by Cherie, contributing writer and editor
Music is my passion; I live and breath it. In fact, I listen to it almost constantly. It makes the forty minute commute to work bearable, and there are very few things I love more than rocking out in the shower. When you love music as much as I do, its only natural that you want to share it with the people you love. And when you are a twenty-three year old who, for better or worse, lives at home while working full time and going to school, your closest audience is your probably going to be your parents. Now, my parents are fairly young but I understand that there’s something of a generational gap. So I try to pick and choose my battles, introducing only bands I think that they will like and not wasting time with others. Even with a careful screening process I find that my luck has been 1/4 when it comes to introducing my parents to new music. As a rule I’ve found that mother despises the banjo, so any band that uses banjos heavily is out (alas, this means she doesn’t like Mumford and Sons, something I still can’t quite comprehend). She also isn’t a fan of mellow music, and that kind of music can be a hit or miss with my dad as well.
My mom tends to be more accepting of younger indie rock bands than my dad. Years ago I discovered that she liked My Chemical Romance and we spent one memorable car ride blasting The Black Parade together. She has recently started listening to fun and The Format (though Steel Train she doesn’t seem to care for). One year I found out that fun was playing a free show in Boston but I had no one to go with so I invited my mom to go with me. I don’t think she even listened to the band atthat point, but like a good sport she tagged along anyways. I think that night probably converted her into a fan if she wasn’t already. I don’t think it hurts that she probably has a crush on the lead singer either (in her defense, he is pretty adorable). The next time the band rolled through town she bought tickets with a friend and saw them again. I recently introduced her to the Lumineers, who, despite their Mumford & Son’s -esque sound, do not have a banjo and thus seem to have passed her approved listening test. Actually, she told me the other day that she is “obsessed with them” (her words, not mine). She actually hijacked my CD of them for the longest time and only gave it back recently. When I was growing up she literally could not stand to have music being played in the same room with her, so she’s come a long way since them. I’m so proud of her (sniffles).
As for my dad, he has more of an eclectic taste like my own. I remember when I was middle school de had a Linkin Park CD that my brother and I were forbidden from listening to because we were too young. Linkin Park went on to be one of my favorite bands of all time, thanks to him. Most of the music I’ve gotten him to listen to is very, very different from Linkin Park though. Unlike my mother, he doesn’t seem to mind banjos and he loves Mumford and Sons. He loved Sigh No More, but I have to admit I haven’t heard any feedback on Babel yet. For his birthday I burned him Daughter’s first album which was just released and he seems to have liked it so far, though only time will tell. I also got him to listen to Tegan and Sara, though the only album he cares for is The Con. And I can kind of understand that, because each T&S album has a completely different sound and they aren’t for everyone. My mother, for example, can’t stand them (in case you haven’t notice my mother tends to have extreme reactions to music; she either loves it or hates it and you can’t really fault her for that).
Despite all the small minor victories, there are two bands that have appealed to both my mother and my father and hence are counted as major victories. The first band that all three of us love is The Airborne Toxic Event. I think my parents fell in love with the band when they did their live CD/DVD. My dad loved the live DVD so much we actually bought him a copy as a present one year, and my mom bought the CD of it and that used to be her go-to album to listen to in the car. The second artist we all love is Laura Marling. I mean, what’s not to love? She’s an incredibly gifted musician and I have yet to meet someone who isn’t won over by her music. I’ve been lucky enough to see her in concert a few times the last few years, and hopefully when she swings back around for the new album I can get my parents to see her live. She is absolutely incredible live. I count the Airborne Toxic Event and Laura Marling as major victories because they are something all three of us can enjoy together. And there’s nothing I like more than to have my favorite people sharing the things that make me happy.