Monday, November 26, 2012

8th Grade Playlist: 6. Dynamite by Taio Cruz

I don’t really like this song.

When one of my 8th graders submitted this song to me as one of his favorites, I groaned a little on the inside. Sometimes when things go “viral,” my reactions is negative. I still have a little of the “when something gets incredibly popular, I don’t want to go with the crowd,” thing in me. ( I didn’t actually watch Titanic until this last fall).

Honestly, I don’t really know this song that well and I don’t know a lot about Taio Cruz beyond what’s in his Wikipedia. As I listened to this song repeatedly on the way to work, I just didn’t find something in this song that I found that interesting. And then I watched this:

. . .and it reminded a lot of this:

I’m not saying that “Hungry Hearts,” is comparable to “Dynamite” on a musical level. They are very different songs, but both of them have inspired something similar, something truly amazing about music.

When you have an entire stadium full of people singing a song with complete joy, something is right about the music, something is really working. There’s objective arguments that one can make about the quality of a song but that’s not really relevant when you look at the way a whole crowd enjoys a song.

“Dynamite” is hooking into the singular theme that is present throughout all rock music: liberation. Rock and American pop music continues to inspire people through almost six decades, and each generation has different ways to express this idea feeling of liberation. For Taio Cruz, its going to a club and dancing, which really isn’t all that different than what the Beatles were singing about in “Twist and Shout.”

“Dynamite” doesn’t connect with me, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important, significant and meaningful to other people. It’s hard sometimes when you look at another generation’s music to make sense of it, but that’s okay. It doesn’t have to “work” for you. In the same way that younger people don’t get the music I love, I’m not going to love all of the music my students bring to me. What’s important is not that we convince each other of the quality of the music we like but rather what the music means to us. That’s where we find common ground.

The love of music is a beautiful thing.  If you really love music, then rejoice in people’s love of music, even if that love is directed towards a song you don't like.  This is something we should all celebrate as we live our lives, and if you are of a certain age, while singing “A-Yo.”

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