I am realizing that I am so out of it, I have no idea. Used to be, I listened to the radio all the time! All the time! In my room, or in the car, or just as background while I did whatever I used to do. I played records, and then CDs, and have a huge collection of each. I knew all the words to everything. I'm not sure what replaced listening to new music in the car--but when Jonathan and I drive someplace, we don't. And when I am in the car by myself (yes, that's rare) I listen to...oldies. I fear to say. And I still know all the words.
Okay, I just looked it up, and the Grammy nominations come out next month. And here are the "record of the year" predictions. I wondered--could I sing any of these? Adele's "Hello." HURRAY! I know that song. Whew. Beyonce's “Formation.” Okay, I've heard that, and saw the Super Bowl performance. Could I sing it? Nope.
Drake’s “One Dance” (featuring Wizkid and Kyla). Nope. Justin Bieber's “Love Yourself.” Nope. Lukas Graham’s “7 Years.” Nope.
This is embarrassing. When I worked for Rolling Stone magazine, years ago, I vowed I would always be au courant. Now I am no courant.
But wait, there are more predictions. The Chainsmokers’ “Closer” (featuring Halsey). Sia's “Cheap Thrills” (featuring Sean Paul) or “The Greatest” (featuring Kendrick Lamar). Nope. Kanye West’s “Ultralight Beam.” Nope. Nope. Nope.
AH. This is pitiful. And now I am rethinking even writing this, because admitting it is like announcing that I'm...well, like when my mother yelled at me one day "Turn that off! Who the heck is singing that?" And I said "They're called The Beatles."
Do you know the latest music? What do you think about that?
LUCY BURDETTE: I am a loser when it comes to new music and the Grammys! Here's the one new song I know, and only because we are going to see the Broadway show DEAR EVAN HANSON over Christmas. And they keep sending me Youtube videos from the show--which I love
HALLIE EPHRON: I'm with Lucy, hopeless when it comes to popular music. I get in the car and turn on classical. I have Spotify but I don't know how to use it. I listen to news when I'm cooking. Or I did before last week. But ask me about art...
Last night I watched the wonderful PBS special Alan Cummings Sings Sappy Songs. SO talented! I was surprised to hear that a medley of three songs were by Lady Gaga, Adele, and Katy Perry. Three whose names at least I know but clearly not their music. (Briefly I was a fan of Taylor Swift but she lost me with Red.) The one song I recognized was Cumming's closing number, the angry anthem that was Elaine Stritch's signature: "Ladies Who Lunch" ("lounging in their caftans and planning a brunch... on their own behalf.")
HANK: Oh, that song really gets me. So cynical and sad. And Sondheim is a deity. But we are not showing music we know today. So: here's "Black Beatles" by Rae Sremmurd featuring Gucci Mane? That song is number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. (Sample lyric: Frat girls still tryna get even, Haters mad for whatever reason...:)
(Okay, I don't even understand this video...)
RHYS BOWEN: I am more hopeless than any of you. I must be really old because most current music sounds completely tuneless and repetitive to me, whereas I used to sing along with everything through the Eighties. (Abba where are you now?) The only current singer I have really enjoyed was Lady Gaga making that album with Tony Bennett. But I do like quite a lot of current country music, Carrie Underwood, Garth Brooks, However I'm really a fan of the classics or musicals. If I listen while I'm driving it's Mozart or Les Mis and I hope to get Hamilton this Christmas.
DEBORAH CROMBIE: I have sort of kept up with new music the last couple of years because I've been a fan of the Voice, and if the contestants sing a song I like but don't know I'll look it up. But so far this year I've only seen the first show, so now doubt I'll try to catch up. I almost never listen to music in the car--too distracting in Dallas traffic. But Hank, we take Rolling Stone, and I will look up things that sound interesting. Also, we have Alexa in our kitchen, which makes it really easy to listen to almost anything that strikes your mood or fancy. The last CD I bought was the new Green Day album (Yes, I am a big fan) that came out right before I left for the UK, but I still haven't had time to listen to it...
One thing I really like about the UK is that people of all ages still listen to BBC Radio, and there is nice mix of old and new music.
HANK: I remember, as a kid, keeping track of the Top 40 songs as they played on the radio, and trying to make my own list, as I heard the records, before the official ranking was posted in record stores. Yes, Debs, I think I heard Chandelier for the first time on The Voice. By the way, number 2 on billboard Hot 100 is "Closer," by The Chainsmokers featuring Halsey.
Ah. Why did I write a blog about how much I do NOT know? Here's my Thanksgiving resolution: I'm going to listen to new music more. And starting now.
How about you, Reds and readers? DO you listen to new music? On the radio? Or how? What songs (are they still called songs? :-) ) should we be hearing? I know some of you will save us from the embarrassment of incipient fogey-dom!