Yeah, we get it, hating everything your parents love is a rite of passage. But every once in a while, you have to admit when they’ve got it right. Long before you ever knew you had musical tastes, your parents’ favorite songs were the mixer for your future alt rock cocktails and, as corny as it may seem, you’ll end up thanking them for it. Part 1 of the Parent Swap looked at modern bands the adults in our lives are into (or at least should be). Today’s list lets our parents’ musical tastes shine.
I was never exactly your conventional carpool mom. I smoked cigarettes, wore high top chucks, and am covered in tattoos. However, like most moms I did do my share of the driving. My car was always full with my 5 young kids, their soccer player friends, my Girl Scout troop, or a bunch of gamer kids on their way to a DDR tournament. To save all of our sanity the car radio was on constantly. It became a running joke that the Beastie Boys’ Fight For Your Right To Party seemed to come on every time we got in the car. I’m not just talking about when it first came out in 1987, but for a run of about 3 or 4 years. Most moms would have changed the channel, but I decided to make it our road trip anthem. The appropriateness of the lyrics be damned, this is one fun song to sing along to, with its rowdy call to rebellious teens everywhere. You really haven’t lived until you have a car full of kids belting out, “We’re gonna fight for our right to paaaaaartay,” through the open windows. This certainly earned me some dirty looks from passers by over the years but at least we have some fun punk rock memories to look back on. (Cynthia Tenicela, resident idobi mom)
I honestly wanted to go with a less obvious choice for this list, but there’s no way around the fact that The Beatles are the very first band to come to mind when I think about the soundtrack of my childhood. Growing up, I found the same things in their records as my parents’ generation did–instant classics that perfected the pop/rock blend and had an undeniable mass appeal. (According to completely invented statistics, people wearing Beatles shirts are up to 40% more likely to have actually enjoyed a Beatles songs at some point in time than wearers of any other vintage band merchandise.) Trying to describe their music almost feels silly…I mean, they’re the fucking Beatles. Even if you claim not to like them, you probably secretly dance along to the Twist & Shout scene in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” just like the rest of us. When my adolescent music taste drifted further and further away from anything my parents could find the appeal in, I suspect it was always comforting to know we could throw on Sgt. Pepper’s and find ourselves humming along together–making them the center of our Family Musical Interests venn diagram. (Eleanor Grace)
My dad is old enough to have bought Bob Dylan’s debut album in 1962 when it first came out, and it’s a love which has stayed with him. Ever since he was a hippie in the sixties with hair longer than my own, riding round on a mirrored motorbike dressed in a fluffy coat, he’s been listening to all the greats. He’s seen Pink Floyd in their original lineup three times, Led Zeppelin back in the day for less than a dollar, and while he might not go to any concerts now, he’s passed on that love of music to me. Bob Dylan was one of the first artists I remember listening to, and when I got my first guitar at age four, his songs were some of the first I learned to play. My dad and I never had much in common, but he tried his best–he taught himself to play guitar along with me, and we’d jam for hours to Dylan’s classic melodies. But I’d be lying if I said my love for Dylan is purely nostalgia. There’s a reason Dylan is still remembered today–he’s always been rough around the edges, and his simple melodies are so beautifully honest and utterly timeless. He never tried to be perfect, and that’s a role model every kid needs–he’s the kind of charming you don’t see in the fairytales. From the rambling “Subterranean Homesick Blues” to the bittersweet “Blowin’ In The Wind”, Dylan can evoke so many different emotions with just one guitar. And every time I listen to him, I suddenly gain the intense desire to learn to play the harmonica. Even now, whenever I pass a street-performer covering some Dylan, I stop to give change and take in the time-honored sounds because it reminds me of those times when my dad and I would jam together. (Alex Bear)
Some people are embarrassed to admit they listen to their parents’ music because they think it isn’t cool. Well, when I was younger, my dad took me to see everyone from New Found Glory to The Counting Crows to The Pussycat Dolls–he’s been cooler than me for a long time, let’s get that out of the way right now. We listened to a pretty eclectic mix of music in the house when I was growing up, but between Creedence Clearwater Revival and Pure Funk (remember when you could order CDs from your TV?), Cat Stevens was an artist that always stood out to me. He was a very common Sunday morning fixture, when we wanted to relax but keep the television turned off. As a child, I always wanted to skip to “Peace Train” and “Moonshadow” because they had a sort of nonsensical whimsy and soft vocals. Now, when I listen, I tend to gravitate towards “Father and Son” or “Wild World,” the types of songs that sounded somber but made no sense to me when I was little. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve begun to understand and connect more personally to the lyrics and messages that they carry. While Cat Stevens’ catalogue has never been front and center in my life, it’s one that I’ve revisited steadily, and it occupies a prominent spot on the long list of great music my father has introduced me to. (Alyssa Dempsey)
My earliest memory of listening to music was probably when I was around 5 years old. I had just moved to California and my parents had our car radio tuned to 96.5 KOIT, the Bay Area’s top soft rock station. Until I was old enough to drive the car on my own, that was pretty much the station I ended up listening to the most, hearing the same oldies over and over. Therefore, I grew up well-educated in the classics such as Celine Dion, Foreigner, and Bryan Adams (which has actually proved very useful for karaoke). While I tolerated most of them, one of the few that really stuck out to me during family road trips was Elton John. I remember hearing songs like “Rocket Man,” and “Your Song,” and asking my parents what the song titles were so I could add them to my very first iPod, a large clunky white hand-me-down from my sister. The fact that Elton John composed the Lion King soundtrack, one of the greatest Disney movies of all time, also made him incredibly accessible. My appreciation of him only continued to grow once I learned he was an incredibly influential musician in rock, the main genre I was drawn to when discovering my own music tastes. His recent collaborations with some of my favorite artists including Ed Sheeran and Fall Out Boy have only made me an even bigger Elton John fan over time. (Catherine Yi)
Imagine Dragons are a funny band. They grew out of a small scene in Las Vegas and all of a sudden were everywhere — you couldn’t turn on the radio without hearing “It’s Time” or “Radioactive.” There were undoubtedly the cries of “I listened to them back when they were playing (insert small venue here)!! They’re selling out!!!” and there were some people who were thrilled to see them succeeding in such a massive way. My mom was a part of the latter group — she has the best taste in music out of just about anyone I know, and was in fact the person that got me into Imagine Dragons in the first place. An avid listener of SiriusXM’s indie channel Alt Nation, she had first heard of Imagine Dragons there when the only release they had was their Continued Silence EP. Right after she heard their now-hit single “It’s Time,” she texted me saying “you have to check out this new band Imagine Dragons, Tarynn, you’ll really like them, they’re so cool! They’re so unique!” I have to admit that it took me a while to get around to it, but when I did, I was blown away — it was a refreshing and interesting sound that was unlike anything I had heard before, but was still strangely familiar.They’re undeniably catchy and interesting and have lyrics that are instantly relatable to anyone of any age.
I found out a few days later that they had just announced a show opening for AWOLNATION, and I knew I had to be there. I was one of the lucky few who were able to grab tickets as they sold out in under a minute, and I felt #tooblessed. After they had performed, I saw vocalist Dan Reynolds at the merch table surrounded by maybe five people and I knew I had to say hello. I introduced myself, and although he wasn’t able to talk much due to throat troubles that made it nearly impossible for him to do so, he was incredibly friendly. I had asked him to do a huge favor for me — it was a few weeks after my mom’s birthday, and I told him how she had gotten me into their band in the first place — “if I call my mom right now, while I’m standing here, would you be able to just say ‘hey, what’s up?! Happy birthday!’ to her for me?” Much to my surprise, he obliged. Now, two years later; Imagine Dragons are headlining arenas, my mom still talks about how he called her, and the rest is history. At this point, your parents have probably already heard their singles on the radio, but as my mom could tell you — the rest of their back catalog is definitely worth delving into! Tarynn Law
My relationship with my dad has fueled all of my great loves: sports cars, motorcycles, Star Wars, and music. He is surprisingly one of the few people in my life that shares most of my musical taste, but I didn’t really expect to share much of his! One summer, my dad promised me twenty bucks if I organized all his CDs. This meant locating them from their misplaced locations all over the house and putting them in alphabetical order. I said sure, imagining it was easy money, until I realized just how many albums he owned. However, it was through this endeavor that I discovered the great Johnny Cash.
It’s true that Johnny Cash doesn’t quite fit in with everything else I listen to, but what would a collection be without diversity? His deep, folksy sound is unlike anything else I’ve heard and I love the simplicity of his songs. I can’t sing as low as Johnny but that doesn’t ever stop me from trying to on “Folsom Prison Blues.” Plus, Cash has a sense of humor, like on “Boy Named Sue.” Originally it was a poem by Shel Silverstein, but Cash made the story of Sue’s revenge famous through song. Plus, no one can resist the timeless classics “Ring of Fire” and “Walk the Line.” Cash released over 90 albums over a 50-year career, so his “Best Of” list has to span over a couple CDs. I was never much of a country fan, but Johnny Cash doesn’t quite fit that mold either. He’s part country, yes, but also part folk, and even part rock and roll. (Come on, what’s more punk than that iconic image of Cash flipping the bird at San Quentin Prison?) Whatever genre he’s in doesn’t matter–the man in black resides happily on my CD shelf and I owe it all to my dad. (Hannah Pierangelo)
The music you listen to while growing up doesn’t simply fade with the past–it sticks with you, even later in life, after years of fine-tuning your music taste to perfection. When I was younger, my dad loved playing Journey records while working in the garage. I’d be sitting on a stool nearby, swinging my legs to the beat while reading the comic section of the newspaper as he worked. Frontiers was always a favorite–there’s nothing quite like the sound of hammering or tinkering on the car to songs that feel just as powerful as the force behind the work, whether it be the lyrics, synthesizers, or guitars. While some of the songs sound like today’s mainstream rock, the record came out in the 1980’s when dance, pop, and disco music rose to prominence–which goes on to show that a good rock album could peak at #2 on the Billboard Chart and stay timeless. Catchy choruses you’d be hard-pressed not to sing along to and electrifying riffs are what characterize the album, and listening to it as a kid gave me a better appreciation for the progressive rock genre. Frontiers always brings back early memories, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. (Emily Yee)
I hold a very special place in my heart for Pink Floyd. I remember being 8 years old when my Uncle Tim passed away and watching my Mom dig through his old records. He was a die-hard Floyd fan and I had to find out why. I immediately became obsessed with this band, one that I still consider to be “indie before indie even existed” for their weird cross-blend of jazz, melodic rock, extended intros, soundscapes, and samples. For the first time I heard a musical approach that was so strange and eerie, it almost made me feel scared. But I loved this feeling. I loved the feeling of listening to music and feeling a sense of tragedy, but also a sense of freedom–a catharsis that no other music could provide for me. Pink Floyd taught me about experimenting with sounds and interplaying different genres and influences to tell a story. And for the first time, I was introduced to music that wasn’t about sex, crime, drugs, or unrequited love. It was music about discovery, reality, death, war, and insanity–the things that mattered to me, the things I wanted to learn about. Pink Floyd encompasses everything I love about music: the freedom of expression, the experimentation of different elements of timbres, and, most importantly, the ability to relate and feel real emotion. (Ethan Rose)
It’s time for a confession: there is no genre of music I love more than pure hard rock. This is due, entirely, to my rock loving parents. From the earliest stages of my development, I was jamming to Black Sabbath, Godsmack, and Shinedown through a massive black stereo system with a six CD changer. While the kids in elementary school were singing Britney Spears’ “Toxic” on the playground, I was belting out “Better Than Me” by Hinder word for word. While there wasn’t a single piece of my dad’s wondrous collection (which has mysteriously – and irritatingly – been lost over the years) I didn’t love, one album in particular left a massive imprint on my psyche. An album that is ingrained in my personality, woven into every section of my soul: Seether’s Disclaimer II. Twenty songs of grunge influenced rock music that I still listen to on a daily basis. I’ve been singing – or more accurately yelling – along to the words of “Gasoline” and “Fine Again” from the age of eight. Some of my best childhood memories involve watching the in studio performances of “Broken” featuring Amy Lee, or catching whatever special Fuse was running on the band with my dad. Seether remains to be one of my favorite bands, and they have yet to disappoint me with an album, but that’s not the only thing that’s remained the same. The habits of discovering music through the medium of my dad’s new favorite band that formed then have also stuck with me over the years. Half of my favorite songs were first heard by him. When winter drags out in Michigan, hours are spent with him, combing through Vevo for the best rock songs in all the land, and my ongoing list of awesome songs grows with every music binge. (Emillie Marvel)