Tony Bennett, Dean Martin, Elvis and Frank Sinatra. Music and sensuality just flow like speakeasy gin. Growing up, music was like velvet to me, you never wanted to rub it the wrong way, instead feeling the texture in every way possible. Music was a way to talk, a way to love while also being an entertainment and a family treats. Short of vanilla ice-cream not many things can cross that many barriers in life.
Because I was blessed to have several generations in my life I knew a 78, 45 and 33 1/3 as well as reel to reel, cassette and 8 track. Now as I shift to low gear in middle age, I have CD’s, Mp3’s and an occasional torrent download or midi or wav file. Time certainly moved past the elevator music , we thought was certain to be the end of life as we once knew it – although not one of us can honestly say we haven’t sang or hummed a part of “You Light Up My Life!” Truth hurts.
I’m not Don McLean, but I remember the day the music died for me. It started with a “rap” and a flannel shirt in the 90’s. Just like music that came before, expression became a statement and everyone had an opinion along with their favorite top 100. Everything became FM went to Sirus and vinyl got a little more dusty.
Don’t get me wrong, I applaud efforts of expression through musical interpretation. But Rap and Grunge left me more confused than consoled. Dick Clark would never say it was a 10 because you could dance to it, that was for sure, and also good enough for me. Teen Spirit wasn’t Bobby Sherman, but it evolved and one day I found Deep Purple on an Oldies station and laughed hysterically. I couldn’t get into my thigh high leather boots without embarrassing myself in the mirror anymore so why should they? Maybe it was what we needed at the time, just as Dylan, flowers in our hair and white rabbits left more than one Big Band silent. But to me it was more of a statement than a stanza.
What didn’t change was the face of sound. Those crooners are forever frozen in time, not aging to us and neither does their humor in seeing some etchings. Street graffiti isn’t as dreamy, and screams from corners where the high base of the new music punctuates it. I shake my head at the paradox and then remember Steven Perry had a hip replacement and qualifies for the same AARP “Journey” I am on. Music is the soundtrack of our lives regardless and I know I will never “Stop Believin’”