When the music stops


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.



9 thoughts on “When the music stops

  1. People would find that music is still as innovative and imaginative as it was when they were in high school/university, *if they kept listening to it after high school/university*. I have a colleague who does that. He keeps up with music, goes to see live bands at least once a week with his wife, and attends Coachella every year. He knows more about modern music than I do by a large margin, and he’s in his 50’s. Music never got shitty, you just stopped listening to it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have to admit, there is some serious trash out there.

    There always is, though. Radio is about $$$, not quality, and the fact that Pat Boone’s “July You’re a Woman” was in the Top Ten in 1969 is my ultimate proof that bad taste knows no bounds.


  3. The pop stuff has always been trash, from disco to boy bands. A lot of why we remember them fondly has more to do with the time and situations we remember than the actual music. There is good music from every year, even today. In fact, because of the internet, I’m hearing more good music now than when I did as a kid. I just don’t listen to pop radio anymore which is where most of the “junk” music is being played. Even so, however, some of the modern music is so challenging of “ordinary” standards. I only just recently encountered July Talk. They’ve been around for years but I was unaware. I stumbled over them online and am in awe of their talent.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A friend recently asked me to listen to a Remix of 2Pac ft Dr. Dre, California Love, where women can only ever be sexual objects, drugs and alcohol addiction are celebrated, and sex seems to be the greatest exercise of our humanity. Or partying. Or rapping. Nothing about finding the cure for Cancer, ending hunger, etc. This song prolly ranks in the top 20 rap songs ever.

    Of course, junk music abounds in popular and subversive genres. And some of that junk (regardless of genre) is downright evil, dehumanizing and a curse.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post! I’m glad, in a way, that he made a stand. It’s true every generation goes through this. I sometimes find myself falling prey. My 14 year old son listens to a lot of the new rap music and I constantly compare it to the stuff I grew up to. I do try and listen to find stuff I like. I’ve found I like an artist called Joyner Lucas. I feel sad, though, that he has no real intentions of digging into the past and seeing where music evolved from, which I did in my youth.


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