Why did grandma sit in her rocking chair with rollerblades on?
Ever notice how as we grow older, the music we listen to will impact us in different ways? Of course, the oldies-but-goodies will always take us back in time to where we were, what we were doing and whom we were doing it with.
But there is also a maturation or growing up aspect of music where we hear a song that hits us right where we are today doing what we are doing. The artist performing the song is singing about life situations that are far beyond the teen and twenty years of sex, drugs and rock n roll stuff.
Older and maybe just a little wiser, cynical and more jaded, we find ourselves having grown up with the artist. Just as when we were younger and heard a lyric that went “she was just seventeen, you know what I mean” we now know exactly what is being referred to when the tune is set at a later stage of life.
As an example of this phenomena, there is a current country music hit song from Walker Hayes that has the lyrics “I’m just trying to keep my daughters off the poles and my sons out of jail… Hey I’m just trying to stay outta AA.” Got to confess that after my first reaction of laughing about those sentiments, my second take was “Think I know what he’s talking about.”
Another example comes from Paul Simon when he sang “I’m going to Graceland, my travelling companion is nine years old, he is the child of my first marriage.” No way does someone, who hasn’t been thru that divorce dynamic, know and appreciate the full significance of what was being said in that verse.
For a good article on how Dylan has managed to negotiate the musical life span (click here.) It is his line from My Back Pages “I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now” that comes to my mind a lot these days.
And just because I mentioned it, here is the Walker Hayes AA tune: