Monday, April 10, 2006

“I’ll take 70’s music for $1,000, Alex.”

Sometimes I make fun of people who are stuck in the 70’s, but sometimes I just can’t help being stuck there along with them, primarily because most of my favorite music is from this era. This hit home for me on Saturday morning as I tuned in to my favorite XM radio station – the 70’s on 7. (It’s an easy setup for dummies: 40’s music on channel 4, 50’s music on channel 5, etc.) Nothing yet for the Aught Era; I guess that would the top 20. Anyway, they always play some great music on the 70’s station and I began to think about how much I really love the music from that era. But how could you not love a time that featured The Allman Brothers, Boz Scaggs, Gerry Rafferty, ZZ Top, Neil Young, the Rolling Stones, Foghat, and Bad Company, the Stylistics, and Alice Cooper!. And then you had such banal music as “Escape (The Pina Colada Song),” “Wildfire,” “Do You Want to Make Love (Or Do You Just Want to Fool Around)?” “Chevy Van,” and “Beach Baby.” This was the decade of the hustle, Landlubber jeans, and Long and Silky (or Short and Sassy) shampoo.

It was a time when I wore Indian shirts and buffalo sandals, you know the kind that you had to soak in water and then wear wet until they dried so you could get them sized properly, and they cost about $3 in the head shop in town. It was also a time of buying Dr. Scholl’s sandals for $10 - $12 – not the $45 they became a few years ago during their resurgence in popularity. And you bought them at the drugstore, or the supermarket (if you shopped at Wegman’s), and not in a department store. I know that my personal preference for make-up application comes courtesy of ads featuring Bonne Bell lip gloss and lip smackers, Aziza (which I found at the Dollar Tree a few years ago), and Pat Benatar photos; the heavy eyeliner, the blue shadow, and the bold streaks of blush across the cheeks (although this is leaning a bit towards the early 80’s).

But it was also a time when many of us thought “Disco Sucks!” only to find that now we reminisce and dance along to an Andrea True Connection song anytime it comes on the radio. So I think sometimes I, like the area in which I live, am stuck in the 70’s. And I don’t think I want to leave.

We have an ongoing game we play in my family; we are making a continuous list of “perfect albums.” Of course we have rules for establishing what we consider to be a perfect album. First, the album has to have all great songs, and this means an entire album that you listen to without skipping any song; an album that is great from start to finish. Second, it cannot be a classical album, and this is because there are too many compilations and different conductors create different variations of the same music. Third, it cannot be a greatest hits album (because it stands to reason that then it should be a perfect album). When you listen to this album you cannot ever, ever skip a song – you have to believe that it is perfect for “both sides”, so to speak (because you know we’re talking CDs here and not record albums). As an aside, I went to an estate sale on Saturday with daughters one and two, and they had an old “stereo” system for sale. Daughter number one asked why there was a penny taped to the arm of the turntable, so I had to explain how it was used. How dated is that?!?! And also for the record, and as a serious aside, I still have my old blue plastic record player (from Grants) upon which I used to listen to Bobby Sherman (oh yeah), my Monkees records and the cardboard cut-outs of 45s from the back of cereal boxes. We have been adding to this perfect album list for six months, at least, and of course I have my own contributions. Now can you guess which decade most of my music comes from? The 70’s, of course. My children have chosen more contemporary pieces, as have I, and my husband has contributed too (although mostly in agreement with some of my choices). I’ll give you a sampling from our list and you see if you can chose which ones I’ve added:

Fleetwood Mac – Rumors
Bruce Hornsby – The Way It Is
Yes – Fragile
Incubus – Morning View
Damien Rice – O
Blood Brothers – Burn Piano Island, Burn
Lara Fabian – Lara Fabian
The Cars – The Cars
Finch – Say Hello to Sunshine
He is Legend – I am Hollywood
Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin IV
Underoath – They’re Only Chasing Safety
Anita Baker – Rapture
Poison the Well – You Come Before You
Panic at the Disco – A Fever You Can’t Sweat
The Agony Scene – The Darkest Red
Foreigner – Double Vision
Christopher O’Riley – True Love Waits*
The Used – The Used
On Broken Wings – Some of Us Will Never See the World
Public Enemy – Welcome to the Terror Dome
Gerry Rafferty – Baker Street
Michelle Branch – The Spirit Room
Pearl Jam - Ten

*Christopher O’Riley is almost breaking the rules because he is actually covering Radiohead songs; but the crucial difference here is that it is his interpretation of their songs (and if you read the reviews they kind of ding him for this). Therefore he can slide onto the list. I stand by my ruling.

**Please note, too, that Tori Amos is not on my list, although she does deserve a place of honor. Unfortunately sometimes she and I just do not agree creatively so wherever we disagree it is a reason to leave her off the list. She is a goddess, though, we all agree on that.

***You may notice there are no country albums here. This does not mean that none of us like country. On the contrary, we do, but this is a work in progress, so albums may be added at any time.

Have you considered what you would choose as a perfect album?
Er, excuse me, CD.

1 comment:

Kat said...

Kat's Album Picks:
Billy Joel, The Stranger
Pink Floyd, The Wall
and really this is 80's
but Michael Jackson, Thriller

Oh, and Beach Baby was my to-die-for-song in 7th grade!!!

Don't forget Love's Baby Soft and Shrinky-Dinks, could not have gotten through summer without those.

I remember my mom had vinyl white stacked clogs. And she wore them wtih a white polyester pantsuit, with a sequin rose up and down the side. Very, very 70's.

And what about tambourines and kumbaya?? Vacation Bible School was a hoot then, when the hippies were teaching us about love :)