Monday, February 24, 2014

Songs My Kids Won't Understand

People love talking about outdated technology. When I was a kid, every adult I ever met somehow found a way to work in "Do you even know what a record player is?" to every conversation. I always rolled my eyes and wondered why they were so proud of being ancient. Then I found myself trying to explain what Napster was to my little brother the other day and feeling superior that I am old enough to remember the days of illegal downloads. He was all "why not just use iTunes lol."

I can now see the appeal of reminiscing about old technology with young people--it makes me feel more knowledgeable about the world and it makes them feel more youthful and full of life. It's what people in my day referred to as a "win-win." And while I didn't have to walk uphill both ways to school in the snow wearing sandals because we couldn't afford shoes in the olden days, I did occasionally ride a Razor scooter and wear platform foam thong sandals from time to time (do kids even call sandals "thongs" anymore? Or did Sisqo ruin that word for us? Is a Sisqo reference even relevant anymore??)


When I have kids, not only will they not know what Napster is, but they probably won't even know what TV or computers are because they'll just be hooked up to a virtual life all day like in that movie Surrogates. This will render pretty much all past music utterly incomprehensible to them.


867-5309/Jenny: First of all, we'll attack the obvious difference in that you can no longer call someone using only seven digits. Since 1995, we've needed to include the area code when dialing in order to make the go through. Lucky for Jenny, the song doesn't include her area code. But besides that, people these days don't need to memorize phone numbers or even pick up a phone to communicate with someone. Never has the phrase "for a good time call..." made any sense to me because calling someone on the phone is really not a good time, and it'll be even less of a good time for the next generation.


I Love Rock 'n Roll: Will our kids even know what rock n' roll is? Or will they only know about Nickelback and grow confused whenever they hear that someone loves it? And more importantly, will jukeboxes still exist? If so, will "put[ting] another dime in the jukebox, baby" actually do anything? The last time I was at a bar with a jukebox, they charged me a dollar to play a 50 Cent song. That's what I call inflation.

Another thing my kids won't understand? This guy's sunglasses.

Video Killed the Radio Star: No one watches music videos anymore unless they truly have nothing better to do. Even MTV and VH1 would rather show Mob Wives and Teen Mom than music videos. They might still exist in the future for the sake of YouTube hits, but our kids won't understand how this is bad for "radio stars" whose photos are plastered all over the world wide web anyway.


Hey Ya: "Shake it like a Polaroid picture" was charmingly retro even when the song came out in 2003, but then Polaroid stopped producing their instant print cameras in 2008 because everyone had switched to digital. The hipsters rebelled, and Polaroid brought the product back the following year, but it's more of a novelty item that is pretty much just a more expensive version of Instagram. Oh, and apparently you aren't supposed to shake the photos anymore.


Payphone: This isn't even an old song (it was released in 2012), so it was outdated and possibly confusing to children even in the year it came out. I haven't actually seen a payphone in years, and unless I simultaneously lost my cell phone and found a bag of quarters, I'd have no reason to use one. Even old people who would "never use a cell phone" now at least have prepaid Tracphones.


Bawitdaba: Besides the fact that our children will not understand the concept of "Kid Rock" in general, and that no one ever understood what this song was about to begin with, it features the added confusion of a line about "chicks with beepers." Beepers and pagers were a "thing" for about five minutes in the olden days, yet they've made their way into a surprising number of songs from that era: "Skypager," "Beepers," "Beeper," "I Just Wanna Love You," and the Kim Possible Theme Song, to name a few.

 This is the only image you're getting for "girlie magazine." I tried Googling "centerfold" and immediately regretted it.

Centerfold: The song about a guy seeing his former high school crush in a "girlie magazine" won't make sense to our kids because A) magazines will likely stop being printed, girlie or otherwise, B) they'll be able to see photos of girls in "negligees" just by Googling "photos of girls in negligees," C) their homeroom angel will probably post nearly-nude selfies on whatever the popular social network of the future is anyway.


Get This Party Started: Pink promises to be our operator and connection to the party line. Who does she think she is? Dialing 0 for operator assistance doesn't even work anymore--I just tried it on my cell phone and the recording was all "Error, error!" in not so many words. And party lines only exist for backwoods Deliverance-type communities anymore. In many ways, this song is even more outdated that Pink's Grammy performance last month (yeah I went there).

What other songs won't make sense to the next generation?

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