While driving yesterday, I found it peculiar (and totally awesome) that the radio station I’d settled on played one song after another, after another, after another that I knew all of the words to.
Like, really, it was like my own personal playlist being broadcast on commercial radio.
In order, the last 6 songs I heard were Basketcase by Green Day, Runaround by Blues Traveler, Better Man by Pearl Jam, Because the Night by 10,000 Maniacs, Selling the Drama by Live, and Interstate Love Song by Stone Temple Pilots.
By this point, during my second car trip of the day with an awesome soundtrack, I finally noticed that each song was being intro’d with one of those cheezy male radio voices saying “1994”.
Must be some sort of flashback day or something…
Anyway, it was clear that 1994, when I turned 18, was my sweet spot for popular music and that got me thinking…
Am I torturing my kids by making them listen to this dated music?
Putting myself in their shoes, and reminiscing about what my parents made me and my sister listen to in the car, well, it kind of makes sense.
My parents turned 18 in 1965 which totally validates the style of music I was “forced” to listen to growing up, you know, lots of the Everly Brothers, Beatles, Neil Sedaka, Rolling Stones, Elvis, and that sort of thing. Lots of early British Invasion one hit wonder stuff.
Once the music got a little bit more psychedelic, political, and, frankly, weird, they kinda of punched out from the popular music scene much like I did when (crappy) bands like Staind, Tool, and Creed took over the airwaves.
But here’s the thing… in my opinion, my “old” music doesn’t sound dated.
No, it’s not over processed like Beyoncé or Katie Perry and they didn’t use sampling of “apparently” forgotten hit songs to rap on top of back in 1994 but it doesn’t sound old fashioned.
Or does it?
Oh crap, that’s probably exactly what my parents thought in 1994 about Neil Sedaka’s “Calendar Girl”. That song is timeless… Ha!
I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned before that I’m really thankful that my popular music “sweet spot” occured when I was in high school from 1990 through 1994.
Really, I was the perfect age (just starting grade 10) when Nirvana came along and “changed” the trajectory of popular music.
Nirvana was never one of my favorites (though I’m pretty certain I own all of their albums besides Bleach) but songs from that era that I know all of words too still hold some weight.
The bands and the solo artists weren’t putting on costumes or makeup like the 80’s hair bands — just wearing and looking a lot like I still do when I go to the mall.
More music and less of a production during that time period, I guess. They didn’t have gimmicks, they just played the songs.
No matter, there isn’t much shame to be had for knowing the words to the songs I’ve listed above. I know I’m not embarrassed.
And that reminds me of a time I took my sister to a college hockey game back in 2009…
She found it downright hilarious when the sound system played Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA” and all of the Ugg boot wearing university students sang along proudly.
For real, the students drowned out the sound system in the arena as if it was the oft-played chorus of “Living on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi playing at any sporting event anywhere in the past 30 years.
Being older and wiser, my sister and I both knew that little Miley was a flash in the pan and that someday these kids would be horrified to be labelled as a “fan” and probably even pretend that this day and their actions at this specific hockey game never actually happened.
And as my sister continued to poke fun at the situation as though she lacked similar skeletons — she’s 5 years younger than me — I uttered the band name “N’Sync”.
For my age bracket, there just isn’t a comparison…and I’m really thankful for that.
And before anyone brings up my love for “The Sign” by Ace of Base (released at the end of 1993), well, that song is awesome
[The 10,000 Maniacs MTV Unplugged album with the “Because the Night” cover was actually released in 1993 and not 1994 but that’s ancient history, right?]