I Can’t Get … ‘Satisfaction’
“Dad, did you know one of the Beatles was killed?” asked my five-year-old son during dinner one day.
“Yes, I did know that,” I replied. We’d listened to the Beatles before, and my father had recently passed away, so I figured we were heading toward another conversation about life and death and memories. But it turned out to be worse than that.
“Dad, do you know the Rolling Stones?” he continued.
“Um, yes. Why, do you?”
“Ms. Crossley played them for us today. They are her favourite band. Can we listen to the song ‘Get No Satisfaction?’”
I am what some folks might call a music snob. I have a carefully curated list I like to call ‘Songs I Never Need To Hear Again In My Life.’ You can probably name a bunch of them and ‘Satisfaction’ by the Stones was definitely on there. In fact, the Rolling Stones in general are on there. I’ve always been a Beatles person — though there are, of course, a few Stones songs I truly enjoy.
Since becoming a father, I’ve often wondered how I was going to deal with the music my children bring home. I was about to find out.
I pumped ‘Satisfaction’ through our living room stereo and watched my son enjoy music wholly and without abandon. He was jumping around, nodding his head, closing his eyes, humming and singing and yelling “GET NO!” along with Mick. I became aware of the moment, thought about mindfulness and opened my ears in an attempt to listen to it for the “first time” – not unlike the way I try to appreciate the many other things fatherhood lets me experience again for the first time.
It was rather successful.
Before that moment, I had no clue what the bass-line to Satisfaction was – NO CLUE! And I was a bass player first and foremost! Then I asked my brain to imagine what it must have been like to hear a song like this at a time when there was little else like it … and again, success. I tamed my inner music snob.
For the first time in my life, I was able to enjoy a music staple I had spent most of my life trying to avoid.
My bungled lyrics here are proof I’ve successfully avoided this song my entire life.
I wish I could report that I’ve been able to quash my music snob entirely, but it appears that I have more mindfulness and “ear-opening” exercises to do. In the months since ‘Satisfaction,’ my son has connected with modern popular music he hears from our neighbours (always blasting music in their backyard) or on the occasional drive in the car with my partner.
Though it’s been enlightening connecting with what the “kids are listening to these days,” and though I truly do enjoy seeing my son and his two-year-old sister sing along with Psy, Pitbull (!) or Macklemore (!) as enthusiastically as they do, some songs don’t get past my music snob wall. Truly horrid stuff: Lumineers, Walk Off The Earth. I kind of resent my son for even bringing these horrible bands into my consciousness. For those songs I have at least an interim solution until I become a more musically-accepting father:
“Those songs are headphones-only, kids.”