A Facebook post by music writer Mikal Gilmore this morning has me thinking about music that sounds both totally foreign and strangely familiar when you encounter it as a young listener. Gilmore was writing about Buddy Holly's "Peggy Sue," and he expertly defined it as a song that is "mystical," as if Holly "tapped into some timeless muse."
I certainly remember hearing that song (and "Not Fade Away" and "That'll Be The Day") when I was about six and wondering where this music came from. Holly's voice, the creative guitar solo, the production—all made me feel like I was listening to something otherworldly, and yet the humanity of the song struck me as completely natural, too. The fact that Holly, Elvis Presley, Gene Vincent and many of the other young rockers that my older brothers and cousin listened to as teenagers were from the American South made me think that there was something unusual down there, and started me on a long quest to explore blues and soul music.
All of this makes me wonder what contemporary music has this effect on children today. I know that it's not always obvious, because children can't easily put their finger on why something is odd-yet-attractive, and the mix of emotional responses can be disconcerting. My own children are too old now to canvass about what they're hearing now; I'll have to ask what they remember from the broad range of things they heard around our house.
I'd be interested in hearing if you have young ones who are obsessed with new artists who are making interesting noises.