It might be the distance from the city. It might be the age, or having three kids under five. But I have no idea what’s “in” anymore. Sure, I went to Creamfields three years ago and danced cool and hip to The Prodigy. “Smack My Bitch Up,” “Breathe,” “Firestarter.” And in my elation I said to my wife, “I can still dance to this and, no way, I’ll be 50 in 13 years.”
Now we live in the pine forest at the beach. And my wife is downloading music and she says, “What would you like?”
I draw a blank.
What’s going on? This can’t be. A blank. But it’s not an easy question. You can’t say just anything. It’s got to be cool, alternative, new. Even old. But it’s got to yield a response like, “Yeah, man, that’s good stuff.”
“Hmm, let me think.”
And I think that the last movement I lived through was grunge. I listened to the marathon session of Nirvana after Kurt Cobain’s death, understanding, feeling the music. I’d lived it – Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden. I listened to it at university and in the years after. Traveling, broke, surfing and chilling in France, Ireland, Scotland. It was real.
Since then? Nothing.
And I think that if I ever make it famous and get interviewed and they ask me what the most played songs are on my iTunes. Well I’ll turn it on and there you’ll have it: Xuxa, the queen of Latin American kiddy music. Twenty-one tracks in the Top 25 Most Played. I’m to blame, really. The kids are fighting in the back seat on a road trip and how do you bring the peace? “Hey, who wants to listen to Xuxa?” And we’re all singing, a happy family. And sure enough I can now hum them all – in the shower, in line at the bank, waiting in a lobby. Out walking.
So I turn to my wife and say, “Whatever you do, just don’t download High School Musical.”