Monday, January 29, 2007

Flashin Back to the Oldies . . .

Okay, I'm officially old. I'm watching a Time-Life informercial on the "Classic Soft Rock Collection," pretty much songs from the 70s and early 80s. Geez, I know EVERY SINGLE SONG, and ALL THE WORDS TO EVERY SINGLE SONG they have played so far. They are showing clips of the original videos, and I'm having a serious flashback. But seriously . . . in the 70s (aaahhh, a Doobie Brothers song . . .), there weren't nearly as many different genres of music played on the radio, and Top 40 music was what most people listened to. It was the early days of FM radio, which meant they played a lot of music and very few commercials - those were the days - and pretty much everyone in your general age group knew and loved the same songs and artists. Yeah, we bought albums by our favorite artists - for me, Three Dog Night, Linda Ronstadt, Chicago, Fleetwood Mac, Doobie Brothers, Cat Stevens, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, Boz Scaggs, Kenny Loggins/Loggins & Messina, and Gino Vanelli, and tons of others I'm sure. But there were lots of one hit wonders that had really great songs and then disappeared from the music scene. They are just playing one great song after another (ahhhh, Waiting by Foreigner is on). The Cars, Phil Collins, the hits just keep on coming . . . along with the BIG hair and spandex and leather. Hee hee.

Now the weird thing about this infomercial - aside from the obvious - is that most of the people they have talking about how great it is (you know, those generic couples that are supposed to look like they are really loving the music) are WAAAAAYYYYY too young to remember any of this music from the 70s. Lord, I was a teenager then, and these folks look not even 40. Maybe it's botox . . .

My point is, a lot of this music is just so great, and you don't hear it much any more, except on American Idol where it may be mangled beyond recognition. Or on the Oldies station. It's amazing how a song can transport you back to a particular time in your life, sometimes to a particular day or event. Music is a very powerful thing, a tangible piece of memory that gets ingrained in your soul. (Ahhhhh, Bread - Baby I'ma Want You - a classic.) See what I mean? I can remember exactly what was happening in my life, exactly where I lived, where I worked, who I was in love with, etc., when that song was on the radio (I actually had an eight track of Bread - but that's another issue altogether).

With the eclectic, often weird varieties of music out there today, I wonder what this generation of teenagers and young adults will flash back to when they hear their own "oldies?" So much of it is sad, angry, unpleasant, misogynistic, and just plain raunchy . . . I'm not sure I'd want to walk down that memory lane.

Don't get me wrong, I like a lot of the music out today, and I listen to a much wider range of stuff these days, from classical to alternative to blues to jazz, and so on. But a lot of it just makes me uncomfortable - or bored. And it's hard to sing along with in the car. I mean, where's your modern day Bohemian Rhapsody? Singing along in the car used to be a bonding experience - or a way to practice your skills where no one could hear you.

Yep, I'm old. But I still like my music loud . . .

2 comments:

mytriparoundthesunshine said...

Although you and I are from different generations, I'm with ya on the angry music. An occasional song of angst can be cathartic, but all the time? How is that uplifting or enjoyable? I have some good memories attached to Jackopierce, Third Eye Blind -- I miss the late 90s!

hampton said...

i had a conversation with mike a few years ago... about the time they were living with bigMike and theresa and looking at buying a house... i was telling him that if i listen today to songs that were popular the year we were freshmen in h.s. (not that long ago, i know, but still) most of them have a specific memory attached. i hear it and i remember sitting in holley baker's driveway talking about boys and one of them pulls up with that song playing on the car radio... or driving home from school with mike/alex/andrew in the wagon (because for the longest time mike was the only one who could drive) with the windows downand weezer comes on and we'd turn it up and all sing along. (that's the answer to your sing-a-long songs... gotta love weezer, especially back then when the blue album had just come out)... anyway, mike rolled his eyes and made that "yeah, whatever" face at me, clearly not believing that a song could recall ONE specific memory. so i made him a cd of songs from that year and TOTALLY proved my point. i thought maybe he'd think twice before he made that face at me again... i was wrong :)