Vail Daily columnist Linda Stamper Boyne: You call that noise music?
February 12, 2013
There’s just something about award shows that draws me in. Everyone all dressed up, the red carpet interviews, the pageantry, the anticipation of the great moments, the sincerity of the winners’ speeches. I can’t look away.So I’m in heaven right now in the midst of awards season. The Golden Globes, the SAG Awards, the Oscars, the Emmys … I watch them all. This past weekend was the Grammys, and I’m reminded of something each year when I tune in. While the other award shows appeal more to fans of specific genres — films the mainstream won’t see or TV shows involving graphic violence — the Grammys really provide something for just about everyone and reinforce the idea that music can be the great unifier.Every generation has its definition of what makes music “real” music. And the advent of recorded music created a now age-old tradition of parents telling their kids what they are listening to is NOT music. I made a concerted effort to stay current with my musical taste over the years with the hope that I would be able to break the cycle. I enjoy nearly every genre of music, with a few exceptions – like death metal and Celtic music. I can tell you who a lot of the young, current artists are and can usually sing along, as much as my boys will allow. In the car we listen to pop, rock, R&B and hip hop, though on this last genre I do have the right to change the station at any given moment in accordance with my “two swears, that’s offensive to women” rule. And my ingenious plan would have worked if it hadn’t been for that heinous electronic dance music. For the love of God, what is that noise? When The Teenager has that screeching, bass pounding compilation of sounds coming out of his room, it makes me want to run screaming from the house. I may be risking his future ability to hear, but at times I have implored him to plug in his earbuds.See? Dang it, I’m a cliche! My parents got an example of one my tirades on a recent visit. My mom recalled saying the exact same thing to me in 1983 about Adam Ant, who I still, to this day, say made fabulous music. And my dad recalled a memory that he hadn’t thought about since the day it happened. He remembered his mother complaining about the music his older brother, Chuck, was playing on the record player. “That awful Benny Goodman!” And so the cycle began.Here’s my issue with the electronic dance noise The Teenager is calling music. It’s right there in the name: electronic. It’s completely generated on computers. There’s not a single instrument-created note in the songs. It hurts my ears. I know, I sound just like all the mothers who have come before me. Fortunately, I have back up on this. The Man Formerly Known As My Husband is fighting the good fight, as well. He complains that they aren’t listening to real musicians, that they don’t exist in the current crop of performers. He is the Kenny Loggins-Journey era, when the bands wrote their songs, sang understandable lyrics and played their instruments. He fears the boys will never appreciate actual instrument-created music and is trying desperately to interest one of them in the guitar. Little success so far, but we’re not giving up hope. Don’t tell Child Protective Services, but we might try deprogramming them by erasing their iPods and replacing all their music with ’70s and ’80s rock bands.However, the Grammys have a way of opening eyes and ears to different genres, helping those stuck in their listening ways to appreciate the next wave of artists, challenging their preconceptions of what music is supposed to be, and introducing the younger generation to those who came before them. The performances on the show always make it worth watching to long telecast. The pairings of classic artists, like Elton John, Sting, and T Bone Burnett with current performers helps bridge the divide between what was and what is.So while I will never curl up with a good book while Skrillex is playing softly in the background, I will purchase ear plugs and try to respect The Teenager’s listening choices. (Even if it isn’t really music.) Linda Stamper Boyne of Edwards can be contacted through firstname.lastname@example.org