Saturday, September 11, 2010

Rock Out with your Cacophony Out

Listening to the radio while driving recently, I caught a snippet about how marketers determine a demographic's musical preference. They take their target group's age and then subtract back to the time that demographic was in the 18-22 range. So, if the radio station was wooing 50 year-olds, they just would conjure up the Billboard Top 100 list from 1978-1982-ish.

This just incensed me -- the nerve of these marketing types. Wouldn't they just love it if we were all so easy to figure out. Just put us in one of a few preset boxes, simply plug in the variables and cha-ching: it' a sale.

Well, people are just a bit more fluid and dynamic than that, I thought. DAMN THE MAN! I switched off the report, cranked up "Guns-N-Roses" and gunned my bitchin Camaro down the street (you can totally listen at that link, you're welcome).

  <<< This was my car in high school. Now imagine it loaded with four or five white, western Kansas girls singing "Nuthin' but a G Thang".

Problem is, I realize that every time I attempt to rock out, it's the '90s staring back at me. It makes me sad. What happened here? I remember shaking my head at a group of "older" ladies in a club one evening when I was in college -- in retrospect they were probably only 34, which as we all know is quite young, :-) -- and you could tell by their tight-rolled jeans and Eastland boots the exact year that must have been their best year. It was frozen in time for us to see at that moment.

I was convinced this would never happen to me. Remember when you were in high school and one kid had the "cool" mom. She just got it. She wasn't trying to be a uncomfortably youthful, and she wasn't stuck in her era. She was hip to the current scene. She had a fresh style and a relaxed attitude. That was so gonna be me.

And yet ... every time I fire up the iPod  it's all Beastie Boys, Chili Peppers, STP, The Refreshments, Rugburns, Weezer, and Oasis ... you catch my (stale) drift.

<<< I can't forsake them, they gave me my license to ill.

So now I worry. Marketing is successful for a reason. Where does this leave me? Where are my boundaries as a mother? Is it like my iPod playlist? A key component of both good mental health and a healthy family structure are good boundaries.

We have to look more closely at this, at ourselves. Be careful what's on our playlist. Can't be so loosey goosey that every boy band gets in, BUT neither can we be sooo rigid that the White Stripes aren't allowed.

So take a look at your parenting playlist. Is Justin Beiber on there? Perhaps your boundaries are too loose. You will try and be besties with your children and be overly permissive. It is highly likely you will embarrass them: sporting a muffin top and trying to use the language of the day. But you'll fail. It won't be "phat" or "off-the-hook," just lame.

Is "Wonderwall" the newest song you've got? Then too rigid. When your children grow and change you will find it too difficult to make the necessary adjustments. Their friends will be dancin' to the latest hit song, actually using an iPod. You're fumbling for that cassette tape and toting a boombox. Just precious.

Here is where you come in. Help me make sure I don't fail as a parent. Take two minutes and send me the top songs and/or albums on your current favorite playlist. I'll buy them on iTunes, put them on my new playlist and listen to how far out of touch I've fallen. It is part of an experiment. I'll listen and consider where I'm at with current music styles, and my parenting style. I will report back to you on what I've learned or if I am changed.

Maybe I will become a better parent, or at least a better dresser. Or maybe I'll just have a bunch of new songs. I did hear that the tight roll is coming back. Hmmm ...

And as promised it is give away time. Think I can't get cheaper than Franzia? Well think again--I am going cheap AND old school on this one! Leave a comment and you are entered to win a burned copy of my current play-list, as-is, pre-updates. The winner can feel free to mock out.


  1. Ha! I love this post!

    Most of the songs on my iPod are from the 30's & 40's--the old jazz standards to be specific. What does that say about my parenting skills? Perhaps that I will parent like a grandparent?!? Ruh roh!

  2. Tell me your top few so I can add them. Who wouldn't parent better with a touch of grandparent thrown in. Well, unless your Grandpa was Hitler...(literal lady)

  3. I so wish you had video of the Camero Cruisers, but I think I can picture it pretty well. My best friend had a beat up old van, dubbed The White Elephant. Not quite as cool.

    I'm sort of a weird cross between "occasionally with it" and "horribly not." My musical taste is all over the place, which is why I prefer radio to iPod. I like not being in charge of what I listen to. I like the surprise of not knowing what will come next. Since becoming a mom, I've kind of bounced around like a ping pong ball. It's become more about a given song than a given artist, although I have to say just about anything Jack Johnson sings just mellows me out. I also tend to gravitate to worship music by the likes of Switchfoot, Jars of Clay and Superchick.

    Most of the time I like listening to new music or old tunes rather than the stuff I grew up with. Nostalgia can just put me in a weird place sometimes. But there are those times when you just want to belt out every word and there's nothing like late-70s country, 80s pop, or 90s alt-rock for that.

  4. I totally agree with you about nostalgia. You have put your finger on another reason I am looking around. Most eras of my life had a "soundtrack" and I think this one definitely deserves its own. I would love to listen to something in 20 years and get totally taken back to this magical time when my kids were little, but I can't keep doing that if I recycle the same old. Funny, I never really thought of how my ipod plays into my stagnation but now that I pause to consider it, I haven't really listened to the radio since 105.9 changed format (about 100 years ago) and that is when I fell hopelessly out of touch. Thanks for the good suggestions.

    I just heard some of the album by Justin Townes Earle and it is awesome. It has got a very mountain gospel-esque feel.

    It is pretty exciting to stay connected with good stuff. Connection is good, tight rolls and garage bands-guess it depends on the mood!

  5. You have chosen a topic very close to my heart. My music playlist changes weekly because I get bored quickly listening to the same songs and artists over and over again. When I go back and listen to those gems from the 80's and 90's I really have mixed feelings. Some of the songs and artists that I really loved just don't have the same appeal for me today. I guess that's a good thing in a way. There are exceptions. Some of my guilty pleasures I just don't feel so guilty about any more. Yes, I still love Journey and Abba. There, I said it! Lest ye think my musical tastes have not evolved, here is what I am listening to this month. Jamie Cullum.....album "The Pursuit". If you have not heard this guy before, or even if you have, his new album is amazing. A fusion of jazz and contemporary rock he can take a Sinatra style song and give it a whole new twist. My second pick is the new solo album from Killers lead singer Brandon Flowers (no, the Killers have not broken up). His solo material is more stripped down than a typical Killers album. The synths are still there but definitly a toned down affair from his day job. Last recommendation is Gaslight Anthem....album "American Slang". Think Bruce Springsteen meets Green Day. Just a good straight ahead rock album. The more you listen to it the more it grows on you. This is fun, let's play again soon!

  6. Some of my ultimate fave jazz standards, Sinatra sings them best:
    I've Got You Under My Skin
    Fly Me to the Moon
    I'll Be Seeing You (although this makes me cry because it will totally apply to my life when Will is in Africa...)

    Another jazz fave that is purely instrumental, no vocals. If you are in a bad mood, I challenge you to listen to it and NOT feel better:
    Basie, Straight Ahead

  7. First of all I have to start this post out by saying I have a picture of you in said Camaro rocking out with friends, but I must admit I have no idea what you were listening to at the time… I’ll have to dig out the pic and send it to you…

    Current music - I’m afraid I to have fallen horribly out of touch with current music, but I have to blame talk radio… DAMN YOU SPORTS RADIO 810!!!! However I did hear a song on the radio a week or so ago and it really “did it for me” but as soon as it was over they went right on to the next tune never exposing the identity of the group. I was forced to write down a few lines of the song and turn to my trusty friend Google for the answer. Now let me make everyone aware, since this is a family site, that the F word is used in the non-radio edit version (Just so you know). Without further ado… Mumford & Sons “Little Lion Man” check out this song and let me know what you think. That may have been too much buildup for a song, but Damnit I like it. Anyway that’s my two cents.

  8. Yay!!! These are awesome; you guys are the best. I am charging up my account on itunes. I am going to be the hippest, f-bomb dropping-est (only when singing), mom out there. Thanks! and ps-I 2nd that emotion "damn you sports radio 810". Only because it makes my husband walk around with headphones on and shushing us. and pps-I will pay you just to go ahead and not dig that picture out!

  9. Attempt #2 at a reply...I don't have an iPod or and MP3 player. Oddly enough, both my daughter and my husband do. When I look at iTunes on my laptop, I find I have the soundtracks from the Alvin and the Chipmunks movies..yes, both the original and the Squeakquel. I typically listen to the radio, or to nothing at all. It's odd to me because music was such a huge part of my life for so long, I find it hard to believe I don't even know what is "in" anymore. I'm pretty sure it's not anything by Alvin and the Chipmunks, though.

    So, now to explain why this is attempt #2 to reply. The first time I wrote the above paragraph, I really didn't like what it had to say about me! I don't want to admit I don't even really know what "good" music is anymore. I think it says I'm so lost in being a mom and a wife that I don't know who I am anymore...and I think it's probably right!

    It's so easy to get lost in our roles...I'm so mom/wife/career I don't know what I'd be if those three primary titles were taken from me. This revelation was shocking to me at first, but I think the first step to recovery is acknowledgment. I do need to find a balance in being wife/mom/career person and in being me!

    Thanks for the free therapy, sister1 :)

  10. Shellody,
    I love that you said the truth, especially about the squeekquel. And maybe it does have something to do with the chipmunks, maybe it is part of their nefarious plot to turn us all into marketing automatons who purchase nothing but kid movies, kid movie merchandise, and kid movie soundtracks.

    Anywho, you will be delighted to know that I am yet again lifting your words and putting them into an upcoming post (some may call it plagiarism).

    It is entitled "not all who wander (into motherhood) are lost." I don't think there is anything wrong with putting a huge emphasis on the most important parts of your life. Especially because you happen to love, enjoy, and be good at those parts. But I agree, everyone once in a while we have to do a recon mission and make contact with our neglected facets.

    This is getting wordy, I hope you are still reading because I have great news. You are this week's winner. Whoooo dated music alert-look out chipmunks, your days are numbered. Seriously though, I did make a killer playlist on itunes off these recommendations so I will add that to your cd. And in other news-many, many months (maybe a year ago?) I burned you a copy of the House soundtrack to send to you as a thank you for your medical help. Then I discovered said cd in my hall closet a few days ago. So bonus-that is coming your way too. I love, it may be random but there seems to be some element of grand design in the selection process. I may entrust larger life decisions to this website and not just blog post winners.

    Yay! I love you and I am sending you a package!

  11. And I love you! If you are sending me a CD of the House soundtrack, should I consider sending you a soundtrack of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, or some other fitting title for all of your mental health pro bono work?

    Anytime you feel I have something worthwhile enough to post on the blog, I feel honored! Plagiarize away!

  12. HA! How was that film scored? I would love to see what was on Nurse Ratchet's playlist. So funny addendum, an eerily similiar essay ran in my local paper today: It seems that an aging playlist is a universal theme (I love a good segue between topics).

    I will send the package this week.While I can't drink this week's give-away, I still want to get on it ASAP. Oh, and I will make sure and send it to address where you guys winter. Can't trust the staff at your summer home to get you your post anyway-it is so hard to find good help help these days.


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