Boomer Grandpa: Hey songwriters, don’t make it bad

November 29, 2018

At what age do we turn into the person who believes that contemporary music will harm America’s youth or, in particular, our grandchildren?

Is it when we reach our 60s? Possibly a Mayo Clinic study could be done on this phenomenon. It could be groundbreaking research: “Development of curmudgeon factor.”

In my life I have reached this point. Boomers recall our parents believing that the world was going “to hell in a handbasket” because of the influence of Elvis, the Beatles or Sly and the Family Stone, just to name a very few.

My father, a World War II veteran, disliked just about everything about the 1960s culture. It is said we all turn into our parents as we age. Maybe so.

I believe my concerns are stronger than the worries of my parents. In a recent issue of Time Magazine there was an article listing the 10 best songs so far of 2018.

Always trying to stay engaged in the world of today, I thought I would listen to them and watch the videos. I will only write about the top five because I couldn’t go any further — mind blown.

I’m a little out of the loop when it comes to up-to-minute music, but all five songs contained the F-word.

In the song “Yeah Right” (No. 4 on the list), the first four lyric lines went like this: “I’ma f- — up my life, I’ma f- — up my life, I’ma f- — up my life, I’ma f- — up my life.” My goodness, those are some really deep, meaningful stanzas there.

I sure hope that song is not on my 12-year-old granddaughter’s playlist. I was afraid to ask.

The No. 3 song, “Thank U, Next,” is good music and a worthy story. However, the artist uses f---in’ seven times. Is that constant profanity really necessary to tell the tale of the song? Come on.

The video for the No. 2 song, “This is America,” shows a guy (the singer) walking up to a person sitting in a chair with a hood over his head and he executes him with a handgun. Very shortly after that scene, the singer grabs a rifle and mows down a 10-member singing church choir — yep, I said a church choir. As the great Saturday Night Live’s church lady used to say, “Isn’t that special?” It indicated on YouTube that this video had 432 million views. That’s worth another, “Isn’t that special?”

Baby boomers grew up on edgy music and protest songs. I believe you can make your case regarding any issue without graphic violence, sex and profanity.

The No. 5 song in the Time Magazine column was called “Self Care” and shows a guy in a coffin (of course the f-word is used in the song) and he lights up a cigarette (I’m pretty sure it’s a cigarette) while buried. He does cut himself out of the wood box with a knife and emerges. Thank heavens, as it was getting smoky in there.

Sadly the guy who sings “Self Care” died of an overdose in 2018. Boomers remember some of the artists of our time dying of addiction or overdoses as well.

I have to admit, I enjoyed the music and the video of the No. 1 song on the list, “Girlfriend.” It was a good listen and video. Unfortunately, as apparently is mandated in songwriting today, the F-word was used several times.

Remember back in the American Bandstand days when kids rated new records, “I liked the beat, man. You could dance to it.” I didn’t really get “Girlfriend” but heck, I rarely understood songs of the 1960s. You just sang along without a clue.

Fifty years ago, my high school dances were live bands. The top five songs nationally in 1968 were “Hey Jude” by the Beatles, “Love is Blue” by Paul Mauriat and Orchestra, “Honey” by Bobby Goldsboro, “People Got to be Free” by The Rascals and “Sunshine Of Your Love” by Cream.

1968 doesn’t bring back great memories as far as our nation is concerned, but the top five songs that year were very mellow compared to these profanity-laced top pop music songs of 2018.

I don’t even think I should be classified as a curmudgeon. I’m guessing there are a whole bunch of people who do not like graphic videos and songs loaded up with bad language for whatever reason.

In The Rascals 1968 song, “People Got To Be Free” two lines of the song are and (you can sing along if you want), “You should see, what a lovely, lovely world this would be. If everyone learned to live together.” I could sing that entire song to my grandkids — no worries.

I sure like that a lot better than “I’ma f---ed up for life, I’ma f---ed up for life.” Not cool man, not cool at all.

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