Earth Wind & Fire


You Crazy Kids and Your Current Music

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My dad had a great collection of 8 track tapes in his AMC Pacer we played while heading north on our summer trips to the Traverse City area. We would cycle between The Guess Who, Bobby Vinton, ABBA and a few others. I remember particular songs on each and could sing along with them even today and I do when I hear them. Memories of our trips go hand in hand with the music we listened to. I was into other current music as a kid but I loved the songs my dad played. I lived with my mom but spent a lot of time with my dad so I was exposed to different types of music on both sides while growing up, everything from R&B to Mariachi. When I was at home my mother’s boyfriend listened to all R&B music. We had Stevie Wonder, Gap Band, Earth Wind & Fire and plenty more. Of all the genres I was exposed to it’s R&B that has stuck with me the most so my iPod is full of those artists I remembered.

My wife listens to different music and  having more of a current taste in artists our iTunes playlists have always been very different. While I know what I like I do have plenty of songs from her pick on my iPod too so once in a while I will listen to her playlist to see if anything catches my ear. I’ve become my father over the years in that I like music I can relate to most and tend to turn my thumb down to current music even when I have not given current music a chance. Over the weekend I re-connected with an old friend who is the last person I would think to be into current bands but he was naming them off and my wife knew who he was talking about. I thought, “damn I’m out of touch.”

While listening to my wife’s list I might hear something that I like and make note of it so I can explore that group some more. Currently she introduced me to iTunes radio and we both have stations we like programmed in. That makes it easier for me to switch between stations and as an attempt to broaden my horizons I will cycle to one of her stations sometimes. I’ve really found that some of the newer music is quite good so I made a few stations on my own modeled after M83, Imagine Dragons and Metric. The more I listen to these stations the more I like them but I don’t know what songs are new and which ones are five or more years ago. I still go back to my old school music but I often times find myself going a whole day only listening to one of those three stations with newer music. I’m happy to say that I am broadening my horizons.


Hit repeat on that old school jam.

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There are movies and songs that I like and consider my favorites just like everyone else. My taste in movies and music is partially built on the memories attached to them but that’s probably not much different from other people either. Watching a movie or listening to a song always takes my mind to events of my childhood or even recent years where I find myself thinking about events in my life during that time. I’ve noticed that the songs I like most are attached to good memories but that’s not surprising, who want’s to listen to a song that makes them think of a bad time? Sometimes though I even like to listen to a song that’s attached to a bad time if only to be happy about the good times.

My favorite genre of music is old school R&B like Earth Wind and Fire, Gap Band, Stevie Wonder and some others. The songs appeal to me because they remind me of a happy time as a kid in the 70’s. My mother at the time had a boyfriend that I saw as a father figure and someone I looked up to. To me he was a provider, strong and decent. It wasn’t until later I realized that he was a womanizer, mean to my mom though never hit her and wasn’t such a great provider.

We had a record player in the apartment we lived in  with R&B albums stacked in milk crates set on their side to form sort of a table for the speakers on top. Bo, my mothers boyfriend, would play the records and  smoke weed while doing them old time dance moves. My mom would laugh loudly and I would look on wishing I could dance like that too. Perhaps the picture of what I described would not be appealing to some but it was to me. I was young and saw nothing wrong what what was going on. Bo would take me sledding around the woods over logs and grass pulling me with a rope while I sat in a long sled. It must have been hard to pull the sled like that around the woods but he would do it without stopping even. To me Bo was a great guy.

Eventually Bo left, like all my moms boyfriends, but over the years I would get less and less attached to them. I think it was around 1985 the last time I cried when one left. After that it didn’t matter much. Interestingly it’s R&B prior to this that I like. Anything newer than that I just don’t relate to or care for much.

My iPod playlist has music from my selection but also has music from my wife. Her taste is very different from mine but I do listen to her selection of songs sometimes just so I can find out of there’s something I might like and I have. During a recent trip north with the girls I gave one of her songs a try called “Living Proof” by Gregory Alan Isakov. I remember we were driving down a country road on our way to Empire. The girls were sleeping and I was thinking about our destination, of course thinking about my childhood memories of the place, and how much fun we would have there. When I listen to the song now I think of that day up north and it makes me smile.