I’ve Got Rhythm
I’m always slightly amused at the way Hollywood portrays musical tastes: good guys like rock ‘n roll, bad guys like classical and all old people are stuck in the mud. As if the over 40 crowd woke up one morning and decided, “Hey, I think I’ll like not-popular music.”
The truth of the matter is bad guys like country, rock, and heavy metal, too. More often than not, they don’t like classical—not even the corporate Big Business types out to crush the little guy; and lots of good guys like classical. Maybe that’s one of the reasons Star Trek is classic—their musical tastes are timeless and not period/decade dependent.
Last, but not least, old people don’t choose a specific type of music (classical or otherwise) just because we’re old guys. Our musical tastes (like 20-somethings and teenagers) developed when we were young and not always was that taste based on our parents’ tastes.
Maybe it was because I grew up in the 70s the first time around (yeah, we’ve been stuck with 70s do-overs and wannabes for a couple of decades now). Rock was making the transition from the Beatles to Iron Butterfly and I was forced to endure the shrieking cacophony in the classroom, friends’ houses and cars, etc. Needless to say I got very good at blocking out the noise and determined that when I was an adult, no one would ever, EVER make me listen to such music again.
Then I grew up and discovered all my friends, coworkers and colleagues were—you guessed it—stuck in the 70s past. Go to a professional workshop, you are forced to listen to 70s music as “inspirational” music. Sit in a restaurant and you can’t hear the waitress over the electric guitars and steel drums, much less hold a conversation with the people you’re eating with. Buy groceries, endure the sick lyrics and panting pounding of something that should have been put out of its misery before seeing the light of day. More than once I’ve been tempted to leave my grocery cart in the aisle and run screaming from the store.
Public music used to be calming—the idea was stores wanted you to spend time there in order to spend more money. Public music used to be background—pleasant and just there so it didn’t distract you from the business at hand. Public music used to be family friendly—you try explaining to a 10 year old what some of those words are.
I’m glad there is variety in music and that we are not all alike. But businesses and public places need to realize that their customers are diverse and music should be muted and a pleasant background. If someone wants to “get down and get funky,” let him do it at home.
Oh, and my musical taste? Everything from movie tracks, jazz and techno, to classical, just as long as it’s instrumental.