.
“Music today is such crap.”
Music. Today. Is. Such. Crap.
We kept our heads down. No one wants to be a cranky pain in the butt when they’re a guest, right?
But then he didn’t stop.
“There’s no depth to this shit. No story. No meaning.”
I shot my husband a warning look, but it was too late. He had that gleam in his eye – the one that said, in no uncertain terms, “Oh, buddy. Game ON!”
But Pat started out mildly enough.
“Yeah,” he said. “Not like what we grew up with…
“Not like ‘Afternoon Delight, right? So insightful. And the Captain and Tenille’s ‘Do it to Me One More Time’ – that was fucking brilliant stuff, wasn’t it? Or ‘Wild Thing’ by the Trogs? Oh, and ‘Louie, Louie’ – that was so fucking deep, man.”
And then he stood up and struck that Vegas-night-club pose, like you do, and began warbling
“Night in white saaaaatiiiin
Never reaching the eeeend!
Letters I’ve wriiiitten
Never meaning to seeeend!”
At which point, he launched himself backwards into the pool with a very dramatic splash.
Let’s leave aside the fact that our own parents and grandparents said exactly the same things about our music (possibly minus the profanity, depending on whether it was mixed company or not). That might be argued away, though I’m not sure how.
Let’s just remember that we’re not sixteen anymore, and that even songs that you actively loathed back then have now acquired the patina of nostalgic familiarity, so that you sing along to Nancy Sinatra’s ‘These Boots Are Made For Walking’ with as much enjoyment as you do to Dire Straits or David Bowie.
And the next time you open your mouth to utter those words, be aware that
A) There was just as much crap on the radio in 1970 as there is today, and not every single teen rushed out and bought those 45s; and
B) Today’s music isn’t aimed at you.
And no. They never asked us back.