Recently, I grabbed my step-sons iPhone and looked at the first few artists on his Spotify app, I came across Kendrick Lamar, Chance the Rapper, Freddy Wap, Drake, and Savage. While only in their teens, both of my kids are obsessed with this genre of rap and hip-hop music. While they both can pick out the latest rapper from an earshot away, nothing can stop my daughter from having an impromptu dance party in her bedroom after dinner or my step-son from showering for 30 minutes listening to the thumping boom boom sounds of what he considers music.
Today’s pop music is the strangest. Think about it. Sir Mix-a-lot’s song about loving a lady with a huge padonkadonk has become a sort of classic, and I use the term classic loosely. Everybody knows at least a few of the lyrics, I know I do if not all of them. I also know it’s inappropriate and disrespectful, but it’s catchy! I want to be sorry, but I’m not. My daughter started belting it out the other day and I felt all the holy shit feelings when I heard her say, “My anaconda don’t want none unless you got buns, Hon!” WTH? I asked her how she knew that song and she told me that Nikki Minaj sang it – Duh! I reminded her that Nikki Minaj’s version was a remake of the original song by Sir Mix-A-Lot. She then asked why anyone would write songs about butts and boobs. Good question!?
I’ve come to realize my kids hate my playlists. I think my Big Hair playlist has been played approximately 2,726 times since the beginning of the year! Not to date myself or anything, but I was born in 1970. And even though that now makes me well, practically a senior citizen, I’m rather proud of that particular birth year because it also makes me a child of the 80’s, which is something I would not trade for any other life experience. I came of age at a very great time in music history. I loved the flamboyant and asexual looks; it was definitely about the image as well as the music for me back then.
I hold MTV personally responsible for helping me channel my inner 80’s. They let Madonna writhe around on stage in a wedding dress, clutching her crotch, with a painted on mole and I watched her pant like a virgin into the microphone. Because of MTV, I tried to perform gymnastics on the hood of my car like Tawny Kitaen. Unfortunately, my acrobatics ended not in a make-out session with David Coverdale but a scraped knee and a dented hood on my Chevette. I did the snake dance along with Axl Rose to “Sweet Child O’ Mine” and “Welcome to the Jungle” and felt slightly erotic often feeling the need to apologize after singing “Pour Some Sugar on Me.” There were also times when I’d stand before the mirror, hair shellacked into a glorious poof of Aqua Net with beautiful wings around my ears, blue eyeshadow blazing in the afternoon sunlight, and a hairbrush in lieu of microphone clutched in my hand as I belted out “Home Sweet Home” by Motley Crue. I rocked the shit outta’ “Livin’ on a Prayer” in my bedroom covered with Cinderella, Ratt and Poison posters, while Sadie, our dog cringed in fear. If MTV could only see me, I’d think.
I can’t begin to tell you how nice it is to now be able to turn on Sirius XM anytime I want (as long as my subscription is paid up) and listen to Hair Nation, (Channel 39) to remember a decade where Poison, Motley Crue, Kiss, Warrant, and Skid Row ruled the world. When I listen to this music now, I get a quick nostalgic rush and often times find myself giving my daughter a music education about Hair Bands of the ’80s. What’s a hair band mom? I almost have to contain myself. Let me try to explain my sweet girl…… A hair band is a type of hard rock band from the 1980’s made up of guys who wore strange leather clothing, bedazzled belts, wore makeup and had tall blown dried womanly hair! Unfortunately, hair bands died around 1990 when some would say they were killed by Kurt Cobain and grunge music.
80’s music is one of the primary ways I connect with my soul, my identity, my teenage years and my past. My playlist provides the background to my thoughts and the people who I shared my memories with. For me, it’s the soundtrack of my life. Although we have decades of popular music behind us now, the one era that still rules the airwaves and lives in venues today is the 1980s. More than 26 years after the decade’s final day, clubs have ’80s nights, satellite radio boasts ’80s channels, and the FM dial offers tunes still by Bon Jovi, Firehouse, and AC/DC. Why does that material have so much staying power, drowning out the decades on either end? That’s simple: the 1980s were the best decade by far for music.
A few days ago, we were driving home, hyper-focused on the road trying not to cuss at the jackass on his phone in the lane next to me, when my daughter asked me to turn up the radio. “Mom – our song is on!” Are you kidding me? Because A.) I didn’t know we had a song and B.) turning up the radio was pretty much the worst thing for my nerves at that particular time. We have a song? In the past, I have ignored my daughter’s request to turn up the radio when her rap crap comes on. For the life of me I couldn’t think of why this song would make my daughter think it was “our song,” and I wanted to know why? I was curious and needed an explanation as to why she thought this song is “our song.” I asked her and her answer amazed me.
“This song always comes on when we are in the car together and I know you know all the words and now I know them all too.” As a parent, there are some days when I wonder just who I am and what I am teaching my kids. Some days I fear I am not doing my best. But that day, when I found out that she had such a positive connection to my 80’s Big Hair music, I couldn’t help but jam along with her, just happy to be in that moment.
Now, thanks to my daughter, the expression, “our song” has a whole new meaning for me. My daughter and I have a song. She hears a memory! And it’s a good one. I will continue to enjoy my Big Hair and will not be embarrassed to turn it up. I mean you gotta’ “Fight for your Right to Party” right?