Remember when your kid was small and there was always a negotiation about what music you'd listen to as you strapped him/her into the car seat. Would it be Dido, Alanis, Usher? I mean, some of us understandably, chose to expose the aural cavities of our young ones to more mature tastes at an early age. Case in point:
The answer is yes. But there will be some interesting exchanges along the way.
One between my daughter and I entailed correcting her assumption that Carly Simon and Tracy Chapman were men and The Bee Gees were women. (Hey…when I first heard Tracy I thought she was a guy too.) I think that kids these days—did I actually say 'kids these days'?—are used to female singers belting really really high. For some reason, range trumps all. I wonder what kids these days would make of Joan Armatrading?
Then there was the time I played 3 year old Layla the gorgeous “Adagio for Strings” and when I turned around I found her crying uncontrollably. “Oh Mama, classical music is so sad," she said. “That’s true baby,” I replied, while thinking to myself, “Good, she can feel it.” Then I changed the station.
When I was the kid in the back seat, my dad at the wheel, we listened the music of his generation on whatever station came in the clearest—Sinatra, Man of La Mancha, Streisand—while my mom marveled at the color of the autumn leaves along the Taconic. Way back in the 20th century, there wasn’t an endless buffet of music from which to choose, or earbuds with which to enjoy self procured playlists in the privacy of our own little heads. We had to stick it out in the confines of a vehicle and share the same experience with our entire family! Imagine that.
Sometimes, if we were lucky, my sister and I were allotted ten minutes of 'rock and roll.' But after a couple of tunes from that wacky Donovan we were right back to my father’s favorite, “People—people who need people”—a “number”—that’s what they called it back then, not a track—which I've grown to appreciate more and more over the years. Especially since his passing. Great lyric. All truth. Thank you, Daddy.
Over Christmas break my family of 3 (Layla is now 19), went on a road trip to the Grand Canyon. We took turns DJ-ing. My daughter has introduced me to Tallest Man On Earth, Alessia Cara, Bon Iver and on this trip, NYU graduate Maggie Rogers.
I enjoy being enlightened.
My husband played John Hiatt's, "Real Fine Love", (a song we couldn't stop dancing to when we first met), Gordon Lightfoot's “If You Could Read My Mind”, ("the feeling's gone and I just can't get it back" waaahhhhh!!!), Sheryl Crow's "Safe And Sound" (the haunting ballad she wrote after 911) and Neil Young’s “Cowgirl” (Layla used to think Neil was a girl too).
On our return we got deep into Dylan, and The White Album (my pick). It's funny how you can hear new detail even after listening to a record a thousand times. For instance: what was the logic behind sequencing the playful "Ob-La-di, Ob-La-Da" in between the cryptic “Glass Onion” and the raging “Wild Honey Pie”—not to be confused with “Honey Pie”?
Layla commented on how cool the bass line is on “Dear Prudence.” Yay daughter. Glad you're paying attention. When I was your age it was all about chord progression and lyrics. It wouldn’t be for another decade (or two) that I'd realize how a shapely and imaginative bass line can give a song its unique DNA.
And speaking of The Beatles, I look back with humor on the time Layla, upon hearing “Drive My Car” for the first time, was excited that they were singing an Elmo song. It was with a heavy heart that I explained it was the other way around. The Beatles cut it first. I remember these moments fondly and you will too.
“That part is so good,” she says of “Give you everything I've got for a little piece of mind.” “Yes it is”, my girl “Yes It Is”. No pun intended.
Those of you with toddlers who can't live without The Wiggles...take heart. Soon enough you'll be sharing playlists. She may even be driving the car.