Monday, June 7, 2010

Going radio ga-ga

The other day, I walked into Andre's room to find him listening to the soundtrack of the Beatles' Yellow Submarine on an old stereo. It was almost disconcerting for a split second, to see a Gen Y kid so engrossed in last millennium music. But then, the Beatles are peerless, in my opinion, so if Andre wants to sing along to "All You Need is Love", that's quite alright by me.

My kids' tastes in music are influenced by mine, naturally, since they're exposed to what I play at home. What totally surprised me was when I recently discovered that Lesley-Anne was familiar with an entire repertoire of retro hits, from taking a school bus for six years with an "oldie but goodie" bus driver!

Apparently, he had a fixed playlist covering timeless gems like "Black and White" by Three Dog Night, "Eternal Flame" by the Bangles, Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time" and Jennifer Rush's "The Power of Love", which the kids in his bus would listen to every morning on their way to school. I found it hysterical that this gruff bus driver was such a creature of habit that Lesley-Anne would associate a turn on one particular road with a specific verse from "Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)" by Edison Lighthouse. Music education on a school bus, who would've guessed?

When I was 18, I scrimped and saved to buy myself a Sony Walkman, so that I could have music to accompany me wherever I went. It was the coolest and most precious contraption I owned. I still have my cassette tape collection that I couldn't bring myself to throw, it's collecting dust at the back on the cupboard somewhere.

Kids nowadays have it much easier. Just download whatever you like onto your phone and voila! Mobile music. Lesley-Anne, being the typical teenager, does anything from homework and reading with earphones perpetually affixed to her ear canals.

Her playlist is a wide-ranging mix of pop, Christian, classical and soundtracks. You have the usual teenage arsenal of Avril Lavigne and Taylor Swift, but also Hillsongs, Les Miserables and Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite. Her favourite song for a period of time was "Ordinary Miracle" by Sarah McLachlan, which was used in the movie Charlotte's Web. She loves the sentiment behind the lyrics, about everyday being a miracle.

Music is such an inextricable part of our lives. Certain songs will come to be linked with specific events, so that when we hear a song, it can instantly trigger emotions or flashback to one particular memory.

I'm curious to know what musical memories my kids will have when they grow up, will they be shaped by Lady Gaga and Kelly Clarkson or God forbid, the likes of Justin Bieber? *shudder* Will they treat Keane with the same reverence that this generation reserves for U2? Will bands like Abba and the Bee Gees be relegated to cold storage? All I can say is, thank God for school bus drivers.
"Nothing separates the generations more than music. By the time a child is eight or nine, he has developed a passion for his own music that is even stronger than his passions for procrastination and weird clothes." - Bill Cosby


Anonymous said...

u still have cassettes?! eh, u know u can get cassettes at Mustafa? some albums still come in cassettes there! that said, i still have some in vinyl languishing in my parents' flat. if my husband will get a turntable, i'll be happily blasting Donny & Marie :)

On the note of Gaga, i quite like some of her pieces but am rather, well, concerned that she's using gay & lesbian themes to sell her songs. i'm all for gender equality but, well, to have to explain to my niece n nephew, that will be tough. (my sister played Bad Romance to her 5-year-old. the kid's asking what's bad romance???) *bawl*

meanwhile, i'm steering her older brother to Michael Jackson, Carole Kidd, James Taylor. Eventually, i shall have to seed in some Cliff Richard and the Shads too.

rgds - kjj

monlim said...

JJ: Ei, I think I should be dumping my cassette collection lah, not add to it! Oh, Donny & Marie are classic... and they're still performing to full houses in Vegas!

Yeah, today's musical acts aren't exactly wholesome but I guess that's what they used to say about the Beatles too. Don't forget to add Abba to your nephew's music education!

Elan said...

My son's whole class (P6) is mad about "The Village People" songs and are constantly singing "YMCA" - it's almost the class theme song!

monlim said...

Elan: LOL, talk about retro! But I must say the Village People songs are very catchy :D

Jo said...

My kids are crazy about the Glee songs ! The series is a bit risque for young kids and I have to "censor" some of the songs but otherwise it's so amusing to watch them singing to songs which my hubby and I enjoyed as kids !

They also enjoy 80s hit bands such as Tears for Fears and the UK 80/90s pop of that era is still the best...current music doesn't compare !


monlim said...

Jo: Yeah, Glee is so hot right now! The old songs certainly cross generations. Now that a "modern" cast is singing them, suddenly they're all popular again. I love Tears for Fears too!

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