Being a working dad over age 40, I don't make the time to keep up with the latest pop music. I say that proudly. Music for young people seems to repeat many of the various "boy meets girl, boy loses girl" and "nobody understands me" themes that have been on the radio for the past forty years. We just can't get enough songs about lost love and rejection, can we? And when we're young, every rejection is taken so darn hard. We'll never find another love as good as the one we just lost. Once rejected, we're doomed to walk the planet as a lonely, rejected, unredeemable, unwanted person forever.
Think about it: if youthful disaffection was so rare, if their experience was so unique from earlier generations, there wouldn't be an entire entertainment and music industry feeding off our youth. Their "unique" experiences wouldn't be fed back to them through the lyrics of every other song that you hear.
Now that I have some distance from the rejections of my youth and my hormonal activity has moderated, youthful suffering now seems, well, a little over-the-top, especially as its portrayed on the TV and radio. I don't mean to diminish anyone's angst, but I am pleased to report that things got better for me. If nothing else, aging provided a perspective: it has shown me that I am less of an individual that I used to think I was, that I am fairly predictable, measurable, and quantifiable. It's not as bad as it seems, and I take comfort in knowing that many of my experiences as a human being can be shared with other people who may understand what I am going through. They may not care, but at least they'll understand.
Just how far I've fallen from the cutting edge of pop music struck me this weekend. I watched a few minutes of the American Music Awards on TV, and I soon realized that I didn't recognize anyone! Then Rod Stewart came on. Try as he might, even Stewart's rendition couldn't ruin Louis Armstrong's "Beautiful World."
This morning while taking the oldest son to Kindergarten, a pledge drive dislodged me from my local National Public Radio (NPR) station. For the first time in years, I hit the SCAN button and the radio locked in on a rock format station that was playing a song by Weird Al Yankovic. I don't know the name of the song, but it had something to do with someone who was trapped in 1985, whose kids thought she wasn't cool any more. Yeah, that's me, I thought.
Today I take my music as it comes, and that's usually through NPR. I can't sit still for the commercials on regular radio stations these days. Anyway, NPR turned me on to my current favorite singer, Kevin Johansen, and I invite you to check out my man, Kev. He has some of his songs on the web for everyone to taste. Try this one, and if you like it, then go here for more, and then buy his CD. Not bad for a guy from Alaska who grew in Argentina.