Thursday, March 12, 2009

Pop Challenged

There is a note floating around the internet right now titled “The Top 25 Songs that Changed My Life.” I've enjoyed reading about music other people like, but I could never write my own list. I'm a little bit embarrassed to admit it, but I'm pretty sure I couldn't name 25 songs outside the classical music genre, let alone name songs that changed my life. I try to like popular music. Last week I was at the library, determined (after reading someone's “top 25” list) to find SOMETHING outside of classical music. I came away with nothing, overwhelmed by all the choices. I don't even know where to start. (suggestions?) I understand and sympathize with people who find classical music inaccessible and intimidating because I feel the same way about popular music.

I did listen to some popular music as a youth, but my choices were influenced by what my friends liked, or what my love interest of the moment was playing on his walkman. My family also played a role in my popular music diet. My sister was attending high school in the 1980's when MTV first made it's debut. We watched together. Those were the days when MTV actually played music videos. We watched Dire Straits get their money for nothing, Peter Gabriel's dancing poultry, and Michael Jackson's uncut Thriller video. My dad also did his part to expose me to the world of pop. We listened to the oldies station on car trips and I remember being amazed at his ability to identify all the songs from the 50's and 60's within the first few chords. For whatever reason, music from that era really clicked with me. When I do seek out popular music on my own, that is usually what I choose to listen to. Unlike my father, I can't tell you the names of the songs, artists, or the year they came out, but when I hear one of the oldie goldies, I can usually sing along.

This weekend the symphony is playing with The Lettermen. I enjoy playing these kinds of pops shows because I do know many of the songs. (I'll be in trouble when Brittany Spears starts giving symphony shows!) My aunt and uncle are passing through town and plan to attend the concert on Saturday. When I asked my aunt if she thought they would want to attend after a day of being on the road she said something about The Lettermen being from her era. “Mine, too,” I thought.

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