Saturday, June 26, 2010

What are your kids listening to?

Both of my children are musical. Robert is playing piano at grade 8 level and Sam is a singer (pictured here at the local pub) due to sit level 4 in September. Not that the academic framework means much but that is where their interest lies to the degree that they will practice and perform. And their school preference largely rests on the fantastic music tutelage and talent at Wellington High.

As I write we have Clapton's Layla coming out of the mini speakers attached to Robert's ipod. He listens to almost exclusively 70s and 80s music. So if the same could have been said about me at his age I would have been listening to music from the 30s and 40s. Which certainly wasn't the case. Most of the music my mum and dad played was musicals, classical, crooners - Andy Williams, Nat King Cole, anyone singing Burt Bacharach. Dad would sometimes buy a Bob Dylan or Byrds 45 and he shared my love of James Taylor, Gordon Lightfoot, Carly Simon, Carole king, the country rock of the 70s. But there was no way he was into Motown, british classic rock, or US hard rock.

So my point is that what was new and original when I was a teenager is still largely my kid's choice of music. In fact I never hear anything that is currently in the charts and have just had Robert confirm he doesn't know what's current.

Yet when I was a teenager the top twenty was everything. I kept the weekly record of it, planned which album or 45 I was going to buy next and then drove my parents mad playing discs repeatedly, pushing the volume envelope as hard as I could get away with. That's another thing. The only time I ever ask for volume to be lowered its either the TV or a game - never music.

(We are now onto The Watchtower which sounds better now than it did when I first heard it, but my generation was absolutely totally utterly spoilt for choice and I am more appreciative in retrospect.)

So there is this difference-in-generation thing going on in my family and I wonder if the same is going on elsewhere. And even more intriguing and puzzling to me is, who is listening to today's contemporary music? And will the 'quality' of the 1960s,70s and even 80s ever happen again? At the time, we thought 'pop' music was about 'here today and gone tomorrow' - unlike the classical music from earlier centuries.

But the artists of those times (many still producing now) were making history and their music has endured. What will endure from the 90s and 2000s? Far, far less I suspect.

So what are your kids listening to?


Anonymous said...

Interesting post Lindsay. As I type this my 15 year old is listening to mid to late period Beach Boys - truly fabulous music - she is a singer so really appreciates the harmonies and the complexity of them. Mind you, it could just as easily be Pat Metheny or Michael Franks, all of which we have introduced her to, but which she now chooses to listen to. My guess would be only 10% of her listening would be "current" music.

I often wonder what music she will introduce her children to. Is the current popular music so unmemorable that it will disappear?


Ozy Mandias said...

Played my Year 7 class The Kinks the other day. - Plasic man - as we are looking at materials. Can't say I converted many of them.

Will ask my class on Monday what they listen to. Just listen to 'The Edge' or 'ZM' radio stations to hear the rubbish most kids listen to.

Manolo said...

To my surprise (and delight) my son listens to Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, although he has heaps of other noise he calls "music".

I'm a jazz and classical man.

Dave Christian said...

I don't know about kids, but I listen to The Decemberists, Arcade Fire, Interpol, Grizzly Bear, Bjork, Sigur Ros, Fleet Foxes, The National, Joanna Newsom, Radiohead, Flaming Lips, and many others. There is huge amounts of quality music being created in most genres. The problem is that sortening attention spans, technological change, and commercial imperatives conspire so that only those who seek out interesting music actually find it.

MikeE said...

99% of "pop music is complete and utter tripe" not just because its cack, but also due to the mastering process on modern music. Same applies to the new "digital remasters" of old classics, you lose the space in tunes, the highs are clipped, leaving you with somethign that is just loud... and muddy.

have a read:

Its interesting stuff, especially the comparisons of waveforms of music.