Wednesday, September 05, 2007

We had joy, we had fun

Perhaps inspired by the Spring Awakening music (too rockeroo for the high-school me but I love it now), I was tempted by this top one hundred songs of your senior year meme, but had to swiftly back away when I saw what they were. I don't recognize half of them and won't own to remembering most of the others, but it did make me wonder if there was some kind of calculus of regret and denial for those of us who, as adults, make our livings in professions devoted to the young. Do we do it because we liked being kids? Or because we didn't, and are trying to patch that over? Does being embarrassed by the tastes of your younger self make you a better or worse librarian? If you still love "Dark Lady," are you hopeless? More or less so if you never did learn the words?

17 comments:

Becky said...

I was tempted by this meme as well. And came to some of the same conclusions. While some of the songs are just too embarrassing to admit to liking...still...others make you cringe at the very thought of hearing them again. I don't know how scary this is, but I could actually recognize more of yours (1974) than of my own (1996).

I have at times asked myself if I'm drawn to YA lit because of the awkward factor. Then again, I never read this stuff as a teen...I was in the adult section...so I could be trying to relive it all now. Who knows???

adrienne said...

I was telling one of my coworkers just today how I made the shift to adult books when I was in the fifth grade and never read a "teen" book I wasn't assigned for a school project until I was adult. Now I read much more teen fiction than I do adult, and it's not because of my job, even though, as a youth services librarian, it ties in. Teen fiction is just what I feel like reading. I don't know what to make of it.

Kelly said...

Becky's right. This was a cringe-worthy exercise. I had to FORCE myself to be honest. Yes, I really did love "Like a Virgin," even if it's embarrasing to admit it now. (Especially after Madonna's children's books...)

Go for it, Roger...though 1974 seems to be a year heavy with weepy ballads.

As for why children's books...I think that's a complicated question. For me, I was always a very adult child, one who was pushed--especially intellectually--to grow up too soon. When you lose children's literature because your 3rd grade teacher has you reading Dickens instead, you do want to go back and enjoy a good story. Don't get me wrong. I love Dickens. But you shouldn't be worrying about labor laws, child neglect, and Christmas dinner when you're 9.

sdl said...

Mine was wretched, simply wretched! It makes me very glad I attended a largely African-American high school where the speaker at lunch blared Chaka Khan, the Commodores, and Earth, Wind and Fire. I was spared most of these most of the time.

http://www.musicoutfitters.com/topsongs/1976.htm

Kevin Moore said...

Stevie Wonder's "Living for the City" is on that list, evoking memories of my childhood in inner city Buffalo that summer when Stevie was everywhere. Plus "Jungle Boogie" - great funk! Beats my year.

I think YA lit has improved greatly over the last twenty years. I'm just now entering the profession, but I've thought a lot about why I have a YA focus. It has more to do with overcoming the institutional, attitudinal and social access barriers YAs face when they come into the library. I'm really concerned about the drop in reading that occurs around middle school and the kids who fall through various cracks in our system.

So it's a do-gooder thing.

fairrosa said...

I had seasons in the sun, as a teen. Yup, I had some of the angst, and some of the rebellious spirit -- but what I had most was friendship that lasted for a life time and many many sunny memories. Although I was, like everyone else here, a very grown-up child and was told by a teacher to slow down and enjoy the childhood I would sure to lose as I grew older. I did listen to her, but then, I found out I never needed to grow up. I'm arrested perpetually at age 15 and don't regret it a bit.

Melinda said...

I graduated in 1989, but I LOVED "MacArthur's Park," which I listened to on one of Mom's old records. I will still sing it to this day. I am not ashamed.

I can't say I do the calculus, either. I write for YA because, er, ... adults are kind of boring to me. I mean, they don't have this sense of possibility that high-schoolers have. These guys will cut up and act goofy and get all emotional in a way that adults don't. And though this volatility can drive you nuts, especially if you have teenagers of your own, I just love hanging around them and eavesdropping.

Not to mention that the people I've met in the YA field are pretty good folks. So that helps.

Alexandra said...

I'll crawl out of the unwashed lurking masses for a moment to note that I think I like more songs from your top 100, Roger, than from mine (2001). The memory of a time when Jennifer Lopez occupied three of the top 100 spots is almost as awful as the actual experience of living through it.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Alexandra on this. I can't decide whether I'm more horrified by my leaving-home year of 1999 (heavily featuring Britney, Christina, Shania, and the Backstreet Boys) or my technical grad year of 2000 (The Thong Song). At least 1974 had some class.

Claire

JeanneB said...

I'm OLD and I'm PROUD. Class of '69 had all these people: Stones, Beatles, Sly, Youngbloods, Marvin Gaye, Elvis, and Creedence. And that's just in the top twenty. Yeah, I know, I know, the Cowsills are there, too, but still....

KathyQ said...

I'm getting old and JeanneB's year sure tops mine by a long shot. 1975--We're talking heavy, heavy disco here. The BeeGees, Peaches and Herb (Shake Your Groove Thing), Donna Summer. But "I will survive, I will survive." Besides, there's some Billy Joel in there, along with Rod Stewart, and that was the year that gave the world "Y.M.C.A."

I read and write YA, I think, because I remember the emotions so well and, although the outer trappings have changed, the emotions I see in teenagers haven't. Also, as someone else has said, YA lit seems so much more interesting that so much of what is written for adults. Perhaps because there's more at stake.

Now I'm going to have "What a Food Believes" stuck in my head for the rest of the day! Turn it off, turn it offfff.

KathyQ said...

"What a Food Believes." Now I'm going to be making up alternative lyrics all night. "What a Fool Believes," indeed. Guess I'd better go sing "The Logical Song."

Melinda said...

It's like my husband once typed, "I use my powers for goof."

Anonymous said...

me too with alexandra and the following anon. i like the music on roger's list. is it because I was nine then? is pop music written for nine year olds, so we never like the stuff of our own generation? or is it just that music started down the drain with the everly brothers?

h

rindawriter said...

I'm not sure that I'm embarrassed now by my younger self tastes: That was me, younger. I'm not sure why anyone needs to be embarrassed by what they were once, younger?

Older, now, I'm fascinated by a lot of the new the music younger folks like, even very younger folks, the innovation, the likes, dislikes, the why of why they like it, well, yes, I think, a lot of creativity of it all.

Sometimes, I don't like that I can't hear the words being shouted...but I always appreciate a talented drummer and an enthusiastic electric guitar player....

rindawriter said...

What I personally LOVE to read are writings by teen writers themselves, actually when I can find things by teens. Not so much of that out there but I certainly look for it and will buy it when I can find it.

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