Demographically Inspired Social Study of the Influence of Art on Individuals with a Particular Focus on Musical Expression Created by Other Individuals

Posted: September 23, 2012 in Arts
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So my sister, thinking she is the funny sort, posted a link on Zuckerface to a slideshow on the AARP website titled “16 Songs Everyone Over 50 Must Own.” Not sure why she sent it to me. Doesn’t she remember I figured out how to stop the aging process? You would think that kind of information would stick in a person’s mind, the proclamation, “I have discovered the secret which will allow people to stay their current age forever, never to grow old or infirmed.” But apparently it takes more to impress her. She’s a tough crowd.

The list was compiled by Jacquelyn Mitchard, an accomplished writer raised in Chicagoland. Now before your eyes start darting around in search of that off-color font promising a linky exit from here into the ether which ends on Ms. Mitchard’s slideshow, stop. There’s more to discuss first. Please show some patience.

I have issues with her choices, but who cares? Isn’t the point of any list to spark conversation, debate, kinship, anxiety, blind rage? It must be since lists do not seem to serve any other purpose. Yet the concept of a list of 16 songs anyone over a certain age should own is intriguing, partly because it can be approached from several perspectives. Here’s how she chose to go about it.

Music stokes my mood, keeps me spinning, on the bike and in life, and recalls for me irreplaceable moments we get to experience once, if we’re lucky. So I’ve compiled a list of favorites from every genre, each of which speaks in some important way to our generation.

Fair enough. It is her list. She can do whatever she damn well pleases. If she wants to frame it with genre limitations while simultaneously trying to speak to the experiences of her generation, have at it. Still there are plenty of other approaches to this topic, even using the odd 16 song parameter. For example:

– 16 songs from every decade you have been alive, evenly divided among those decades. Contrary to what most people over 50 have always thought, young musicians continually create music of sock-knocking-off awesomeness.
– 16 songs which remind you of various eras of your life.
– 16 songs which were cultural touchstones within your lifetime. (Okay, she sorta included this one.)
– 16 songs which address aspects of growing older, providing thoughtful insight to the emotions folks within your age range often encounter.
– 16 songs which are among the most enduring and well crafted pieces of music created, again within your lifetime.
– 16 songs from any era which are so outrageously phenomenal that anyone who enjoys music, especially someone your age, should own a recording.
– 16 songs you personally love, everyone else be damned. This is the list most people would compile.
– And so on and so forth.

As you see, the possibilities are enormous.

Anyway, the point is not trash Ms. Mitchard’s list. (See? The link! Patience pays off.) Nor is it to inflict upon you some bastardization of a list created by me using parameters which suit my idiosyncratic interests. The point is to burden YOU and let YOU proceed with the bastardization under the guise of a “Demographically Inspired Social Study of the Influence of Art on Individuals with a Particular Focus on Musical Expression Created by Other Individuals.” Sounds gibberishy enough, doesn’t it?

The rules are so simple even I would understand them.

1) List one, two or however many songs you want which you believe people within your general age range should own. But don’t be piggy. If you find yourself blasting past 16, give your fingers a rest.
2) Include your reasons. Or don’t.
3) Include the decade of life you are currently sailing though. 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, whatever. Or don’t.
4) If so moved comment on what others say keeping in mind The Gold Record Rule: Don’t be a freakin’ know-it-all snob. If that void needs to be filled, someone here at Traskland can step in.

Other than having no rules, does it get easier? (The answer is, “No John, it doesn’t.”) And take heed, amazing contributor! Your selections will not go unnoticed! Ummm…let’s rephrase. They will not go unnoticed by me or (I assume) the other folks who are kind enough to stop by this little corner of the universe every now and then. As for the rest of humanity, I am pretty certain they will not stumble upon your insightful analysis. Which, of course, is their loss.

  1. I went a little cross-eyed on the rules. Mysterious Ways by U2, Smooth by Rob Thomas and Santana. Because they both remind me of me. And I am that self-centered. Early 40’s.


  2. Patti Kuche says:

    I am hopeless with these lists – I could give you 16 today, another 16 tomorrow but off the top of my talking head Once in a Lifetime will always be there!


  3. sparklebumps says:

    Well, do you want the Church Girl list I have in my head or the Skank list? Yeah, that’s what I thought.
    1. Legs Up- by Smashed Gladys
    2. Pussy Liquor- by Rob Zombie
    3. Bad Motherf*cker- by Big Cock
    4.Blame It On the Boom Boom- by Black Stone Cherry
    5. Buttons- by Pussycat Dolls
    6. Cadillac Pussy- by Kid Rock (featuring Hank Jr.)
    7.Crazy Bitch- by Buckcherry
    8. Cream- by Prince
    9. She Loves my Cock- by Jackyl
    10. Domino- by KISS
    11. Drink in my Hand- by Eric church
    12. Got You by the Balls- AC DC
    13. Hell on High Heels- by Motley Crue
    14. I Get Off- by Halestorm
    15. I Touch Myself- bu the Devinyls
    16. Stripper Girl- by Steel Panther

    Ok, I’m just kidding. These are not prolific songs in my life; however, they do make me giggle.


  4. I love things like this. I am currently in my 40s, thus, 80s music will always be near and dear to my heart. So here goes, my list of 16 quintessential 80s songs that I think everyone should have:

    Video Killed the Radio Star – The Buggles
    Hungry Like the Wolf – Duran Duran
    I Ran – Flock of Seagulls
    Tainted Love – Soft Cell
    Edge of Seventeen – Stevie Nicks
    Separate Ways – Journey
    867-5309/Jenny – Tommy Tutone
    Rapture – Blondie
    Roxanne – The Police
    Pride in the Name of Love – U2
    Our House – Madness
    It’s the End of the World as We Know It – REM
    Like a Virgin – Madonna
    Girls Just Wanna Have Fun – Cyndi Lauper
    It’s Still Rock & Roll to Me – Billy Joel
    Billie Jean – Michael Jackson


    • John says:

      It’s funny. In deference to the Lovely Ms. Trask, who is 40, we often listen to the “1st Wave” station on XM. It is devoted to songs from the immediate post-punk era of the 1979ish-1985ish era. (Side note: Too much Depeche Mode for my taste.) Many of your tunes are staples on that station. And many of your choices are understandably inspired by the experience of growing up when you did. But as I often say to her, “Madonna? Really???” 🙂


    • Great list Weebs. I Love, Edge of Seventeen, Tainted Love, Our House, and Roxanne.


  5. Okay, ready?

    Because the Night – Patti Smith
    Elenore- The Turtles
    Texan Love Song – Elton John
    Green Shirt – Elvis Costello
    Nobody Does it Better – Carly Simon
    39′ – Queen
    Changes – David Bowie
    You Really Got me – The Kinks
    Never Going Back Again – Fleetwood Mac
    Shake My Tree – Coverdale/Page
    Helter Skelter – the Beatles
    Dear Prudence – The Beatles
    Mother Goose – Jethro Tull
    Sunshine Superman – Donovan
    Sitting – Cat Stevens
    All over You – Live
    Baby Let’s Swing – Todd Rundgren

    This hurt my brain. There are soooo many that I love. These are just a fraction of the songs that would excite me if they came on the radio – yeah, I’m aware I put down 17! I’m a rule breaker.


  6. H.E. ELLIS says:

    I’ve found that the music I grew up with changed dramatically whenever I moved. Since I bounced back and forth between New England and Florida often, I would go between speed metal and funk/soul/RB in a single year. Talk about musical whiplash.

    I do like your post though, and think that I should give it a shot.


  7. Ooh, I love stuff like this! Since I have very eclectic taste I’m going to compile a list of songs that I LOVE. I’ll get back to you… I need some.


  8. Snoring Dog Studio says:

    Look at Little Sister by Stevie Ray Vaughn (Actually, anything by Stevie Ray); Tick Tock by the Vaughn Brothers; Dog Days Are Over (Florence and the Machine); Calling Elvis (Dire Straights). I’ll stop now cuz I did have at least 12 more to offer up. Late 50s decade here. I see you stopped at 40s in your rules. Hmmm.


    • John says:

      Now lemme ask, is it because those songs hold deep personal significance or they are so representative of certain types of music that everyone within your age group should own a copy or do they just get your feet moving? Or something else entirely?


      • Snoring Dog Studio says:

        I’ve got a love for Texas Blues – brings me back to the days I lived there and would go out late at night to see outdoor concerts or to little bars where great bands were playing. They definitely get my feet moving. And, yeah, I think everyone should own some Stevie Ray Vaughn.


  9. So much for short easy to remember titles.


  10. You Can’t Always Get What You Want by the Rolling Stones is the first thing that popped into my brain. I’m 55 so I am mid way through my 6th decade on the planet this time around if there is such a thing as reincarnation. I like your rules. I may need to think about this a little more and write a post about it.


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