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Expressions

Kickin’ It Old Skool by Amy F

Here’s this month’s post by our Featured Contributor, Amy F. It’s rock and roll!

 

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It started out as a Facebook post by a friend – “I am officially an Adult Contemporary listener.” That then expanded into how scary it is that songs we grew up listening to are now considered Classic Rock and even – ACK – OLDIES!!!!!!

A few days later the Grammys aired with amazing performances by AC/DC, ELO, Annie Lennox and of course Paul McCartney performing with Kanye West and Rihanna.  To which many Generation Z members said “Who are those old people?”  Or my favorite, the articles about how nice it was of Kanye West to give an old guy a start and how there may be a real future for him in music.

The next day a friend and I were talking about the bands in the Rock category.  What happened to Pearl Jam, he asked?  What is wrong with people, don’t they realize that they are still relevant?  After letting him know they didn’t have anything to submit this year, I had to break it to him that yes, while still considered Rock, they’re kinda in the Classic Rock category of music now too.  After a bit of “heated discussion” on that point and other music news of late, I decided that for this article I’m kickin’ it old skool.

So this month we’re going to take a walk down memory lane and as we do, think to yourselves, who are the bands of today that will be the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Eagles, U2, etc. of the future?  Has music become so much of a short term trend that in 30+ years when we look back, those same artists won’t be relevant anymore?  For the sake of music fans everywhere, I really hope that is not the case, but it feels like we’ve been headed that way for a while.  So without further ado, I provide you with some earworms of the past for a soundtrack loop to play in your head all day.

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First is a combo music/movie element because for this one, the song and movie go hand in hand and the film is celebrating its 30th Anniversary this year. The film that I’m talking about is the 80’s classic, “The Breakfast Club,” featuring the memorable track – “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” by Simple Minds.  At home, it’s okay if you shoot your fist in the air Judd Nelson style to this one (who didn’t love that part?). The video clip also includes some other 80’s favorite films that may remind you of songs they featured – “In Your Eyes” used in “Say Anything,” “Old Time Rock And Roll” in “Risky Business” and on and on (Bueller, Bueller…. and of course, don’t forget to cut loose…..).

The 80’s also brought with it the introduction of the air guitar and many a fan “played” along with their favorite song as if they were guitar rock stars themselves.  That segued into the air drummer – same concept except playing as if you had your own drum kit and sticks.  And one of the best drum solos to “play” along with in my opinion, comes from Phil Collins’ “In The Air Tonight.” It’s one of those songs that you know the segment is coming and you just have to listen and can’t help but “drum” along.  I was actually in my car the other day, late for an appointment, and waited in the car just to hear the clip play through.  The parking garage attendant gave me a bit of an odd look, but hey, what can I say?  Kids, this segment may sound familiar since it has been sampled in other songs and you probably just thought the other musicians created it.   Still not getting it – how about this, it’s the song that Mike Tyson air drums along to in “The Hangover”……….

I would be remiss having an article about kickin’ it old skool without defining the basis for the term (just for those reading who might not know).  First, no, it is not a typo it really is with a “k.”  It has been defined as a merge of “old is kool” shortened to “old’s kool” and then finally “old skool.” But the basic meaning is anything that is from an earlier era or anything that may be considered “old-fashioned.” The term is commonly used to suggest a high regard for something that has been shown to have lasting value or quality. So basically stuff we liked back in the day that is still really good today.

Now any review of old skool music would be hugely lacking without at least one mention of hip hop.  And as a big fan, fear not, I’ve got a good one for you.  With this song I want to loop back around to those of us who’ve gone through a lot medically and are now on the other side of it.  The song starts out with – “Don’t call it a comeback…..”  Those of you who know the song know where I’m headed.  But for those of you who aren’t familiar and don’t understand how saying not to call what you’re feeling a comeback after all you’ve been through need to listen a little longer.  The next line is “I’ve been here for years.”  So now maybe you may recognize the song a little more but if not, look at the rapper as saying, “I haven’t gone anywhere, I’ve been fighting all along.”  And then you get to the first line of the chorus, followed by the song’s title “I’m gonna knock you out, Mama said knock you out” and now you’re in the world that LL Cool J created for us all.  Hey, it’s not only the Ladies that Love Cool James – his fans span around the world and the numbers keep growing.  And for those of you Baby Boomers that aren’t familiar with the song or LL as a rapper, yes, he’s the actor on “NCIS: Los Angeles.”

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Earlier, I mentioned Pearl Jam and for our final look back I’m jumping a wee bit ahead to the 90’s to remind you of a rivalry created between the fans of a new type of music, “Grunge.” Were you Team Pearl Jam or Team Nirvana?  Sorry to my friend (who I’m sure after reading this will tell me I’m out of my mind and give me many reasons why), but I’ve gotta say I was in the Nirvana camp.  And nothing is a more iconic Nirvana image than the cover of their album “Nevermind.”  I bring this period and album up since not only will it take you back to a resurgence of plaid, the ever present teenage angst and many hit songs by both bands, but because the baby on the cover is now in his 20’s.  NO, how is that possible?  I feel like it was just yesterday wondering what “teen spirit” smelled like and watching Kurt Loder on MTV (back when they actually played videos) telling us that Kurt Cobain was dead.  And now that little baby chasing the money is legal, ugh, is that another grey hair?

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I hope that you have enjoyed this little “slide, slide, slippity-slide” “fantastic voyage” with me this month.  And now I want to bring you to the present with a song that is an anthem for me and I hope will be one for those of you keeping up the good fight as well.  It is by a relatively new artist who just signed with Columbia Records, Rachel Platten, and it is aptly entitled “Fight Song.”  Please enjoy the video and lyrics and let this become part of your new usual and hopefully a song that will be around to encourage many for years to come.

 

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