If there were ever such a thing as “dad culture,” it exists right now. From baggy thrift-shop button-up shirts to the wretched viral article on a body type that shall not be named, it seems that young people are looking to their parents’ generation for stylistic influence. This trend applies to music too, and it inspired the ORANGE Music Staff to take a step back in time and reconnect with the songs from yesteryear that we fell in love with — no doubt from overexposure on long car rides when we were young.
Amanda — Derek and the Dominos, “Layla”
If I wanted to see my dad in a head-bobbing, air-guitaring euphoria, all I had to do was blast “Layla.” The explosion of intense, overlapping guitar melodies with just the right amount of high-pitched overtones make it an ideal classic rock song — not to mention the powerful vocals lamenting the agony of unrequited love. One of the reasons my dad has always loved this song is the contrasting movements that make it unique. Halfway through the song, the pace abruptly switches from fiery, erratic guitar chords to a sentimental, piano-driven melody. We used to crank up the volume for the insanity of the first half, only to lower it and collect ourselves for the softer, more delicate second half. Thanks to my dad and his affinity for classic rock, I learned to love a great guitar solo as a kid, and I still treasure “Layla” as part of my music collection today.
Gab — Bread, “Baby I’m-A Want You”
It’s the song my parents slow-danced to at prom. It’s also the song they danced to in the living room all throughout my adolescence —often interrupting my studying. Each time I heard the melodic soft rock drifting through the walls, I wanted to be both annoyed and grossed out… But it’s a good song, so I couldn’t help but sing along under my breath. The simple lyrics and romantic, chill vibe always put me in a better mood. Plus, my parents are actually pretty cute when they reminisce about the “good ol’ days”. I just don’t want to think about what happened after prom.
Armando — Steely Dan, “Aja”
If it wasn’t for my parents, I would have never had a love for music. From the time my mom blared Depeche Mode’s “Violator” on the way to elementary school, to the time my dad showed me Beck’s “Odelay” in middle school, my childhood was filled with great recommendations from both of them. But the one that stands out the most is definitely Steely Dan’s “Aja,” an eight-minute combination of jazz and dad-rock that works surprisingly well. I was skeptical when my dad first played it for me, but I grew to love it after my hundredth listen. I’ll never forget the first time the drum solo beat my adolescent ears to death, or the evil grin on my dad’s face when I heard it. Steely Dan is now one of my favorite bands, and my love for them and my parents has only grown over the years.
Jim — George Gershwin, “Rhapsody in Blue”
I haven’t done the math, but I’ve probably heard Rhapsody in Blue more in my lifetime than any song. If a classical jazz piece from the ‘20s doesn’t seem like something I would listen to thousands (literally, thousands) of times, you haven’t met my dad. He’s a guitarist and singer — both skills that he passed down to me — but he’s never learned to play the piano that sits in our living room to this day. Except for one song. One song that, despite being relatively difficult, he decided he would learn, even if it took my entire childhood. I grew up hearing basically the same two minutes of “Rhapsody in Blue” as my dad learned it, and he’s still not finished. I used to beg for him to stop playing the same melody over and over, but since coming to college, it’s come to represent home for me. These days, my dad has branched out into other pieces (“Canon in D,” “Clair de Lune” and even some bossa nova), but I look forward to hearing those bluesy opening notes when I go back to visit. That said: Dad, if you’re reading this, try learning “Mary Had a Little Lamb” first.
Kristin — The Temptations, “My Girl”
My dad isn't a huge music buff, but when I was growing up, he listened exclusively to either Motown or classic country. I still hold a fondness for both genres of music, specifically Motown. The Temptations are one of the genre’s quintessential bands, and “My Girl” is definitely the first song you think of when you say their name. It instantly brightens my mood whenever I hear it, and it brings me back to my childhood, when my parents would sing it to my sister and me.
Amy — Fleetwood Mac, “Dreams”
I am going to be a rebel and use my mom's iPod, because my dad exclusively listens to Kelly Clarkson. If you have ever seen “School Of Rock,” just think of Miss Mullins as my mother: both crazy about Stevie Nicks. My mom's favorite Fleetwood Mac song is "Dreams," one that I thought sounded outdated as a kid. But as I grew older, I recognized the floaty, ethereal quality that makes it timeless. Besides being one of the most polite breakup songs of all time, it's the perfect slow song for driving down the road with the windows down — which is exactly what my mom and I did. “Dreams” is now a regular on my playlist, and one of my only regrets in life is not stealing my dad's Fleetwood Mac ticket three years ago to see them live with my mom.
Bryan — Frank Sinatra, “Soliloquy”
I didn’t get Sinatra as a kid. Most 9-year-olds don’t. But as I started listening to his 1963 masterpiece “The Concert Sinatra” when I went to sleep every night, his music slowly became ingrained in my subconscious. I found solace in his warm baritone, and I got lost in the rich orchestral arrangements. As the title would imply, “Soliloquy” is an eight-minute epic in which Sinatra comes to terms with the fact that he will soon be a father, and muses on how good of a job he’ll do raising his son. It’s Ol’ Blue Eyes’ most tender moment, stripping away the braggadocio and sex appeal to reveal a man who deeply loves his children. The song shifts gears midway as Sinatra considers that he might actually have (gasp!) a daughter, but the sentiment remains the same. It’s the song my dad and I listen to on every late-night drive. It’s probably the song he and his father listened to as well. And it will certainly be the song my son (or daughter) and I listen to.