November 19th, 2010
Last weekend I made my semi-monthly trek out to some used bookstores. I found a couple books for myself and a handful of Rush albums – the remastered versions. As long as I was there, I thought that I’d try and find some music for my stepson. He’s 11 now and all he listens to is The Beatles. Don’t get me wrong, The Beatles are great but man cannot live on them alone. I figured that I’d try to find some more British Invasion. Keep him in the same ballpark yet mix things up a bit.
Of course my plan failed. The only Stones I could find were their last couple studio albums. And I didn’t see any Kinks or Who either. It was just odd. So I had to go with Plan B and Plan B ended with me buying these two albums:
A couple days later Miles tells me that he has been listening to The Doors when he’s going to sleep and that he likes it. I’m glad. I’m also glad that I have not been asked “What does he mean when he says that he eats more chicken than a man ever seen?” This makes me hopeful that he’s just waiting until he’s older to find out but part of me is fearful that it’s simply because he hasn’t managed to stay awake long enough for (what was then) side 2. We’ll see how much trouble “The End” causes but I am hoping to avoid an Oedipal issues.
“The killer awoke before dawn…”
Being a music geek, I struggled over whether to get the kid the 2-CD Doors best of or their first album. While I personally am not a big fan of best of compilations, I realize that they do have their place. And introducing a newbie to a band is surely one of them. After several minutes I ended my indecision by going with The Doors. My reasoning was purely old school. I wanted him to have the album. I wanted him to be able to see the cover and, generally speaking, see an artifact of the 1960s as it was introduced then instead of some revisionist repackaging. We can always buy more of their music.
Buying him the CDs is the closest thing I can manage now for him to have a similar experience to mine with regards to music growing up. Sometimes I miss vinyl. I miss having this big album cover staring me in the face and a gatefold sleeve to open and peruse. CDs can replicate the content but just aren’t the same. It’s like watching Star Wars on the big screen as opposed to a DVD on a 27″ TV.
I figure that, if he wants to, he can rip the CD, convert to MP3, and listen to the songs however he wants – a different order, with others in a playlist, or whatever. But I still think that he should start by having the album and listening to it straight through in order. There’s something to be said about the album as a package. It’s whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
As for the Blue Öyster Cult, I came home the other night and he had it playing in the living room. He had apparently already been familiar with “Don’t Fear (The Reaper)” and was happy that it was on there. “E.T.I.” and “Godzilla” should be easy enough for him to get into, although I don’t know what I’m going to say when he asks who this Balthazar cat they sing about is. The real test will be whether he enjoys “Astronomy” or not. We’ll see.
So what albums should I get him next? Do I build on these purchases and get him, say, Strange Days, or perhaps a Black Sabbath album as I was contemplating? I want to present him with a broad palette so I probably shouldn’t buy all classic rock. In fact, I shouldn’t get him all rock music for that matter. There’s lots of great music in all genres from all eras.