Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Adult alternative

Who uses it: Music promoters and radio station programmers
What it means: A genre of popular music that includes a broad range of influences beyond Top-40 rock, and is meant to appeal to adults rather than teenagers.
How you can use it: When buying me CDs...

When I was a kid, "Adult Contemporary" was the euphemism for "easy listening," which included everything from the dreadful (orchestral versions of Carpenters tunes) to the sublime (Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday). Now I'm an adult, and I worry that "adult alternative" marks me as a geezer... except that I am a geezer... and at least I was able to impress Our Chris with my CD collection, when he saw that I had Nine Inch Nails and "Porgy and Bess" on the same shelf.

Yesterday was a spectacularly beautiful day, and today is another. An outdoor thermometer in Hallowell yesterday said it was 73 degrees, which can't have been right -- the sign was in direct sunlight -- but it was warm enough for Dizzy to swim in the river.

Contrary as always, I went ice-skating at lunchtime, and the music playing was a '90s adult alternative station off the rink's satellite radio system. Some of it was good (Weezer, Toad the Wet Sprocket), and some of it was terrible (Creed, Sheryl Crow -- sorry, Sheryl Crow has a high-ranking post in my Academy of the Overrated). It reminded me of why I don't listen to much commercial radio anymore.

First five songs off the iPod Shuffle this morning:

"But Not for Me," Chet Baker. Contrary to popular belief, I do not consider this my life's theme song... most days. It is my favorite version of this song, though, because it sounds so perversely light-hearted.

"Dizzy Miss Lizzie," The Beatles. I bought this CD ("Help") from a bargain bin in Heathrow Airport.

"Smarter," Maria McKee. Now, this could be my theme song. "I need somebody smarter than me/Need to exercise my vocabulary/I'll shut up and learn from him... Shut up now."

"Wondering," David Baerwald. I gave my copy of this CD ("Here Comes the New Folk Underground") to a friend last summer, but had copied it to iTunes first... sorry, David. I'm sure my friend will buy all your other records from now on, though, and you know I will.

"Man of Peace," Bob Dylan. My first copy of this album ("Infidels") was on cassette, and it will always remind me of the summer of 1984, and of my friend Tom Ehrenfeld, who first played it for me.

Happy birthday to the regal and radiant Anna Maschino Bragdon, who has every reason to look forward to the happiest year of her life.

7 comments:

Tom Ehrenfeld said...

And what's a sweetheart like you doing in a joint like this?

AnswerGirl said...

Now THERE's a theme song for me...

Tom Ehrenfeld said...

Well, take solace. My Dylan theme song would probably be Everything is Broken.....

James Lincoln Warren said...

Kids today don't have good music, not like we did when I was a whippersnapper.

BTW, I've posted a quiz on my blog and I'm convinced that you are the only person I know (except Margaret and possibly Nathan Walpow) who can get a perfect score.

Anna said...

Thanks for the birthday wishes (and the BEST dessert I've ever had on my birthday - chocolate covered whoopie pies)!!

Did you get a perfect score?

AnswerGirl said...

It's a good quiz, but I can't name all seven members of "The Magnificent Seven"... it's a gap in my cultural education!

Anonymous said...

...regal and radiant? I think cute and little...
Hope the birthday lunch was a hit, Dick (my only contribution to the ongoing music discussion)
Wish I could have been there!
See you all this summer
Love, Sue