I was in middle school hell when one of my brothers gave me a lifeline. He was visiting from out-of-town, and had just returned from a jog when he handed me a bootleg cassette tape of an Irish band hardly known in the US: U2. That cassette tape rescued me from 80s Madonna driven pop music, and delivered me right into the alternative music scene of that time. I threw away my frilly lace gloves and stopped moussing my hair. Instead, I took up the Irish cause — much to the confusion of my pacifist parents. At 11, I became a card-carrying member of Amnesty International, and I memorized every single syllable of every single song this band had written. I felt I had an “in” with a band hardly anyone knew, and that made me feel superior to those whose musical interests were limited to what was massively consumed on the radio. In 1985, U2 went public and stole the show at LiveAid. My secret was out, but it didn’t matter. I was obsessed.
Fast forward 30 years and I am still a die-hard fan, and thanks to Pandora, so are my children. The music we listen to at home and in our car is a Pandora station I set up. It features music by U2, The Police, Colin Hay, Simon & Garfunkel, Pink Floyd, Van Morrison, The Cure, The Beatles, DMB, Coldplay — and so much more. Our twins can’t name any of the members of One Direction, but they can belt out every word to Gravedigger, Let it Be, Sunday Blood Sunday and The Sound of Silence.
They are fully conversant of Bono’s philanthropic work, they understand the regional conflicts that afflicted Ireland, and appreciate the lyrical brilliance of Sting. Our kids are musical elitists with impeccable taste 🙂
As far as I’m concerned, my job is done.