I had the idea for this blog whilst sitting in our hotel’s restaurant on New Year’s Eve. A particular radio show was blasting through the speakers as we were trying to eat. Quite a few of the singers sounded like Minnie Mouse after a lungful of helium, and their songs sounded the same; aggressive girl-power overtones, warbling voices, and with indistinct lyrics; the sort of ‘music’ my granddaughters listen to. I’m all for girl power, but IMHO it would be best accentuated with lots of heavy rock chords. Sam came out with something that instantly reminded me of my mother’s reaction when I used to play my rock LP’s back in the 1970’s and she would compare them to her favourite big bands of the 1940’s, Glenn Miller and Artie Shaw:
“I can’t hear the words. What the hell are they singing about?”
I had no idea what the lyrics were either, and what’s more, I didn’t care. It all sounded nasty, and the noise was getting on my nerves. However, all the young waiters and waitresses had seemingly understood the words without too much difficulty, and some of them were actually singing along quietly as they worked. I answered Sam whilst shaking my head.
“Do people actually go out and buy this stuff?”
“Presumably so.” Sam looked as baffled as I. “Poor sods; they don’t know what good music is, even if it jumps up and bites them on the arse.”
A succession of misogynistic rappers were the icing on the Christmas cake, so to speak. It was with more than a modicum of relief when we were able to escape onto the street and get away from it all.
As we walked towards the Tower of London, we laughed as we recalled music from our sons’ teenage years. Our eldest son Leon was into grunge, hip-hop, drum and bass and trance in the 1990’s. To us, listening to the racket emanating from his room, it sounded as though the workmen were in. However, I do have Leon to thank for introducing me to Nirvana. Our youngest son Marcus is a brilliant guitarist, and was in quite a few heavy metal and prog rock bands from 2000 to about 2012. I did eventually get into Metallica, Iced Earth, Sepultura, and Dream Theater among others, and so I have Marc to thank for that. However, I had to draw the line at Five Finger Death Punch.
Leon is now 34 and plays our rock CD’s in his van on the way to work. Marc, 31, is still a rocker, but is now teaching his eldest son a few chords. After putting The Glenn Miller Story DVD on TV to try and cheer my mother up, I find I love ‘Moonlight Serenade’, and get a little tingle along my spine when the band members stand up in unison and blow their horns. I can also utter ‘Pennsylvania 6500’ at the right times now as well. Recently at a family funeral, the crematorium’s curtains closed around my uncle’s coffin just as ‘In the Mood’ started playing. I felt like jitterbugging. Old Glenn would have been proud.
Will I ever get to like Minnie-Mouse-on-helium songs? Perhaps I will when I’m in my dotage and my granddaughters have brainwashed me in order to keep me numbed and compliant while they feed me puree.
Is the musical generation gap alive and kicking in your house? Thankfully it’s not in mine, as my boys moved out a long time ago!