You might have the same musical tastes as your mother.
Academic research from Utrecht University, for example, suggests that a mother who likes pop probably has a daughter who likes pop, or a father who likes classical or jazz probably has a son who likes pop too.
But even within the confines of the genre, I think the drastic change in musical aesthetics from year to year, let alone generation to generation, can make it extremely difficult to find common ground with one’s parents.
Maybe you’re planning to make your mom a cute Mother’s Day playlist. If you plan to do this, I suggest you tread lightly. And if you’ve learned anything from previous episodes of this column, you know that I think the safest course of action is to be as literal as possible.
said the whale
We’ll start simple, both in lexical correspondence and in musical complexity. This song is essentially just two short melodic phrases looped for three minutes, but as usual, the Vancouver rockers (who are making their second “Playlist” appearance after “Sweetheart” was in the February issue) find a way to make it convincing with a fast pace. drums and harmonies with odd timbres.
“Joker and the Thief”
Please excuse me for bending my own rules to include group names this time; I gave myself the most specific prompt yet. One of my other guidelines for putting these playlists together is that I have to legitimately like the songs — otherwise I could just search Spotify for “mother” and pick six entries at random. And the thing about “Joker and the Thief” is that unlike many songs that play a lot in football stadiums (“Rock and Roll Part 2”, anyone?), it has real structure with unexpected variations and turns.
‘Mother of pearl’
It’s a pretty ironic choice since I just wondered how children’s musical tastes could diverge from those of their parents, and then I chose a song that my parents like. But it’s a classic – as soon as you get past the inexplicable first minute-plus, which I completely forgot about. Believe it or not, you’ll be able to see these 1970s stalwarts on tour this fall!
‘circle the drain’
This song, on the face of it, has all the makings of the kind of gloomy lo-fi track I immediately skip: lowercase name, depressed-sounding singer, was recommended on a music podcast. But even with all of those elements, Gabe Wax’s production helps it break the mold. The drums are uncharacteristically up front in the mix and make a big difference in the chorus, the lead hook bubbles under most of the song in an intriguing way and the track stays gripping for almost five minutes.
I’m taking advantage of the ambiguous title of this song to include it here, even though it’s apparently about singer Lily Mastrodimos’ grandmother. This one is full of evocative lyrics, but most effective of all is the dropping of the album name that closes the song; ” Are you OK ? complaining of Mastrodimos. sets the tone for the rest of the record.
‘The mother we share’
It took me years and years to even consider listening to this Scottish electropop trio, despite their popularity simply because of their unfortunate band name. But now I can confidently say what 155 million (non-unique) listeners on Spotify have already determined, which is that this song is worth playing. The best proof of that is that it got stuck in my head for the past week.
Journalist Henry Greenstein can be reached at 661-395-7374. Follow him on Twitter: @HenryGreenstein.