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Friday, February 10, 2006

wow, man, what a boomer

So I am doing the good husband thing, going with my wife to the grocery store, right? Guys don’t like to go grocery shopping but I go with my wife now and then because she is the bomb and I am such a great husband. Hi, honey!

Anyway, picture dutiful husband and cute little wife going down the aisles looking for wheat bagels. Suddenly I am aware of the music playing overhead. It is actually muzak, you know, the strings lightly playing over the keyboards cheerfully but quietly following a melody of some sort. But it was the song itself, it was just wrong! They were playing “Purple Haze”, muzak-style, overhead in the grocery store!

I have heard Aerosmith hawking cars, so when I watch a commercial on TV and hear the strains of Deep Purple or Led Zeppelin it doesn’t surprise me anymore. The cutting-edge music of my childhood has become the sound that goes with the shill on national TV. We are the Boomer generation and our music, once annoying the ears of our parents and expressing our deep-seated need for illegal drugs and fast times and the avoidance of the draft, now sells Cadillacs. Okay, it was our music and we still like it so advertisers figure it will help them move product.

Once we sang aloud to the words of “My Generation” and believed it, now it is a staple on the “oldies” station and our generation is getting offers from AARP. These days Steven Tyler’s daughter is more popular than he is. Aaargh!

But now the worst has come. Set to muzak is the song that had words like “you've got me blowing, blowing my mind, is it tomorrow or just the end of time?” It is simply jarring to hear.

I remember how it seemed my parents just didn’t “get it” when I was diggin’ on Cream or Led Zep while they preferred Dave Brubeck or Perry Como. I was still groovin’ to Foreigner and getting’ down with K C and the Sunshine Band. I still got into Metallica. But now? Now there is rap and now they think that scream-o bands are music. Now I hear my own father’s voice when it is I that says, “Music today stinks!” It must be a rite of passage. It must happen to all of us that the time comes when popular music sounds lame to us and every bit of our favorite music is relegated to the “classic” and “oldie” genre.

My first car was a 1965 Mustang convertible. Now it is a collectible. As I child, I was there for the overthrow of radio by television. Now computers are here and they are integrating into everything. Dick Tracy’s wrist TV-radio is here and becoming obsolete. All of this change is great, I love it, make a living from computers and much prefer front-wheel drive cars. CDs and MP3s are far superior to vinyl records. I have no kick against progress.

But Jimi Hendrix as muzak? Do we really need to hear that? Alas, as we finish our shopping and begin putting everything on the checkout belt I notice another song being played. “Born to be Wild” by Steppenwolf being expressed largely through a decidedly unemotional clarinet. I just hope they don’t find out about Metallica! Can you imagine buying cantaloupes to “Enter Sandman”?

Then I laugh to myself, thinking of my children someday grabbing a carton of milk while Eminem or P Diddy plays overhead in the key of Guy Lombardo! Mwuu-hahahaha! Oh yes, your time will come…


Lactose said...

Well observed dude!

I heard Chilli Peppers in Tescos the other day. I sympathise :-)

Hawkeye® said...

Hey Radar,

I can correlate. We must be about the same age. My first car (unofficial because I never got roadworthy) was an old 1956 Buick. My second car was my dad's left over 1961 Chevy Brookwood station wagon. My third (all-time favorite) was a 1964 Ford Galaxie 500 XL in mint condition...

It was fire engine red with a black vinyl top. Bucket seats. Power steering. 390 cubic inch engine with dual carbs. (If you punched the accelerator you could watch the gas gage drop.) But hey, gas was 34 cents per gallon!

Best regards (and thanks for the memories)...