April is now International Complaining About Ageing Month so deal with it. Today’s topic is music.
I had a great time for a while at a friend’s thirty-somethingth birthday dinner last year. All went smashingly and we linked arms and sang along with an acoustic duo belting out classic Generation X songs by bands such as Pearl Jam and Nirvana. They cranked into a rousing version of ‘Living on a Prayer’ and most of the younger crew suddenly shook their heads and became silent.
I asked why they weren’t singing along to Bon Jovi.
They said, “Never heard of them.”
I felt very, very old.
The culture shock worsened last week. I overheard a couple of people discussing ‘desert island discs’ and one hadn’t heard of the concept. What? Is this a joke sent to make me pre-pay a bed at the Happy Valley Retirement Village? Seriously, the one, three, five or however many CDs you’d take to a deserted island? No.
I know my Billy Thorpe from my Easybeats but some of the current crop don’t know one of the classic hair bands or their desert island discs. I am going to sentence the little ignoramuses to watch School of Rock and write five thousand words on the cultural and stylistic influences of Def Leppard and Whitesnake on Nickelback. And, if I’m not pleased, an additional two thousand words will be required debating ‘Kings of Leon: Evolution or Sell-out’? (Hint, young people, high distinctions are guaranteed for arguing in the latter.)
Anyway, I got my list down to five albums, which isn’t bad considering my portable music machine has 14,000 songs on it (all legit and I can now pass out from shock calculating how much income I have sitting in a little silver box with a slidey wheel on the front).
Hoodoo Gurus ~ Stoneage Romeos. The first album I owned (I won it at a blue light disco — try explaining that to the youth of today) and also the first CD I bought. I got the album signed at the back of Festival Hall in 1990-something when I yelled, “Dave!” to the singer to get his attention and he walked into a pole. He was very kind about having his nose bruised and had the cover signed by the rest of the band.
Red Hot Chili Peppers ~ Blood Sugar Sex Magik. One of the great records. Anyone who says the album is dead can listen to this until they feel the miracle of the bridge between ‘The Power of Equality’ and ‘If You Have to Ask’ and can sing the words to ‘Sir Psycho Sexy’ from the open windows of a car driving along Chapel Street. Sometimes I find I need to scream waaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!
Augie March ~ Moo, You Bloody Choir. I can’t describe how much I loved the words, songs, arrangements and Glenn Richards’ rolling vowels from the first listen. This is truly redemptive music that helps pull me out of a hole when I’m surrounded by blackness and brings joys to my ears any other time. Every play brings a new subtlety or nuance and I’ll be humming along to this when I’m in bed 327 of the Happy Valley Retirement Village.
Fleet Foxes ~ Fleet Foxes. Like the previous disc, it’s a fairly new release but already I doubt I could go long without the choral harmonies and ethereal soaring of the whole damn thing. I’d love to sit in a snow-covered clearing in a forest and listen until I froze to death with a smile on my face. Check out ‘White Winter Hymnal’ if you haven’t heard the band.
Died Pretty ~ Doughboy Hollow. I first saw Died Pretty play in the early 1990s and Doughboy represents everything about honest, soulful, beautifully-written independent Australian music that will live forever but never top the charts. I didn’t dare buy a ticket to the band’s farewell gig because I knew I’d cry through the whole show.
I wouldn’t go to the island anyway unless I could pack dozens of other albums including INXS, Culture Club (true), AC/DC, KISS, The Grates, Nirvana, some Cuban tunes, Johnny Cash, The Go-betweens, British India’s first album, Rollins Band, the Pre-sets.
Tell me your desert island discs so I don’t feel freaking ancient.
Crank-o-meter: so very old