Early last week I was working in my home office, when my 13 year old son popped in and said, “Hey dad, listen to this song…it’s really cool.” Ten seconds into the song, I knew there was going to be an argument. The music was not so bad, but the lyrics were absolutely awful. Profanity, violence, complete disrespect for anything but money, drugs and sex. Now before you judge me, I know there were songs when I was growing up that mentioned these things. Songs like “The Lemon Song” by Led Zeppelin, “Brown Sugar” by The Rolling Stones and “White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane, but by today’s standards, those songs could be on a children’s album. I asked my son how he found out about the song he was playing for me, and he said, “Everybody knows this song dad.” I told him not to listen to it anymore, and definitely do not let your younger brothers, 10 and 7 years old, hear it. He told me to “chill out”. The moment he said that, I flashed back to 1976.
I was in my room one afternoon about to carelessly hurry through my homework, when I opened up the lid on my Technics turntable, and gently placed my brand new copy of RUSH’s album “2112” on the record player. If you do not know the album, it begins with a space aged sounding synthesizer riff, followed by screaming guitars, insane drumming, and singing so high pitched that it could shatter glass; .I love it. Well flash forward about 30 seconds when my father came charging down the hallway, threw open my bedroom door and said, “what the hell is this? This isn’t music, it’s just noise!!!” I told him it was the new album from my favorite band, and wasn’t it great! He told me it wasn’t even music, and that I was going to kill every animal in the neighborhood if I kept playing it. I told him to…you guessed it, “chill out.”
Now don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of current music that I love and I understand that music is personal, and a way for an artist to express their views and feelings, but really, do we need lyrics like: “I’m ‘bout to bust some shots off, I’m ‘bout to dust some cops off”….seriously? Even if I was not a dad trying to protect my kids from these types of songs, I simply do not understand the need for lyrics like these.
Like it or not, music is powerful. It can relax you, excite you, inspire you, make you angry or happy, it can stir up old memories and create new ones and I believe it can influence the way you act and think. Call me old fashioned, but why can’t lyrics all be about rainbows and butterflies? I am kidding of course. Seriously though, if you feel like you need to write a song about “dustin’ some cops off”, maybe your time would be better spent in an anger management class.
Now if you will excuse me, I am off to watch “The Wizard Of Oz” while listening to “Dark Side Of The Moon”. Thanks for reading this, and check me out weekday mornings between 5:30 and 10 on Cool 101.3. Feel free to call me and tell me why you agree or disagree with me.
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