When are You “Too Old” to Enjoy Pop Music?

“Now the party don’t start ’til I walk in.” ~Ke$ha

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If you’re 23, you’re walking in. If you’re 43, you’re more boucing in, with your loose skin and wrinkles. I never actually liked Ke$ha until my 6-year-old wanted to hear the song “Blow” over and over. Eventually, I came to like it. But what in my house is going to blow, really?  The roast in the oven?  Well, maybe. My next party?  Hmmmm, possibly, but only since there will be children ages 4-15 running around.

So when do we get too old to respectably listen to pop music?  Is it when the lyrics embarrass us in front of our kids? If you have to explain a song in child-like euphemisms and Elmo-speak, then it probably shouldn’t be blaring from your car’s speakers. Although, I have gotten pretty good at explaining Lady Gaga’s lyrics.   “Poker Face”? Yeah, sure, totally about playing cards.

We, like many other families, like to occasionally turn up our surround sound home theater system and jump around (very out of breath) to dance songs. We don’t know the latest dances, or the coolest lingo, but we aren’t yet too old to appreciate a party tune about sipping sizzurp, as much as we might have to lie to our child about what that song really means. We are in that in-between stage when it still seems cool-ish, but we are a little too old to actually do what the songs are talking about. Without being shunned by our peers, that is.

Pop music is dominated by teens and twenty-somethings, but often written by folks much older and wiser. Perhaps this is where the draw comes in for “older” people like myself. While I might not enjoy watching Miley Cyrus twerk on Robin Thicke’s junk, I might appreciate the song that he performed, because it came from a slightly older person, and was full of metaphors that the younger set won’t quite understand. A few years down the road,  those 19-year-olds will hear “I know you want it, but you’re a good girl,” and they will stop in their tracks and say, “Oooooh, that’s why my dad didn’t want me listening to that song!”

I guess I’m in that in-between phase right now. I still like pop music, but some of it is a little risque for my taste (so I have to love it in secret). I already have a well-developed taste for the older stars who don’t appear on the charts as often, but instill their wisdom, however convoluted, into their songs. My son has already started to be humiliated by me, but still has years ahead of him of having to duck down in the back seat, because I’m doing some formerly-cool dance in the front seat. When other cars are passing by, too. I guess it all comes down to being young at heart. So maybe I’ll have to listen to that garbage in private, but I’m not quite ready to give it up just yet. My arms love to bounce to a fresh beat. 

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