Meaningless Lyrics and Drifters

I often tell my teenage daughter “a song isn’t worth the MP3 file it’s recorded in if it doesn’t have great lyrics”. And then I’ll say “I’m a words kind of guy”. Of course by then I’m talking to myself since I made the mistake of saying something to my teenage daughter.
But… I got to thinking today as I was listening to some great rock ‘n roll I’ve ripped onto my computer from my CD collection. Terry, I says. Or actually, since talking to myself out load at work isn’t a good idea, ‘Terry’, I thinks, ‘you’re full of shit, man. Some of this music you’re listening to now has terrible lyrics.’
So there it was. I was being hypocritical. There are so many songs I love that are sadly lacking in the lyrics department but they have that driving beat, that unique rhythm, that great cowbell part. A lot of those songs are from my youth when they were probably burned into my psyche from those days I had that realistic radio by my bed in my basement room as a kid. It was on whenever I was in my room doing nothing. It was on a lot! That was before computer games, before personal computers, before we had a colour television, before video. So let me get out of that closet and admit it: I was listening to pop. And liking it.
So if my kids tell me they really like something… I will have to make a little more of an effort to be less uppity and close-minded and try to hear what it is that they like. I might just like it too. Even if it doesn’t have that early-Genesis-clever-poetry I love: it still may be able to touch me and make me want to move like Boston’s More Than a Feeling or Marianne Faithfull’s Why’d you do it? or even Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Well… let’s not get carried away there…
It’s like that guy in James Michener’s The Drifters, you know, the sixty-one-year-old man who is forced by circumstances to listen to the rock ‘n roll music of some ‘drifters’ in Europe in the 60’s. He begins to see what it is all about and comes to an epiphany about how he needs to be open to understand what’s going on around him. Good book; good idea!


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