I had a conversation with my child a couple of months ago that has resulted in some pretty significant life changes.
In response to yet another one of her groans regarding my singing in the car, I said, “Zoe, when I was your age, my mom sang to me in the car. So when you grow up, if you have a child, you can sing to him or her, and you’ll see just how much fun it is.”
My child replied, “Yeah, okay, but I won’t be able to sing the songs of my generation, because we always have to listen to your music.”
She has a point. She’s probably the only 11-year-old in the state who knows all the words to every Tom Petty album. Even the B-sides. Even the Mudcrutch stuff. She’s familiar with Boston and Toto and REO Speedwagon. She can identify Van Halen in the first three notes. Countless times, she’s had to listen to her mother belt out Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train” and GnR’s “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” and I’m pretty sure she has a video on her phone of both her parents jamming to “Bohemian Rhapsody” in the car. She likes Def Leppard and Bon Jovi, but they’re a far cry from the music her peers enjoy. Or so I’ve been told.
Okay, so this is an easy remedy, right? We’ll start listening to your music, kiddo. I didn’t know where to find it, because I am old, so I had to ask a young(er) colleague what stations play Today’s Hit Music. (Do they still call it that? I remember the DJs using that phrase when I was a kid. A hundred years ago.) The whippersnapper gave me a station list and I plugged them into the presets in my car, and was thankful that my car allows two separate tabs of presets. No way am I saving Today’s Hit Music over KSHE-95, Real Rock Radio.
I admit that I hated her music at first. How can people listen to this crap? This isn’t music! And then I realized that I was one step away from yelling, “Get off my lawn!” and tried to be more open-minded. Because I’m a cool mom. Really. Stop rolling your eyes.
So I listened. At first I was mostly pissed that I didn’t know the words. I really like to sing in the car. It feels weird to be quiet and just listen to music. Zoe, as you can imagine, relished it. Then I came to some realizations:
- Still love Lady Gaga. I shall be a Monster forever.
- Taylor Swift is whiny. Not a fan. Stop crabbing about your ex-boyfriends and people you think are mean to you. Life is pain, highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.
- Ed Sheeran is okay, but way over-played. Holy crap, DJs. There are other musicians with good music out there. Give ol’ Ed a break and maybe not play his stuff every other song. The guy has gotta be tired. He’s even taking a break from Twitter, he’s so tired. Or so I’ve heard.
- The Chainsmokers are the bomb. Master collaborators. Especially “Something Just Like This” with Coldplay. Because Coldplay. (I do not hold that “conscious uncoupling” bullshit against Chris Martin. That was all Gwyneth and her Goopy crap.)
- I dig Imagine Dragons. Yes, I know I’m late to this party. Whatever. I’m 43. I’m late to every fucking party now, if I even bother to make it at all. I’m tired, people.
- Twenty One Pilots is (are?) my new most favorite thing in the whole wide world. Last year I watched my beloved Cincy cousins lost their shit over Twenty One Pilots, but they’re younger than me and clearly on time to the party. I should probably hang out with them more.
- I would like to invite Flo Rida to “My House,” and hang out for awhile. I think we could be friends. I’m going to make him call me Miss Ouri. Ha. I bet he hasn’t heard that before. It will be fabulous.
- Adoring “Body Like a Back Road” because it’s all about a curvy girl, and I think curvy girls should be celebrated in a world where starved stick figures are held up as model women. I happened to mention how much I like this song at book club, and my friend whipped out her phone and showed me a picture of Sam Hunt, which served only to enhance my listening pleasure. Hoooo, boy.
- “Cake by the Ocean.” I didn’t have a clue what it meant until I googled it. Okay, I still don’t really understand it, but it’s fun to sing and dance to.
- I’ve admittedly been a fan of Katy Perry for some time now, and not just because I think she could wipe out T. Swizzle in a nanosecond in direct head-to-head combat, but I even like her new stuff. I watched her “Swish Swish” on SNL and grew obsessed with doing the Backpack Kid’s dance move. Zoe mastered it quickly, and I eventually got it down. It’s not pretty, but I can do it. I’ve also taught it to M, several coworkers, and a Panera HR person I met at PrideFest. It’s like I’ve found a new mission in life.
- I have no freaking clue who Zedd and Alessia Cara are, but I like their “Stay.” Seriously, who are these people?
- I’ve at least heard of Selena Gomez, but I’m in the dark on Kygo. Doesn’t stop me from belting out “It Ain’t Me.”
Basically, thanks to my kid, I could now watch a music awards show (if I can manage to stay up late enough) and know something, which hasn’t happened for a few years. Okay, ten years. Okay, fifteen. Or I could at least enjoy the music awards show once total strangers open their mouths and start singing songs that I recognize now.
So now Zoe and I sing together in the car. I welcome Tom Petty back once she hops out at school or camp and we’re both happy, so long as Ed Sheeran doesn’t come on yet again.
*Editor’s Note: the image for this post is from the Tom Petty concert earlier this year. I may be a fan of Today’s Hit Music, but Petty is still – and always will be – number one in my heart.