Monday, February 24, 2003

Five things I learned from watching the Grammys

1. I still know all the words to “Sounds of Silence” and “Sweet Baby James,” and can sing along at will. Don’t ask me about anything I learned in high school, but song lyrics seem to stake out prime brain cell turf and sink down deep roots.

2. My daughter has strong opinions. My personal preteen hated most of the songs in the show’s first hour (and no, it’s not because she prefers rap or metal; her favorite artist at the moment is Cher, and she kept hoping that maybe Rod Stewart was going to sing.) She declared several times that she doesn’t like Gwen Stefani’s style (and a good thing, too, because if she ever tried to wear a get-up like that, I’d have to ground her for life). She observed, cattily, that Vanessa Carlton’s hair looks dyed. She never wants to hear that Michelle Branch song again, or any Avril Lavigne song besides the one that’s playing on the radio right now. When I complained that she didn’t seem to like anything, she turned to me and slowly said, as though I might be too idiotic to understand, “Mom. Bruce. Springsteen.” But she fell asleep before the Boss came on, and when I woke her up to listen, she stumbled off to bed instead. That’s the way it is with the young people: They say they love Bruce, but when push comes to shove, they’re more interested in themselves.

3. My son digs the Dixie Chicks. He was drawn helplessly to the TV set when “Landslide” started playing, and made me swear to bring the “Home” CD home from my office so that he can listen to it, again and again. Who knew he was a little bit country?

4. CBS is my friend. I fretted about letting my daughter watch the Grammys since recent music shows have had such a reputation for bad language, but for this broadcast the musicians mostly watched their mouths and the censors bleeped out the rest. In the end, I was more worried that Robin Williams might say something unfit for little ears than that a rapper would.

5. I’m old. I’ve written before about how chilling it is to see how much one’s teen-age idols looking like comfortable old grandpas, and while seeing Simon and Garfunkel and James Taylor still making music warmed my heart, their obvious agedness put a creak in my bones. It didn’t help that the night’s big winner was all of 23, and so many of the other performers seemed entirely too short-in-the-tooth for comfort. The youngsters’ music, at least, was more easy listening than not, but when they start giving out lifetime acheivement awards to people I’ve been listening to for most of my lifetime, it gives an old lady pause.

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