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.