So, maybe it’s the tranquility of the beach, the waves, the wind in my hair that makes me reflective. Regardless, I began to wonder if I’m going through my musical life with blinder’s on. Most of you know that I have a 15 year old son, whom I call Mini DD. He has been raised around music since infancy. In his younger years he was a “Country” presario, much to the consternation and disgust of his two older brothers (admitted Alternative and Rock listeners).
However, a couple of years ago, the Country genre started to wane for both he and I. As a newly minted teenager, he started to listen to the music of the day that all of his friends were listening to — mostly Rap and what I call Alternative. I, on the other hand, went back to the future, listening to many of the tunes of my youth and young adulthood. I even went through what I call my “Blue Period”, where I was power listening to everything Sinatra, Dean Martin and Patsy Cline.
As if a metaphor for our lives, we went on separate musical paths, this only son and I. With the onset of puberty, so came the normal rebellion and turning away, musically and otherwise. When I got into John Mayer, he mocked “Gravity” by whining the lyrics when I played it in the car on the way to Soccer practice. Perhaps as a path to understanding or maybe just curiosity, I asked him to tell me what his five favorite songs were, promising to give them a serious listen and objectively write them up on my blog. (“Your WHAT, Mom?!?!”)
So, here they are:
1.) Breath – Breaking Benjamin
2.) Forever – Papa Roach
3.) From Yesterday – 30 Seconds to Mars
4.) Firefly – Breaking Benjamin
5.) Smack That – Akon with Eminem
I have to admit that the top 4 are not that dissimiliar to the Journey, Foreigner and Boston of my youth. A little more polished but very reminiscient of that music. While not overly original or different, I had to admit that the music wasn’t necessarily overwhelming and I could understand the words. And, there was meaning to the songs.
I can’t say the same of “Smack That” considering these lyrics:
I feel you creeping, I can see it from my shadow
Wanna jump up in my Lamborghini Gallardo
Maybe go to my place and just kick it like TaeBo
And possibly bend you over look back and watch me
Four out of Five ain’t bad, I guess. I did learn a little from this exercise in that not every song has to be prolific. Some are just fun to listen to. Just like “Brick House” in my generation, some songs of this generation are just for fun….to sing along to or to dance to….to be young to. There’s plenty of songs that are “anthems” and still others that are “soul-defining” and personal to our core, no matter the generation. Those are vital, as are those designed just to entertain.
To finish the metaphor, on the way down to the beach, my son admitted in front of one of his friends that John Mayer’s “Dreaming with a Broken Heart”, is a really great song that he actually really likes. At that moment, I felt that if the music could bridge a gap between parent and child, then the teachings, the mentoring, and the guidance that his father and I have tried to give over the years are validated and worth all of the angst and worry spent over the talks about drugs, cigarettes, sex, responsibility, manners, etc.
I’ve always taken my parental role VERY serious as having only one shot at providing a man to this world that respects himself and others, has the independence and confidence to pursue his dreams and be true to himself without belittling anyone else’s, and that spreads happiness through his own “joie de vivre” without being trivial. Based on our musical journey, I’d say, “So far, so good.”