OK, I admit it, I’m trying to keep myself connected to the current music scene, and it’s not easy. I love listening to music, and I try to be receptive to unfamiliar beats, lyrics and instruments. I can usually enjoy the mainstream rock and indie pop and rock tunes. I’ve struggled to grasp the more palatable rap performance pieces.
I want to share with you a pleasant surprise – a couple contemporary songs that give me hope that I haven’t missed the songboat all together, hope that current music can still move me, make me stop in my tracks, smile – and think.
While we were making a run to MickeyD’s for milkshakes, a young friend tuned the car radio to a station he enjoys. And among the tunes bounding across the airwaves were two that had us both bopping about in our seats and smiling. The first, “Some Nights” is by a group whose moniker is, appropriately, fun.
What delighted me most was not the great tune or the musicality of the song, but the lyrics – which, amazingly enough, I could understand! I listened to a strong, young male sing about the usual – broken heart, lost love, general angst… BUT the refrain “knocked my socks off.”
What do I stand for?
Youth’s quest: “Who am I?” enhanced and deepened with that refrain, “What do I stand for?”
Now that’s a question worth asking.
Nate Ruess, lead singer and lyricist, looks “into my nephew’s eyes… Man, you wouldn’t believe the most amazing things that can come from… Some terrible nights…” Life affirming, mature, questing…
The other song that came our way on my little road trip with my friend Nate was on a less serious note, “Thrift Shop.” This one is very funny, a bit raw. The tune is catchy, “easy to dance to”, the lyrics are peppered with f***, and the message is just what every wise mom would wish for: “Nothin’ wrong with recycling; second-hand clothes are very cool. Be your own person!”
Hip-hop singer, Macklemore along with his producers, Ryan Lewis and Wanz, tout thrift-shops – Grandpa’s sweater and flannel jammies. It’s fun listening to Macklemore’s smooth, decipherable rapping.
Macklemore, Ben Haggerty, has a degree from Evergreen College in Seattle, where he studied education and cultural identity. He led music workshops for incarcerated kids. “Thrift Shop” says it’s smart to save money; it’s fun to play around with what you wear and how you define yourself. Don’t be a fool, wasting your money and your life.
What this rap song doesn’t do is glamorize drugs, sex and mayhem (I say again, before you click the video, Macklemore uses profanity, so be prepared.)
I’m hoping my discoveries will lead you to share your pop-rock-rap favorites. I know you have some. Your children and grandchildren surely try to update your itunes and your mp3 player. So, share with us. Let’s “rock the house” with a few new favorites.