What is Rox Populi? |
I used to rock 'n roll all night and
party everyday. Then it was every other day. Now I'm lucky if I can find
half an hour a week in which to get funky.
Remember the "oldies" station you would always pass up on the radio
dial when you were a kid? The "old" people would always say, "Now that's
when music was good. Not this crap you're listening to." Ah yes, how I
would laugh at them as I jammed to Men At Work's "Who Can It Be Now?" I
remember thinking, "Man, these old people are sure bitter about music."
They became especially bitter when a song from their youth was remade by
one of the day's more popular acts. I remember when mall queen Tiffany
sang "I Think We're Alone Now." It was on all the radio stations, all the
time. The "old" people would listen in disbelief, their protestations
falling on deaf, ignorant ears. They would snap, "That's a Tommy James And
The Shondells" song. What have you all done to it?!!" They seemed to be
filled with a feeling of dread. I never knew why. Now I do.
Fast forward 20+ years. I'm in line at a local Subway complaining to a
friend how sick I am of hearing about their goofy pitchman Jared and all
the weight he lost. In the midst of my tirade, the radio behind the
counter begins to crank out a familiar tune. One of my useless talents is
the ability to identify songs by hearing only the first few notes. As the
guitar strummed, I told my friend, "Dude, Crowded House, 'Don't Dream It's
Over.' I love that song." The twelve-year-old girl in front of me turned
around slowly and laughed. "What's a crowded house mean? There's only a
few people in here." As I looked condescendingly down at her I was about
to explain that I was referring to the name of the band when suddenly, the
vocals began. This wasn't Crowded House at all!
"I have this CD at home," the little girl said. Almost afraid to ask, I
queried, "And what CD is that?" She fixed me with that "you're sooo lame
look" and said, "Sixpence None the Richer, of course! They're great."
I was stunned. "Sixpence the What?! That's a Crowded House song! What
have you all done to it?" The circle of life was now complete. Cruel fate
had sprinkled a dose of ironic karma on me. No way, man, not me. I'm not
old enough to have songs from my youth remade. That was only a few years
ago. I was still in high school when I first heard that back in the mid-
eighties and that was only--OH MY GOD--seventeen years ago!
Seventeen. Seventeen. The number echoed in my brain over and over
again. The room started to spin. The poster of Jared started laughing at
me. I was losing my balance. I had to get out. I ran to my car and locked
the door behind me. I gripped the steering wheel and drew some deep
breaths. No problem here. I checked the rear view mirror and just for a
second I thought I saw the Grim Reaper wearing a Frankie Goes To Hollywood
T-shirt. After I rubbed my eyes, the ghastly apparition disappeared.
My friend got into the car next to me. "Dude, what was that?" he
inquired. "Nothing," I said, playing it off legit. "Just felt a bit
nauseous." As I backed out of the parking lot, I reached for the radio
knob and fumbled with the buttons until I found a clear signal. The DJ
prefaced his song intro by saying: "The greatest hits from yesterday! And
now a smash from 21 years ago, here's Men At Work with 'Who Can It Be
With an exhale of resignation, I listened to the tune, remembering the
time I first heard it. When life was full of possibilities. When I did not
know what the IRS was. Simpler times indeed. Then I understood why the
"old" people were so bitter about their music. Their attachment to the
songs was really an attachment to a simpler time for them, a better time.
The encroachment of modern music was a reminder of how long ago those
times were, so it was rejected and hated. Now that "my" music is a
little...okay, a lot older, I too am getting a gentle reminder of
This WILL happen to you. When it does, don't worry. Nature can be
cruel. Just take care of yourself to live long enough to laugh at that
twelve-year-old when she's thirty something and hears a remake of Sixpence
None The Richer's remake of "Don't Dream It's Over." Karma, you see, is
not without a sense of humor.
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