Wednesday, June 27, 2007

because it's always been the same old scene

When I was a sophomore in college, my roommate (from New York City) divulged to me that she had never heard a single song by Van Halen. I thought maybe she just didn't recognize the band name, so I tried thinking of their most recognizable song, like Jump, and still, she stared at me blankly. Now look, I am not saying that DLR and company are part of some sort of musical canon, but I mean, come on, how had she gone through life never having heard a song by Van Halen?

See, to me, hickster from sticksville, I could not imagine how she'd managed to escape the fools. I grew up here in EBF, and so it does not seem at all strange to me that I know the words to a song by Pure Prairie League, and frankly, shut up, because you would too if you grew up in such a place.

And then I started thinking that perhaps this was one of those phenomenon that was pre-MTV, back-in-the-day and that nowadays kids in EBF are listening to Akon and the like. They certainly are listening to Akon. But you know, then I had to admit that, when I grew up in EBF, the whitest kids I have ever met in my life were donning parachute pants and putting down cardboard at recess to breakdance. I certainly didn't escape Madonna, Milli Vanilli, New Kids on the Block, or Duran Duran by virtue of living in Classic Rock County. But still, it was always in the background, almost a required listening- you had to know your AC/DC, your Meatloaf, your Allman Brothers, your Billy Joel.

I'm not saying all that Classic-ish Rock was good, but I think there is something good about knowing it exists. If for no other reason, so that I can roll my eyes at it and mutter, "not that song again" when I turn on my car radio here. I feel a little badly for my cousins who are much younger than me, who seem only to have been subjected to MTV music, rather than EBF music. Sure, they're hipper, but they have lost out in the whole EBF experience. Man, I can't believe I just felt sorry for them for that, of all things.

But that's what I thought. Here's what I forgot- the Clear Channel mafia has made such a mess of radio stations that, in places like EBF, if you turn on the pop stations (I think there are only two), you only get to hear three songs. From what I currently gather, these three songs are "Big Girls Don't Cry" (yes, that was the sound of me throwing up), "You Make Me Better" (I don't care who it's by, I could have probably tolerated it if I had only heard it once in an hour, instead of four times), and "Too Beautiful" by that awful Kingston character that really needs to be told to nut up. And yeah, sure, teeniacs are slaves to the popular, but you know what else teeniacs are? Wildly deficient in the whole attention-span area. So, if you're an easily bored kid trying to find some tunes, what are you going to do? Listen to some Freedom Rock (turn it up, dude!).

I would never have deduced this, of course, except that I was driving with my cousin S a few days ago, and while channel-surfing for an exasperating length of time, I stopped at a familiar song. Usually, I will not subject my cousin to such music, because I figure she will not recognize it and will develop that oh my god, you're like a 100 years old expression that she sometimes unleashes upon me. But there really was nothing else on the radio, and at first, predictably, S had no idea what it was when she heard:

you show us everything you've got
baby, baby, that's quite a lot
you drive us wild, we'll drive you crazy

She squinted her eyes at the stereo quizzically (as if somehow staring at the stereo was going to help her recognize the song), while I concluded that I really was 100 years old, in disbelief that she did not recognize the song. I turned my attention back to driving, but when the chorus came along, I almost swerved off the road, because S was suddenly pumping her fists, bouncing off her seat, playing air drums, and yelling (sadly, but comically, very, very off-key):

I wanna rock 'n roll all night and party every day!

So, it appears that at least one of my cousins bears the unfortunate stamp of EBF.

More coherent posts when the humidity stops paralyzing my brain.

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