The universe is sending me a message these days. Here’s how I know I’m old right now.
- This Summer I started needing eye glasses for the first time in my life.
- I recently came to the sudden and shocking realization that my oldest daughter, at nine years old, is half way to college.
- Nirvana is now considered “Classic Rock.”
On NPR’s All Things Considered last week, I heard a few things about the incoming college freshman class this year. Each year in August Beloit College puts out its Mindset List. It asks first-time college students about culture of the time. This year’s survey tells us the Class of 2014 doesn’t use email because it’s too slow, can’t write anything in cursive, thinks Beethoven is a dog, and–this one blew my whole day–calls Nirvana good classic rock.
As a kid I used to love pulling those old vinyl records of Mom’s off the shelf and putting the needle to them. Sure I had some cassette tapes, but there was something better about those records. The music was better, at least to me. Tommy James and Shondels, Simon and Garfunkel, Rolling Stones and The Beatles’ White Album. I remember Mom holding back tears one day when I was admirably calling her high school music collection “oldies.”
Here I am twenty years later, and college kids think the stuff I listened to in high school is oldies too. Un-fricking believable.
OK, so most of these freshman were two when Kurt Cobain ended Nirvana’s reign with a pistol in 1994. Before we realized those troubled Seattle grungers were the biggest music breakthrough since the Beatles. The freshman class were munchkins when Pearl Jam, Green Day, Live, Stone Temple Pilots and Smashing Pumpkins where the coolest bands in my world. At least when I wasn’t time traveling on the real “classic rock” from The Doors, Dylan, Led Zeppelin, Hendrix, Tom Petty (early stuff), and Skynyrd.
Maybe that’s why I have such an iTunes crush on The Black Keys these days. They found a beautiful groove where Skynyrd meets the new “Alternative” and rolls around in Hendrix-esque hard funk. Guess my kids will call them “classic.”