by Erik Deckers
American Reporter Humor Writer
October 2, 2003
WHAT'S WRONG WITH HALL & OATES?
SYRACUSE, Ind. -- I've come to the conclusion that it doesn't matter how old you are: Your parents thought your music was crap and your kids will think it's boring. It's true for anyone. We hate our kids' music, our parents hated our music, and their parents hated their music.
Even teenagers who liked the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra in the 1920s would be hassled by their parents, who wondered why they couldn't listen to someone more respectable like Scott Joplin or Jelly Roll Morton.
Like any teenager in America, I experienced this first hand. When I was growing up in the '80s, I listened to bands like The Clash, The English Beat, and Devo. In fact, I was the only kid in my entire high school of 1100 who actually liked Devo, so I tended to attract some weird stares.
But I've been in '80s Heaven for the past year. Thanks to my satellite radio (I won't name any names, but its initials are XM), I can listen to '80s alternative music anytime I want. And I can start indoctrinating my children about the coolness of '80s music while they still believe everything I tell them.
Needless to say, my mom absolutely hated my music, so I was forced to listen to Barry Manilow and the Bee Gees whenever we rode in the car. And my dad had - still has, in fact - a deep abiding love for The Rolling Stones.
And with the exception of The Stones, I didn't like my parents' music. It was square and boring and I would plead with them to put on something more enjoyable to a 15-year-old. Like static.
I tried getting my parents to listen to my music once in a while, but they were shocked and horrified that I would listen "that crap," and I would hear things like, "Devo?! Those electronic freaks! Give me the Beatles and Elvis Presley any day!"
And it was the same for my parents. When they were in high school, their parents were scandalized that they would listen to "that crap." And they would say things like "Mozart?! That long-haired hippie! Give me Johann Sebastian Bach any day!"
No seriously, my parents grew up during the whole "Elvis the Pelvis" era when dungarees (that's "blue jeans" for you less hip people) and white t-shirts were just one short step away from causing total chaos in the schools. They were in college when those "damn long-hair" Beatles invaded the U.S., and the face of music was changed forever. And while I admit that Elvis and The Beatles were great artists, I still can't listen to them without rolling my eyes out of habit.
So what do today's teenagers think of their parents' music? And what do the parents think? I know that many people over 30 think today's music is "crap," and have said so to their kids.
"Blink 182?! Those talentless hacks! Give me Hall & Oates any day!" (This is an unfortunate thing to say, because even children of the '80s thought Hall and Oates music was crap.)
So their children will often respond, "Well, I scoff at your taste in music, and find it to be vapid and old-fashioned." (At least I think this is how teenagers talk. I try to avoid them whenever possible.)
This gives parents a chance to say something that no parent in history has ever been able to say: "Oh yeah? The bands I listened to had safety pins in their cheeks! What does Eminem do, wear a couple of earrings? Let him shove a safety pin through his face, then we'll talk."
Yes, thanks to punk rock pioneers like the Sex Pistols and the Misfits, shoving pieces of metal into one's face became the badge of teenage rebellion, and dungarees became as threatening as a hamster with a bad temper. This also made it possible for parents to actually hear, "Wow, that's cool!" in reference to the music of their youth - something no parent in history has ever heard.
But all this makes me wonder, what will teenagers be listening to in 15 or 20 years? And what will their parents - today's teens - say about it?
"Gouged-out Eyeballs?! Those slugs couldn't play their way out of a paper bag. Back in my day, our bands spouted real rage, and facial disfigurement was more than just a whim. Give me Rage Against the Machine any day!"
At least that's what I think they'll say. I'll still be avoiding them whenever possible.