The Thread of Music

Music from any age never dies, but only gets better. There is a thread stretching all the way from the age of Beethoven to the age of Adam Lambert and other modern pop stars, and it will never be broken, only singed, burnt, drenched and changed colors with the passing of time.

When I was spending my early childhood in the 90s, the 70s and 80s were not far behind and were still considered “fresh” and a part of contemporary, mainstream radio. They are the songs that would often hit the air waves and shaped my overall perception of music. They are why I have a liking for music from different eras and can appreciate the different cultural trends. The era of animal named bands, disco and the silky pants, the rise of electric rock, the big hair of the 80s, and the boy bands. Radio stations played more Beatles hits during my early childhood than any other time, since the Fab Four’s era was less than 30 years gone and adults still could fondly remember the “good ole days”. The last time I heard “Judy in the Sky”, a song with hidden meanings and probably a nod to “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”, on the radio was when I was about six and I haven’t heard it on the radio since, only through a curious search on YouTube.

As we have gotten deeper into the 21st century, older music has moved over in favor of newer hits from younger artists. The early 2000s seem so far away now, mainly because I’m way past a kid now and am continually adapting to the changing sounds and trends. A lot of it has to do with the way listening to music has evolved, from cassette tapes to CDs to iPods, and now to Pandora and Spotify. I remember when the NOW! series was at number 5 in 2000 and rocking out to “Kryptonite”; now it’s past 54 and I don’t really seem to care anymore, but the concept is still strong with many.

I was born at the beginning of the 90s, so of course I got a taste of the music my parents used to listen to, until my generation, the millennials, started to develop and break off from the pack, throwing out a few rules laid out before them. I appreciate music from all genres and eras, because they give me a peek into what the culture was during those times.

Back in the first house I remember as a child, my mom used to have an 8-track player/record combo lying on the kitchen counter. The technology of 8-track tapes had gone out of style by the mid 90s where I was at but mom still had a whole collection of them and would play them in the afternoons or evenings. I remember for a short while my mom playing the song “Secret” by Madonna on the old 8-track while holding my then only baby sister and dancing and singing to her.

MC Hammer, Nirvana, Sir-Mix-A-Lot, Whitney Houston. Those are a couple of names that kicked off the decade that saw the rise of the Internet and personal computing. Pretty mild songs for the most part, some a little rebellious, many packed full of soul and R&B.

Then the late 90s came, the time that I like to call “my awakening” as well as the segway to the new millennium, artists like Britney Spears, N*Sync, The Backstreet Boys, and Smash Mouth carving out the image of my true childhood that I remember the most. The time between me being a kid and listening to long gone songs such as “Every Morning” from Sugar Ray and then getting into the modern days of Rihanna and Taylor Swift seemed to last a long time.

If I could and had the time to do so, I would lay out my entire life in the form of a soundtrack. It would be interesting to see the changes in the world’s and my musical taste. I like to think the music I grew up on in the nifty ninties could only be described as a blend of the 70s and 80s before it driven by a rebellious culture shifting teen generation, while music today really has no identity – it is a product of all music that artists have created and nurtured since the earliest methods of recording music were invented.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Papa Loves Mambo.”

What sort of music was played in your house when you were growing up? What effect, (if any) did it have on your musical tastes?

5 Things Thursday – Top 5 Phil Collins Music Videos


Everybody loves a list!

I am starting a new segment on this blog called “5 Things Thursday” where I will make a list of 5 things in a certain category that I choose. This was inspired by a Daily Prompt of the same topic.

The debut week’s list takes a look at five music videos to songs by the legendary Phil Collins, the English drummer and singer. He is one of my all-time favorite singers, packing a versatile range across several genres and being quite personable and humorous as well. He gets creepier and more godly like as the years go on though, as well as going bald prematurely. I was inspired to choose him after hearing the song “Easy Lover” and instantly being blown away again. And he has a boatload of hits. I’m listing my five favorite music videos by him, in no particular order. His videos are known for their minimalism, dark tone, using black and white contrast numerous times, and for incorporating unique techniques.

I present to you…the essential handpicked Phil Collins video list. There are so many other great videos by Collins but I couldn’t include them unless this should be 10 Things Thursday and that ruins the simplicity.

In the Air Tonight 

This is obviously one of the greatest music videos ever because it is so timeless. And when the drum solo kicks in, the song is take to a whole nother level. It’s so simple yet packs so much darkness with 80s like psychedelic filters. Chilling.

Take Me Home 

This video is ironic since the song is about Phil living a humble, unassuming life but he is shown living in Hollywood, being atop Radio City Music Hall, and walking in Times Square.

You’ll Be In My Heart 

The commercial and production value of this video trumps all the rest and being that it was the promotional video for Tarzan, the work put into is a no-brainer. Another video that features Collins simply standing in the center, looking more like the Godfather as everyone walks by. The use of the split screen moving back and forth and showing the world in different ways is what makes this a very unique video. I still have memories of hearing this in the theater in 1999 when the family went to see Tarzan. I think I nearly cried because it was such a heartwarming song.

Another Day In Paradise 

More irony in this bleak looking video, showing the dreadfulness of the poor and hungry to a song about living in paradise. Phil Collins is a genius.

Don’t Lose My Number

And one of the more entertaining and humorous videos in Phil Collins’ career. The video is hard to understand because it goes from a wild west shootout to Collins strutting in a white suit to ninjas fighting. The titular girl, Billy, is never shown or made clear. Still an ingeniously made video that keeps one second guessing and hooked. There is never really an ending, which is the whole point of this funny video.

Charles in Charge

Well, hello there! Does the cheesy 80’s sitcom come to mind? If it does then you may have come to the right place, maybe. This is about a man named Charles who thinks he’s king of the castle but just until his egotistical bubble pops and he’s sent crashing back down to Earth and opens his eyes to see that he is in fact a loser like all the other losers strolling around. It’s about the camping trip we had planned for the summer in August. It turned out to be a disaster…

The camping trip was hell, Charles in charge, being an ass, turning the camp into Gilligan’s Island, bringing everything except the kitchen sink. Bought a $150 canopy, sold it later on and I swear I saw the same one at the Jackson fair, judging by the identical box on the ground. Chaz starts (or attempts to start) fires every time with some success, walks around with silly straw hat, uses whole tank of propane. Drank 10 beers, still drives. Totes, totes, totes, for just three days, but wears same clothes. Brought way too many chairs, I really couldn’t decide which to sit in. I prided myself in getting my tent pitched before his, which I did. When it comes to people like Chaz, I really get a competitive edge, which I should feel terrible about, but it’s Chaz so no.

Weather was hot and unbearable. Mosquitoes, gnats, bees buzz about like motorcycles, can’t touch us from bug repellent, MC would be proud. Always resorting to rubbing my face with a towel to cool things down, but works as good as a lawnmower in a cornfield.

Went fishing for the first time, caught nothing but got a few bites. Worm gone every time. Stuck in seaweed and other messes, losing a bobber and some line. Had a fisherman look with a camo jacket, sleeves rolled up, and shirt wrapped around my neck to avoid sunburn.

First attempted dinner on a campfire sucked, ended up using propane. I literally spilled the beans in the fire, ending up eating the “enemies” food, according to Jack and Emily.

Slept in tent , felt miserable, bee/flies buzzing constantly in my corner, repellent only kept them off for about 10 minutes, the cheap stuff. Still a better story than Twilight.

Raccoon, joked about it being in the tent, ate food from our picnic table under Chaz’s Christmas lights pavilion. Was it Roger, our three legged raccoon who used to visit us on occasional nights while we were still living way back in the sticks?

Em’s car brakes failed, had to be towed away along with Jack and Emily. They left me some food in a Styrofoam box, didn’t heighten my spirits much. Rain poured after I wished there would at least be a thunderstorm to authenticate the experience.

Fight ensues between Mom and Charles, “We’re all God’s children”, Charles said. Tells us about his days as a youth, getting swirlies, pants pulled down, etc. Big discussion about keeping secrets and holding back lies about one another, Charles tries to establish firm ground with “our side” and forget our differences, but it seems all hogwash. Like the Sith trying to forge peace with the Jedi. That ain’t ever going to happen.

Peed in the woods; different setting feels nice even with mosquitoes threatening to bite you a nice blood. TMI, I know.

Finally succumbed to going into town for food and supplies. Ate at Jet’s Pizza, big screen showing The Open, every detail fleshed out, every wood fiber of ESPN’s broadcasting desk looking realer, every wrinkle and sweat drop magnified on the players faces, blades of grass looking crisp. Mickelson won the Open, his fifth major, further more the ‘good guy’ of golf.

Trip home back to normalcy, Kashmir beating into my ears. A hellish three days at this Crooked Lake, dysfunctional ending as usual. Next time I go, there won’t be any “Charles in Charge”. I guess the good thing about this camping trip was that I avoided using the rustic facilities for both reasons: number one and especially number two.