Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Branching Out on Their Own

I like to think that I have good taste in music.

I have shared some of it with my friends, and they have liked what I have introduced to them; some have even thanked me.

I'm talking about the friends I've recently introduced to artists like Hawksley Workman and Sam Roberts, or to bands like Metric.

In high school, I was the first of my friends to be into Led Zeppelin (first of my friends in elementary school, actually) and Peter Gabriel, to which my old friends still groove.

My kids have benefited from my music tastes, as they also like these bands and artists. My youngest loves Sarah Slean, and couldn't get enough of her on Canada Day. She is always listening to her music and has two autographed posters in her bedroom.

But my eldest daughter has branched out and discovered new music, and both of them listen to a pop-music radio station on a regular basis. That's okay. I feel that I've laid down enough roots and introduced them to music that they will take with them and keep for the rest of their lives.

When I was young, growing up in my parents' home, I was subjected to their musical tastes. Some, I didn't care for, like Roger Whittaker and Nana Mouskouri. But they did listen to Cat Stevens, who I still love, Neil Diamond, John Denver, Simon and Garfunkel, and ABBA. While I never had a lasting affinity for Denver, I still sing some of his songs from time to time in the shower or while cleaning the kitchen.

I branched away from most of this music when  I discovered Led Zeppelin and became close friends with my older sister's boyfriend, Keith Haartman, who introduced me to Alice Cooper, B.T.O., Yes, and Strawbs (although that 60s band never stuck with me).

While my daughters, for the most part, have listened to the music that I play around the house and have gone to live shows that my wife and I have taken them to, they are not limited to only that music. As I said, they listen  to the pop stations and have come to know music that has not been brought into our house any other way.

I suppose that as we try to break out on our own, we go in directions that run against the flow of our parents. That is something that our eldest daughter has done recently, and she's taking our youngest with her.

My kids are becoming head bangers.

I don't use that term in a derogatory way: though my kids didn't understand the reference, I'm sure that it is still used to describe those who listen to heavy metal and hard rock.

Lately, my sweet, adorable girls are listening to the band, Three Days Grace.

I remember hearing this band a couple of years ago, and I dismissed them out-of-hand because it's simply not to my taste. I like classic rock bands and alternative rock, but I'm not a fan of hard rock. I never listened to Iron Maiden, or Black Sabbath (though one friend always played Ozzie Osbourne's old band when I went over to his house), or any of those other metal/hard-rock bands.

To me, it almost all sounds the same.

For my wife, every hard-rock band these days sounds like Nickelback. I think that's harsh.

Over the weekend, as we were driving around town, my eldest child handed me her MP3 player and asked me to connect it to our car, so she could listen to her favourite rock band. Being open-minded, I consented.

To their credit, Three Days Grace does not sound like Nickelback. While they have those classic hard-rock guitar riffs and heavy base, there is some talented guitar playing. The lyrics of many songs were thoughtful. I listened to her music without judgement or without the urge to turn it off (something my parents would have done after five seconds in a similar situation, when I was a young teen).

When the album finished, my daughter asked me what I thought of the music. I told her that it wasn't bad, but it wasn't to my taste. I wouldn't stop her from listening, I wouldn't mock her, I wouldn't put her new-found band down.

But I look at my sweet daughter, I just can't picture her as a metal head. I've seen her in her room, reading a Percy Jackson adventure, listening to the instrumentals of Sarah Slean's Land and Sea orchestral songs. It's as though she's become another person.

Which is probably how my folks felt when I went from singing along with Sweet Caroline to cranking up the Immigrant Song.

Eventually, we all branch out on our own. I'm just glad they haven't embraced country music.

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