I am so tired of classic rock. I find Led Zeppelin to be the most odious band in the world. I respect the IMPORTANCE and the influence of the Beatles, but they bore me. I would much rather hear them filtered through Elliot Smith, or the Apples in Stereo, or a zillion other bands than listen to Sgt Pepper, or god forbid, Let it Be. Of course there is a lot of classic rock that I love; I think the Rolling Stones were awesome, and the Kinks are just about the best band ever. But if you put it all in one place I get irrationally angry.
Here is my idea of a circle of hell: I am stuck in a car with only one radio station that plays the following sequence: David Bowie (love), Van Halen (awesome), Crosby, Stills and Nash and Young (like), Janis Joplin (like), Jimi Hendricks (like), the Byrds (like, but have Issues with stupid spelling), Blue Oyster Cult (enjoy hearing Burning For You every few years), Cream (eh), Steve Miller Band (boring), Journey (annoying), Creedance Clearwater Revival (dislike), Lynyrd Skynyrd (dislike, and who the fuck taught you how to spell), Styx (god awful), the Doors (pompous), the Eagles (HATE), Moody Blues (DOUBLE HATE), Doobie Brothers (TRIPLE HATE), Yes (OH GOD PLEASE MAKE IT STOP).
WAKE UP AMERICA, A LOT HAS HAPPENED SINCE 1968. Classic rock is a label that insulates baby boomers from the sad realization that the music of your youth is the golden oldies of the present. While it’s nice to take a walk down memory lane occasionally, we must take heed that a foot does not get stuck there, lest we find ourselves tearing ligaments and ripping tendons in an attempt to straddle the chasm back to the present.
My favorite radio station as of late is KEXP, which in the New York area, can be heard weekday mornings on WNYE, from fuck-all early until noon. I find it pretty nearly perfect: the DJs are hardly annoying, and their taste mirrors my own: primarily new(er) independent label rock, rounded out with a mix of hip hop, electronica, country, blues, jazz, and sampling of the myriad sub, sub-sub and sub-sub-sub genres that I have never even heard of. They even play CLASSIC ROCK, which, it turns out, free of execrable genre constrictions, I really enjoy.*
KEXP introduced me to Kanye West. (By introduced, I mean, got me to actually listen to, because I don’t live in a cave.) I liked him enough that I bought My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, my first hip hop record since the Sugar Hill Gang, and I am unexpectedly wild about it. I listened to almost nothing else for a few weeks after I got it, to the point where I had to restrain myself from addressing people as Nigga. For a white Jewess this is DECIDEDLY NOT OKAY.
My obsession with this record has created something of a parenting dilemma. I know a parental warning means lots of cursing, but not having listened to a lot of hip hop, I underestimated just how filthy this record is. And so I listened to it with the kids, who loved it. Although I see the point of them, I do not want to listen to a censored record. In Kanye West’s hands, swearing is a HIGH ART, and absent the foul language, there is very little to hear. This record is at least an R, and possibly NC-17. And while I enjoy listening to The Exploits of Kanye’s Black Balls and pussy monologues, I can’t be complicit in exposing my pre-adolescent daughter to misogynistic rants. Nor do I yet want to explain to my boys the difference between a prostitute and ho, and why I hope you never fuck either. And so I cut the kids off, which means I have a lot less time to listen to it, because while I have a large child-free swath of the day to myself, during the portion I spend writing, I like listening to something more soothing. Sometimes responsible parenting sucks.
*I am now considering redacting this sentiment, because today was pretty heavy on the classic rock, featuring, among other things, Another Brick in the Wall, and Pink Floyd is the worst offender on my long list of Why Classic Rock is Insufferable.