Let there be music, Part II   3 comments

I grew up in a house that was frequently filled with music. Dad had a decided leaning towards classical music and Irish folk music, while Mom preferred The Beatles and Motown. Every once in a while they’d come home after a party and put on Bob Dylan, which was always the sign that you could go ask for just about anything and at least be spared an automatic “no”.

When my sister and I were very small, we spent a lot of time visiting a friend who introduced us to Kiss and Rush. We played a lot of tennis-racket air guitar to the Beatles. I don’t remember where I was when John Lennon died, but I do remember that we were crushed when we couldn’t keep talking about a potential reunion.

When my sister got a bit closer to high school age, I started getting *real* exposure to popular music. Journey, Huey Lewis and the News, Def Leppard, and then Duran Duran. My KTEL albums (“Full Tilt” and “High Voltage”) moved to the back of the playlist. Megan started branching out into the rapidly “cool” import scene, picking up on Siouxie and the Banshees, Depeche Mode, INXS, Howard Jones, Love and Rockets, Gene Loves Jezebel, Violent Femmes, and a ton of other bands that didn’t “make it” (because their top hit capped out at #17) always before they became popular with the people that thought they were cool.

My own friends were diverging chaotically. Greg went the rocker route: Mötley Crue, Ratt, Van Halen, and Metallica. Marc sucked off his brother’s music (Jean was close to Megan in taste), but put his own spin on it. Marc was unashamedly a fan of George Michael, Tears for Fears, OMD… but also listened to Shriekback and Queen and Prince (one of the main differences between Marc and I is that from 7th grade through high school, Marc could listen to A-ha and nobody would say he was a wuss).

Me, I absorbed it all. I listened to everything. Some things drifted into niches, but I still own a large variety of music and almost all of it gets play every once in a while. Some of it because it evokes memories of certain people, certain places, certain activities, or certain times. Some of it because it stands on its own power, or its own beauty. Some for all of the above (I also confess a soft spot for some goofy music that really has no artistic merit whatsoever).

Now that I’m a parent, I wonder what sort of musical legacy I’m going to pass along to my children. Jack and Hannah of course aren’t old enough to understand the anger behind Metallica, or the outrage behind Tribe Called Quest. I find myself editing my playlist a lot when I’m at home, simply because a good chunk of what I listen to is inaccessible to kids their age. But I remember hearing “Rainy Day Woman #12 & 35” when I was a child. I wasn’t a teenager. Excessive editing is probably a bad idea, right? The reasons I listen to these songs are all good reasons, and sooner or later they’re going to be age-appropriate for my kids. Probably well before I realize that they’re growing up.

For now, we’ll stick with the Funk.

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Posted April 21, 2008 by padraic2112 in music, noise, parenting

3 responses to “Let there be music, Part II

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  1. At almost 4, Noelle’s musical taste runs to “any CD in a cardboard jewelbox”. In my house that means a) my Breeder’s EPs b) St. Germain’s _Tourist_ c) a Jem EP. Apparently familiarity does breed fondness. She’ll dance and even kinda sing along repeatedly to Divine Hammer, Cannonball, etc. This is the principle on which commercial radio operates, isn’t it? Just play it enough and they’ll come to like it?

  2. The overwhelming majority of the music we play at home is either jazz (bop and cool jazz mostly, with a little hard bop thrown in) or standards and, as one would expect, that’s the music that the kid gravitates towards. He never seems to respond to us playing other genres, and never asks for us to play anything else. (He even seems a little agitated when we put on the reggae to clean the house.) No doubt this will change once he starts listening to music around his friends more often. (He’s aware of his friends taste currently, but is for the most part influenced.) I figure as long as we’re able to keep him away from Chick Corea we’re in good shape.

  3. Liam has songs on his ipod from bands I have never heard of. I’m so happy about that.

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