Lately, I’ve been thinking about my therapy repertoire. Along with a few original songs, I use a lot of popular songs to help the clients feel engaged with familiar music. But as I look through my songbook, most of the music comes from the 60s or 70s. That’s partly me – I like that kind of music, and I know a lot of my clients do as well, particularly the adults who grew up with it. As the years progress, there are fewer and fewer songs. I have some from the 80s, and only a few from the 90s. Up until recently, I had practically nothing from the 21st century.
Part of the problem for me, I think, was that I didn’t really grow up listening to current music. My parents listened to a lot of oldies and NPR, and the few records I had (yes, records) were mostly Muppet related. I’m not saying I was deprived, I just wasn’t that interested in the hits of the day. I was a big Michael Jackson fan right around the time Bad was released – I remember how excited I was about the world premiere of the video. I also liked Weird Al Yankovic and Ray Stevens – not exactly mainstream stuff.
The 90s rolled around, as did my teenage years, and I tried getting into current music. Right when alternative music was getting big, I had a few stations I listened to, but I got tired of them. Going into college, I entered my classic rock phase, which lasted awhile until I realized that a) the catalogs were extremely redundant since nothing new was being produced in the genre (by definition), and b) classic rock stations often played music that I hated rather than what I considered to be the good stuff. For every Led Zeppelin or ZZ Top or Edgar Winter song, there were about 10 by Rush, Joe Walsh, or some hair band that I did NOT consider to be classic rock.
Eventually, I just gave up on radio entirely and started listening to audio books. That has morphed into podcast listening, and I find that suits my tastes a lot better.
That’s kind of a long way to say that I still don’t really listen to current music. It’s not because I believe that there’s nothing good out there, or that old music is inherently better. I just think it takes some time to weed out the junk and find the good stuff. The charts are flooded with flash in the pan hits. It just takes a while for the cream of the crop to become evident, and the songs with staying power will become clear over time.
So, I’ve been taking a look at some current music, trying to find some of that good music that I know is out there. One of the big songs that I think will be around for awhile is Cee Lo Green’s “Forget You.” It’s pretty simple, just three chords – C, D7, F. I just had to make sure to use the super sanitized version. I’ve also learned Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance.” Not that this is a GOOD song, but it’s catchy, and I do think it will have some staying power. I’m trying to stay out of the Justin Bieber/Miley Cyrus/Katy Perry/Jonas Brothers type of music…I think that will be as much of a joke in twenty years as New Kids on the Block/MC Hammer/Vanilla Ice are now. I’m thinking I may look at Adele next – she’s got some good music going.
Anyway, this was kind of a rambling post. Hopefully I’ll be more coherent next time. Thanks for reading!