On Friday, my second oldest nephew turns 14. My oldest nephew has recently graduated from college and is starting a job that will earn him something like ten times the amount I earned my first year out of college. And possibly more than I earn right now. But this isn’t about jealousy. This is about my fourteen year old nephew and his birthday…and jealousy. Because I found out that my mother has purchased said nephew an ipod as a birthday gift. AND WHERE IS MY IPOD MOTHER? Oh…it’s on the table, ok. (But my husband gave me that one!). Still, I think it is an excellent present and I thought it would be nice to supplement it, so I am providing some music in the form of a gift certificate. I asked my brother what kind of music the kid was listening to and he was…well, who really knows what those crazy kids are doing these days anyway? So I went the safe route and stuck with iTunes.
But my original intent and eventual intent was to make him a mix cd to go along with the gift certificate. I guess I kind of hoped that maybe I could introduce him to something new that he would really like. OK, more likely something old, but something that he had not really listened to before. I know his mom likes a lot of the same music I do. And his dad likes some different music than his mother but still some in common with me but I thought that surely there was something untapped in the middle there. And by the way, my brother shaped some of my musical tastes that he might not actually know about…so…um…brother, if you were looking for those copies of the Eurythmics or Hoodoo Gurus tapes that you lost like, say…twenty years ago…I totally stole them. Sorry. I’ll give them back to you next time I see you.
So I started looking through the music on my computer and I realized pretty quickly that my idea of what a fourteen year old boy might like and what a fourteen year old boy might actually like are probably two totally different things. I started throwing stuff in a folder and got to the “B’s” before I thought that maybe this was going to take a little more effort than I originally thought. I put “Eyes” by Apollo Sunshine, “1976” from RJD2, “ABC” by The Jackson 5, “All Of Me” as played by Django Reinhardt, “Antmusic” from Adam & The Ants, of course, “Beautiful Dreamer” by Mates of State and “Brand New Colony” by The Postal Service before throwing in “Dance Like a Money” from the New York Dolls and then I started to have second thoughts. I started to wonder what I had been listening to at that age and I drew a blank. Pretty much the only albums I remember having, other than those two I stole from my brother, were a Monkees greatest hits, Supertramp’s Breakfast in America, the soundtrack to The Muppet Movie and a K-Tel Collection called “Songbird”. I know that when I was a little bit younger I would take out records from the library, two of my favorites being Andy Gibb’s Shadow Dancing and a Wings album that had a song called “Waterfalls”. But other than that, I was stumped. And pretty sure that the musical tastes of a twelve to fourteen year old girl in the early eighties would find very little in common with my nephew’s tastes.
I know I listened to the radio, so I looked up the top songs of 1982 and while I am still willing to profess my love for John Cougar (for you youngins, that’s what he was called back in the day BEFORE he was John Cougar Mellencamp and then just John Mellencamp) and for Men at Work. I am pretty sure I never need to hear most of the songs that played on the radio in 1982 ever again. And in fact, I am pretty sure they are not what I did listen to. I know there was a station that I liked that had a morning DJ named Mo Hawk. I am doubting that he played “Gloria” by Laura Brannigan all that often.
Then thought I might try a different tactic. So I looked up the top twenty songs of 1992. Surely we had better luck in the year he was born. He came out of 1992, surely something else good did. Turns out, not so much. OK, OK, I admit that I still like to break out “Baby Got Back” from time to time, but that’s more for fun than for anything else. And again, I am reminded how very little I actually listened to the radio in 1992.
So, I am going back to the drawing board, or the cd collection, I guess. I’m thinking you can’t go wrong with a little Ramones, a little Sparks, a little Nerf Herder. And I’m guessing he might dig some They Might Be Giants and some Eels. I don’t think a little education could hurt so I’m thinking a little T. Rex and The Cure should go in there too. Any suggestions?