Finding New Things in Old Music

As much as I hated to, I had to mow my lawn just before Easter. I usually like to wait till April, but this time I just couldn’t. I think the only thing I accomplished was pissing the grass off, as I’ve had to mow every week since. I don’t mind mowing the lawn though. I get an hour to myself, pop in the headphones on my iPod and mow the yard to music. Overall it’s a relaxing thing for me.

It was mowing the lawn while listening to music that got me on this topic. You all know I listen to some random stuff, and the last four weeks haven’t been any different. Mostly I listen to stuff I grew up with, stuff I’ve heard hundreds of times. Stuff, that while hearing I didn’t always listen to. Stuff where now as an adult, I actually understand the lyrics. I understand the references, metaphors and the innuendo that was written with care all those years ago.

I realize I’m admitting at worst to some stupidity, or at the least some naiveté. That’s alright. I usually end up shaking my head after something I’ve heard so much becomes so clear. Asking myself how I’d never caught it before.

I can throw in a good example here. When I was but a wee laddy and I’d be on long car trips with my parents, my dad would have tapes we’d listen to. He’s the one that got me into listening to all types of music and encouraged me to listen to what I wanted. I can remember clearly as we headed to some destination (likely Columbus Zoo) with the soundtrack to A Chorus Line playing. I was young, I enjoyed the music, but I had no clue on the lyrics. It wasn’t until recently that for some reason I wanted to hear that stuff again. I got me a copy of the same album and started playing it. First off, awesome music. Secondly, dear god it’s dirty. Lyrics like, Tits and Ass, shit Ritchie, masturbation references…I was like totally shocked. Not because of the content, more because I had never repeated any of that stuff I heard when I was younger. Can you imagine a grade school kid coming into school singing…Tits and Ass. I can, it’s a hilarious image you should really try. I’ll also add that Grease was another that was played a lot, I had no idea until I was in high school all the language that was in the song Greased Lightning.

It’s not just the obvious words either. I mean I listened to Sam Kinison, 2 Live Crew while in high school, so I knew the words and what they meant. But it was the innuendo, that most bands at the time used, that I didn’t always get until much later. Pour Some Sugar on Me, Feed my Frankenstein, Rock You Like a Hurricane, all songs I didn’t completely get until much later. I got parts of them, I’m not a complete idiot, but some of the lyrics went over my head. But I’ve found it enjoyable to go back and listen to songs like that just to find those little nuggets.

I think it’s those little nuggets that keep songs going long after their popularity. They keep you listening to find those little plays on words. It’s the main reason I keep on listening to the “oldies” anyway.


Originally published April 25, 2013