A Love Letter To My Parents' Music
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A Love Letter To My Parents' Music

I wouldn't be anywhere without it.

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A Love Letter To My Parents' Music
Billboard

Last year at a party, my friends were all shocked to discover that not only did I not know all the words to Mr. Brightside, but I’d never heard the song before. In fact, I’ve never heard most of my generation’s anthems before, or if I have, I can’t match the famous song title to the song itself. This is not because I’m one of those people who acts like they’re too good for the Top 40. It’s because for most of my formative years, until I discovered YouTube in the eighth grade, the music I listened to the most was the music my parents loved. When I was younger, I found this embarrassing. So would you, if you were the only person not getting your groove on to Soulja Boy at the middle school social. Now, though, I’m grateful for it. And here’s why.

When I was 3 or 4 years old, my favorite song in the entire world was “Silver Spring” by Fleetwood Mac. Two years later, I forgot that it existed. I remembered it only as faint snatches of melody, painfully familiar but hanging tantalizingly out of reach. When I heard it again, five or six years after that, the joy I felt was the joy of rediscovering a book you read years ago and finding out that it’s just as good the second time around. I renewed my acquaintance with Fleetwood Mac and learned to love the favorite songs of my childhood all over again.

Over the past four years of my life, I’ve been to at least five concerts by the same group. This would be impressive if it were any other band, but since it was the Indigo Girls, it’s a bit strange. As the daughter of two moms growing up in the 90s and early 2000s, I suppose it was unavoidable that I’d end up listening to them. Loving them as much as my parents did was a different matter, but as I got older, I learned to listen to the lyrics with a message in mind, and I realized that it was possible to use art as a method of tapping into the social conscience. Going to Indigo Girls concerts is a tradition in my family now. We sit in the general admission section, compete over who can name the song in the shortest amount of time after it begins, and keep an eye out for the next generation of Indigo Girls fans.

Fleetwood Mac may have been my childhood soundtrack, and the Indigo Girls the province of my mothers and I, but Bruce Springsteen is the true family institution. Like the other bands I grew up with, I’d been listening to the Boss unknowingly since childhood, but somehow I’d missed out on the patriotic fervor with which every member of my family loves Bruce. We’ve gone to two concerts as a group now, my mothers and aunts lurking close to the stage, waiting for the Boss to start his customary crowd surf. When he did, the adults in the family abandoned my brother and I, leaving their bags and purses tied to my brother’s foot, and sprinted into the crowd, returning later to crow about which part of Bruce Springsteen they touched. It’s hard to remain uninfected by that kind of enthusiasm.

As I grew up, I did my best to develop my own taste in music, but I’ve found that it’s impossible to divorce the music I listened to as a child from the music I love now. And to be honest, I wouldn’t have it any other way. So what if I know more oldies standards than mid-2000s pop hits? It’s a good party trick. And more than that, it’s a connection between myself and my family, no matter how far apart we are. I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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