Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Oldies Station

When you're a kid, there's absolutely nothing in the world more annoying than an adult talking about music.  Whatever musical knowledge I could have gained from listening to parents or aunts or older dudes I did plays with at the theatre went in one ear and out the other.  As soon as they started to say, "You know, Kendra, good ole' so and so did the original version of that song back in that one year that was way in the freaking past," I was out.  So, when I overheard a girl in Anthropologie tell her friend that Adele was such a good songwriter and that "Love Song" was a fantastic example of this, I just sighed loudly and headed toward the headband section instead of whopping her upside the head and demanding she listen to Disintigration and give Robert Smith his props.

Another of my childhood pet peeves was my mother singing along with the radio in public.  Like, in the grocery store or a clothing store where actual people might hear her.  She was a preacher's daughter and while she did have a good voice, it was a choir voice.  But, it wouldn't have mattered to me if she sang exactly like Blondie; adults related to you singing in public is just arggghh, you know?  When her two sisters were in town, it was way worse. Three choir voices singing Madonna or whatever is enough to drive a twelve-year-old to loudly listen to the Sex Pistols just to try and erase it from her brain.  So, recently, I'm a little tipsy in the grocery store, as I sometimes am because it's on the walk home from happy hour,  and I find myself singing Journey to my husband in the ice cream aisle.  Like a chump.  Like a dork.  Like my relatives before me.

But, out of all the irritations kids experience from adults talking about music, the worst is when adults complain that their favorite music is now on the oldies station.  Or, in a commercial.  Or, it's gone mainstream and is being played in that grocery store for dorks to sing along to in the ice cream aisle.  My parents would bemoan this fact and I would roll my eyes and say, "Of course it's on the oldies station, you're OLD!" (I was a lovely flower of a child.)  I mean, what exactly did they expect?  "But, I don't think of myself as old," my dad would say, which would make me wonder what the hell was wrong with adults.  Did their brains start deteriorating as soon as they got out of college?!  (Turns out I was right on that one.)

So, of course, I've had the same experience.  There's a restaurant we go to frequently in our neighborhood.  My favorite waiter looks like a member of Erasure.  One night he was wearing cutoff shorts, a florescent pink v-neck tee and a black bowler.  Leaning over the counter, he said, "Hey, you guys, listen to this shit!"  Then, he turned up the radio so we could hear Don Henley's "The Boys of Summer."  I was nonplussed.  Okay, it's Don Henley.  So?  Then he said, "Y'all, it's the oldies station!  Oh my gawd, I hate everything!"   I wanted to hug him.

I was hit hard when I found out the reason Pixies were doing a Doolittle tour is that it was the 20th Anniversary of the album.  It literally took my breath away.  Or, there's hearing the Stone Roses at an outlet mall or finding out that Morrissey turned 50 or hearing Nirvana, the soundtrack of your youth at a freaking Rite Aid.  It's classic rock to kids today.  Ouch.

Okay, I get it.  I apologize for being a tiny judgemental dickhead.  I understand, oh elders, what you were going through.  Even though I continue to discover new music and go see new bands live, I still consider myself the same little girl in hightops lying on the floor listening to The Smiths.  (Possibly because I still wear hightops and listen to The Smiths. Frequently while lying on the floor.)

I'll try to pay it forward and sing around my nephews as much as possible.

*photo by Ham Hock.