Dear Songland,

I don’t want to love you. I don’t want to want to watch the next episode full of catchy hooks and new songs. I don’t want to cheer for the artist, the super mega producers nor the 18 year olds bringing their first song to a fancy pitch session where everyone is wearing nice clothes.

Dear Songland,

I don’t want to love you, but the heart wants what the heart wants. And I can’t quit you.

Dangit! I want to not like it! I want to watch it and rip on it, but God Bless it, I just can’t. Because to watch people hear new music for the first time, to watch people get excited about making music and making music better, to see the small small changes and tweaks it might take to bring a song from really good to WOW is so fascinating. And so full of energy.

I’ve watched two episodes so far. So I’m not even a pro because I haven’t seen it all yet, but goodness, to watch Will.i.am get so excited about new songs that he just has to start playing around with the material is the coolest. I thought he was a dope, aloof, super cool dude. Turns out he’s a music nerd just like me.

The Jonas Brothers wanting to sing along, wanting to riff on this new piece they’re hearing for the first time? The best.

And it’s the best because I know how that feels. I know how awesome it is to create new stuff and then invite a new set of ears and a new brain into the conversation is the coolest. So dear Songland, Keep it coming.

And then my second thought is about how my kids will never have the relationship with songs that I did when I was their age. When I was a kid in the summer time I spent so many hours listening at the radio for my favorite songs with my blank tape cued up and my fingers at the record/play button ready. “Personal Jesus”, “Out of the Blue”, “I think we’re alone now”, “Black Velvet”. “Nothing Compares 2 U”, “The Humpty Dance”, “Enjoy the Silence” and so so many more.

This stock photo is to imply kids hanging out in the summer time and that they listen to the same music and have a deep relationship with Casey Kasem’s Top 40 Countdown.

This stock photo is to imply kids hanging out in the summer time and that they listen to the same music and have a deep relationship with Casey Kasem’s Top 40 Countdown.

Songs were hard to come by when I was 13. They were not everywhere. They were at Sam Goodie for $4.99 a single and $13.99 (at least) for the record and I didn’t have that kinda money. I sat by the radio and waited for the song. And we were all doing that. All of us were in love with the “Cocktail” soundtrack at the same time because the market was pretty limited as far as what you could hear. So when I hear those songs now I remember where I was- playing foosball on the deck of the Dean Club Pool, spending the night at my friend Megan’s house (she and her sister had a good collection of 45s so it was super cool), buying the piano music of “RIght Here Waiting for you” so I could play the song as much as I wanted.

We all loved those songs. They shaped us. Now music is mostly background music. It’s for getting fired up during the warm ups before the game. It’s not trying to catch MTV news for more or wanting to know every ounce of very curated information about the artist published in Teen Beat magazine like what they like to eat for breakfast.

These days music is everywhere and you can find anything, but music doesn’t play into the storyline of a lifetime like it once did. They won’t tell stories to one another about what the song meant to them or how it played into their lives in different ways like it did for us. Oh, here’s me sounding all old and nostalgic. Excuse me while I go yell at some kids to get off my lawn.

The first time I heard “Graceland”, the first time I heard “Queen” on a family vacation with Katerina, the first time I heard “Santeria” and was like, “WAIT, WHAT?” I’ll never forget coming home from Paraguay and going for a drive with my friend Greg in his white Nissan Sentra (was that it?) with the windows down listening to Cranberries “Linger.” I can see it perfectly in my mind’s eye. Or being lovesick for the first time in high school sitting in my car by the beach in the dark listening to “Night Swimming” over and over again because it was the only thing that would help.

Songs, man. The heart wants what the heart wants and typically there’s music behind it. Love, Hope

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