It’s happened. For the past four years, I’ve swam against the tide. Yesterday I felt myself drowning in the waves of reality. I’m a grown-up.

I try very hard to relate to my three daughters. I don’t immediately think their tastes and styles are dumb or odd. They are, but I always give them the benefit of the doubt. When I’m in the car with them I let them listen to their own music. This means the three major pop stations in Atlanta get plenty of work while we’re driving. Every once in a while one of their songs will bleed through my music snobbery thickened ear drums and I’ll think, “hmmm this isn’t the worst thing I’ve ever heard.” I’ve played Moves Like Jagger and Stereo Hearts in blog posts. My teenage daughter and I have a weird mutual admiration of Maroon 5, although Adam Levine’s twitter account dooshery has made me rethink my participation. But yesterday I realized my machinations have been for naught. I’m older. They’re younger. It’s time to give up the dream.

A few days ago, my sixteen-year-old was in a bad mood. I called it Thursday. In trying to cheer her up, I actually said.

“Baby, what do you think of Karmin’s Brokenhearted? That guitar riff’s decent and I don’t want to punch the radio when it comes on..”

Her blue eyes sparkled, her mouth formed what might look like a smile if the Mona Lisa was being tickled, and she caught herself agreeing with me.

“Ummm, yeah, well, maybe. It’s okay I guess. I gotta go upstairs.”

I claimed victory and threw out my shoulder patting myself on the back. I even went as far as tweeting and the facebooking the song, asking my alleged friends and followers if it was okay to like the song. The resounding response was “you’re trying too hard, fool.”  I didn’t heed the advice.

Yesterday, while driving with my teenager and my wife, a song came on the radio and I didn’t recognize anyone involved. The DJ said “here’s David Guetta with, (the name of the song).” Then a woman’s voice “sang” the first “verse”. The music was terrible. The voice was female. It didn’t sound like a David, and I’m very open minded. I asked my wife.

“Who is this? The voice sounds female and vaguely familiar.”

My wife was equally clueless and my teenager, exasperated, announced.

“The DJ in the song is David Guetta. The singer is Nicki Minaj. The DJ does all the work so he gets credit.”

 I was “this close” to telling my kid how dumb that sounded. A DJ being credited with the song. Minaj was singing, all he did was turn tables and push buttons! Then it hit me. This is her time. This is her music. David Guetta, Nicky Minaj and Karmin are her Prince, Madonna, and Def Leppard (the artists on the radio when I was sixteen).

This sobering experience produced a mourning time for me. This will take a while to get over. I’m not cool. I’m not hip. I’m not going to relate to my teenager or her sisters for many years. When they start filing their own taxes, applying for home loans or looking for deals on gas grills, I’ll be available for them. I’m brokenhearted.

I stand by my claim that the guitar riff’s not bad and this song is catchy. Plus, they’re actually singing live on SNL. Here’s Karmin’s Brokenhearted.



82 thoughts on “Brokenhearted

  1. I would have had a hard time not saying that sounded dumb. Because it does sound dumb.

    Moment like this make me feel old.

    I’m going to try to influence my daughter’s music loves for as long as I can, even though the rational side of me knows that it won’t last forever. We might need some kind of support group to make it through this.

  2. You are both cool and hip. And more importantly, you are a good dad.

    Lance, you are teaching your girls that even if you have very specific taste in music (or anything else, for that matter) it is possible to maintain that taste while also having an open mind. My dad introduced me to many great bands–The Beach Boys, CCR, The Traveling Wilburys, Dire Straits, The Who–and those are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head. I have no doubt that my lifelong love of music came directly from my interactions with him. And like you, he was open to listening to the stuff I liked–initially, only because I liked it. I got him into The Waterboys, Hüsker Dü, The Replacements, Los Lobos and numerous other groups (yes, he had very good taste).

    Your girls will remember the car rides, the discussions, and the fact that you cared about the things that interested them–precisely because it was of interest to them–long after they’ve forgotten David Guetta (who?). Trust me.

    • Oh Jen, I hope you’re right. I gave tay a copy of Radiohead’s The Bends and told her it would change her life. It didn’t. She didn;t care for it. My wife laughs it all off.

  3. Lance: “They’re younger. It’s time to give up the dream.” I KNOW! I KNOW! But for god’s sake, don’t let it be YOU saying it!

    Bah, I realised this a few years ago when I was in the cd store (can’t even call it a record shop anymore. AT ALL.) and the young dude called me “Ma’am.” That was so hideous.

    But, at least I’m hip to who David Guetta is 🙂

  4. when they play the old school stuff on the radio I get so happy. My daughter likes it sometimes which makes me even happier. I wondered why David had such a feminine voice too so thanks for clearing that up.

  5. If YOU’RE not hip or cool, then what the hell am I?

    Seriously, I totally get where you’re coming from. “Kids today…” Ha. I don’t get music today. I truly don’t, but saying that makes me feel extraordinarily old, so I believe I’ll just stick with pretending to get it. Yeah, that should work…

  6. Everything Jen said is spot-on and pretty much what I had in mind for this comment, so pretend I said it as well, okay?

    But with that said, I wouldn’t call you “unhip” or cool, and not just because I hate all the teenage music and fads at the ripe old age of 30 myself. It’s all relative. There are a lot of teenagers who like the “old school” stuff like Metallica or Kid Rock or The Beatles or whatever. And music in general is so subjective, especially considering “music” these days apparently only involves DJs 😉

  7. I’d never heard that song until few minutes ago. It’s catchy, but…well, I saw Def Leppard and White Snake live, so, ya know. *cough* Yes, I’m old. It’s hard to accept and I don’t like anything about it save for the knowledge I’ve gained. I guess we just have to realize we are and will be different than our kids. It’s so hard to let go of youth, but as long as we are young at heart and open to new things we can still enjoy all the changes in the world. Don’t be so hard on yourself, Lance. Our club is cool, too, just different:)

  8. We’re just getting to the point where my kids want to hear “their” music. At Owen’s request I put on an “I heart radio” station. There are 2 good things about it: 1.) once in a while they play a song by Adele and 2.) they play so many commercials I have an excuse to change the station a lot.

    • pop stations play so many commercials and stay on the same “clock” that i get my music in too. all 3 kids know who the clash and radiohead are, trust me.

  9. You are so nice, Mr. Dad of the year. That is such an insightful way of looking at it – that this is “her” music and her time. I think that’s a really loving and helpful way of looking at it and I will try to think twice when I tease my sister about her stupid music addiction (she’s about the same age as your daughter – second family, I’m twice her age)

    On the other hand… THIS MUSIC SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!! My dad used to make fun of me during my heavy metal phase and that was okay. I didn’t stop loving him less. I was angry all the time and I needed music that he didn’t like. I needed music that flew in the face of old people. (yes, we’re old people now). I needed him not to like it. I may be different than your daughter, but it was okay with me when he said it sounded like noise. I was irritated on the surface but deep down I sort of felt neat for liking something my parents didn’t like because I was trying HARD to separate from them 🙂 Nothing’s more embarrassing anyway than a parent trying to be cool. I can still see my dad trying. Oh god.

    Anyway, there’s gonna be like three years where you are totally uncool and alien to them and that’s not so bad. They’ll come back.

    Isn’t it worse for their mom anyway? I was a demon terror to my mom. Picture Gilmore Girls except THE OPPOSITE. Anyway, it’s sweet that you try to reach out but all she really wants is for you to be yourself and be her knight even if she has to pretend she doesn’t need you anymore – just being there and kissing her forehead sometimes is all she really wants.

      • great comment….the ttenager and he rmom get along pretty well, all things considered. i do the forehead kisses and timely hugs. i think i should just be happy with that and ignore the coolness stuff.

  10. He he! Teenagers – gotta love ’em. Actually, I think my 13 year old has superb taste in music – not that I’d be so cruel as to mention this when her friends are around. Although one exception is rap. She’ll ask (with a tone of incredulation), ‘What, do you really not like this?’ and I just have to look at her and say, ‘It’s rap, isn’t it.’ Say no more. That said, there’s the odd bit of rap influenced music that my bonkers husband actually likes – perhaps he’s the one I should be having a stiff word with. Music’s so wonderful though isn’t it? Nothing conjures up a treasured growing up moment like a song from the past. It amuses me to think that these tunes will one day make my daughters smile, and cringe, when it reminds them of growing up in this world, and our house.
    Great blog! Thanks.
    PS On a good day, with the curtains closed and friends firmly out of sight, both my daughters will have a good croon to Elton John with me. And Elton John wasn’t even my era!

  11. Almost every day last week I took a shower to two LMFAO songs. We call it “shower dance party.” This is a direct result of hanging out with the nieces. And now that I’ve told you, I have to kill you all.

  12. Today’s music is garbage, all of it. Gone are the days of artists who paid their dues, lived in vans, and starved to death.

    Talent, or what the kids think it is today, is more image and marketability.

    I can’t tell you the last time I listened to a radio station.

    Thank God for Spotify.

  13. I have no kids, but just love living vicariously through you. This post resonated with me in such an amusing way – so fun, but…alas, sorry, it was at your expense.

    For what it’s worth, I agree that every generation has its version of hip/cool/daddy-o/whatever — I only need to read the comment right above mine from JB (80s? – that’s the decade music forgot)…anyway, I digress …

    YOU. SIR. are incredibly cool. – maybe not to your kids, but hey….you can’t be everything to everyone. It’s more important you’re the loving dad to them, great husband to your wife, and COOL music snob to all your other COOL music snob friends like me.


    • ha! thank you eden….it’s funny, I used your ac/dc to get me going for the gym and while working out, David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust played on my iPod. I listed to six Bowie songs on my way in to work, admiring Mick Ronson’s guitar work. That’s my stuff, Tay has hers. I’ll be ok.

  14. Ramone

    The cream always rises to paraphrase Hemingway… as with most pop music (see Bobby Sherman, David Cassidy, Bay City Rollers) these and others burn bright for a few years, but most will have no significant shelf life. I strongly suspect that within a few years as your kids move away, go to college and experience the world, that they will discover the real magic that comes with great music, and before too long they’ll be asking you “Dad – who’s that guy from The Spiders from Mars and did you ever see Bowie?

  15. I have gotten into the habit of turning my ipod on while blogging. The other night I had it on while my daughter was working on her math homework. She questioned a lot of my selections and they were classics (well classics from the 80’s)! We agree on some of the newer songs but yep, I leave most of the newer music to my kids to decide if they are good or bad!

  16. cute little story for you: i have a mentor, older than me by about 15 years. serious, serious music lover. visiting with his family, long before i had children of my own, we were out driving around and he got out of the car for a moment. the instant the door closed his teenage daughter changed the radio station and when he came back it was Mmm Bop, I believe. this guy flipped his lid COMPLETELY. he was like YOU KNOW YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO LISTEN TO THAT GARBAGE IN THE CAR and on and on. it was so hilarious, so memorable, so instructive! so, bravo to you for NOT doing that. oh and also? she turned out fine, i believe she majored in cello in college and is living overseas somewhere 🙂

  17. Ugh, this made my heart hurt. Mostly because my oldest (step)kids are 21 and 17, my middle kids are 10 and 7, and we have a 10-month-old baby. So I’m going to go through three distinct waves of uncoolness. If that doesn’t make you feel better, I’m turning 36 this month and I DON’T UNDERSTAND THE TWITTER (there, I said it). WTH is a hashtag for? Is it part of the tweet? How do people keep up with the inrushing tide of Twitter updates from all the people they’re following? It all makes me want to go hide in a closet and listen to “Like A Prayer” on cassette on my Walkman’s earmuff-like headphones.

    • HA! do it…..make sure you put on acid washed jeans and go thru a can of aquanet.

      I know The Twitter. That’s the extent of my coolness. a hashtag is this: # followed by whatever you want….#sarcasm, #idontknowhatimdoing, #madonnamadonnamadonna.

      great comment. thanks for stopping by.

  18. See, I don’t think you’re trying to hard at all. There’s a difference between being a music snob and being an old fogey. You meet all the criteria for the first category, but not at all for the last. ALLOW yourself to be influenced by your kids’ music. It’s how you will discover new things to be a snob about. I can only say with absolute certainty that I loathe Kings of Leon because they suck because there are other modern rockers who I enjoy. If I hated all of it, I’d have to say it was just me.

    And giving a DJ credit for a musician’s song? That’s not modern-age-new. It’s bullshit. It’s a record label trying to take credit away from a singer and give it to somebody else. It’s DJs, a group who want more power and influence than they actually have (oh IRONY that my novel’s main character is a likeable DJ) trying to horn in where they got no place to be. If, in this song, the DJ is a singer or artist, then he needs to face it.

    Instead of going into mourning, engage in a dialogue with your daughter. Ask her what makes her so OK with having the DJ get the credit. Figure out if there really IS something making it OK. Look for other songs with the same quality and talk to her about them. (‘O, this is like that Nicky Minaj David whoeverthefuckheis bit, right?)

    The way you will remain relevant to your kids until THEY have careers and perhaps kids of their own is by showing interest in and respect for the things they enjoy.

    But that does NOT make some DJ getting credit for a song OK. If he’st he DJ, he’s the DJ. If he’s the singer, he’s the singer. If he’s both, he’s both. But nowhere in my book is it OK for a DJ to get credit for another’s work without acknowledging an additional role.

    You do know I’m the girl who fired the DJ at her wedding, right?

  19. Loved this – and I look forward to being even more unhip. Right now my kids think I’m super-cool.

    I started indoctrinating young. But already, my kids are forming their own tastes. That Jagger song and Love in a Hopeless Place are their faves – and they are preschoolers! What the heck is going to happen when they are the teen terrors that my sisters and I were? I’m already hiding under the couch!

  20. My opinion of most music these days is that it’s crap…..your post made me realize that the same thought was probably had by the older generation (who usually thought it didn’t get any better than the music they had) towards every new/different type of music that’s ever come out. Kudos to you for trying with your daughter, though. Try not to let your ears bleed!

  21. Ohh that weird sing-talk thing some “artists” do…. I never thought my parents were cooler for trying to get my music…just be yourself (like everyone else said!). Parents aren’t supposed to “get” teen music. It’s a thing.

  22. Just keep introducing them to really good music! (My kids like total crap, too, and it totally pains me.) My parents never got got in the way of my Wham! addiction. But when I think back to my childhood what I remember is listening to Carly Simon singing “You’re So Vain” on the record player with my mom, and listening to Billy Cosby concerts with my dad. I thought they were dorks, too, but those are still my favorite memories.

    p.s. you sound like an amazing dad.

  23. I wish you could see the expression on my 12-1/2 year-old’s face when he changes the station from KFI am 640 talk radio to his precious 102.7 KIIS fm. It’s like I tried feeding him cat food or something.

  24. While you’re a good dad for trying to accept your daughter’s music tastes, please note that I am a 19 year old college freshman and I ENTIRELY agree with you that, generally, current day pop is just god awful. And this is MY generation. 😥

    I’m a total classic rock junky myself, and I think the influence comes from my parents, but also simply being a musician. I absolutely hate the how every pop song seems geared towards dancing with that “unce” rave beat. It seriously hurts to listen to.

    There is some good stuff out there. For example, I like the Killers. The biggest difference between music now and music then…is that back then the POPULAR music was really good, nowadays the popular music is utter crap. I will never understand why people like it.

    That all being said, however, people can like what they want and you’re a very good father for putting up with your daughters’ taste in music. I know it’s going to be VERY hard for me if in the future I have kids and they’re into music that is similar to now.

    • wow…what a cool comment. My daughter actually has a couple of friends who dig my music. So, I know there are exceptions. Thansk for reading, dude.

  25. Loved reading this – Your attempts to relate; your realization that you’re “not cool”; your looking forward to understanding them when they’re looking for deals on gas grills. Poignant and sweet and funny.

  26. oh man. this is gonna be so tough for me. i’ll be 40 this year and have a 2 year old… right now it’s all about the Wiggles. i dread what will be on the radio in another 10 years. 🙂

  27. I’m beyond proud to say that both my kids were born far ahead of their time as far as music goes. We scroll through each other’s ipods and share music a lot. The only bands I can think of that they listen to that are more their generation than mine are Blink 182 and Three Days Grace. But Andrew LOVES Slipknot. *Gag* Jake did used to like the Jonas Brothers, but he doesn’t really consider that his proudest moment LOL.

  28. The guitar riff is cool. Bass is groovy, too. I think it was an honorable attempt, not desperate. I can relate. I have been subjected to everything from Hannah Montana (remember her?) and Big Time Rush to the new current phase of “discovering” Nirvana. Glad for the change, musically, but concerned about the fascination. So how do you win? You win by accepting the reality that you described way more eloquently than I every could. They are lucky to have you! (side-note: you may like this article, it’s more about music than parenting, but it came to mind as I read your post Great post!

  29. True story: I saw Karmin’s performance on SNL and was so hung up on how silly her hair looked I couldn’t even focus on the song…I am quite certain this means I’m old. DANG.

    Yes. As much as I hate to admit it, I relate to every heartbroken moment in this post.

    You see, my daughter is twelve and my son is fourteen. I’m (gulp) 43. But. But. But. I taught high school English for sixteen years! I knew the fashion, the music, the pop-culture references!

    I swear I was hip. I swear. (Right?) I was the cool teacher.
    Then, three years ago, I took a leave of absence to write full-time.

    During this gap, my kids started middle school and I lost my grip on what was/is fresh and new. I’d like to think of myself as someone who gets it. Still.

    But I think the truth is that I’m straddling the edge of being on the outside, looking in.
    Or I may be (gulp) completely outside.

    Either way, it’s my kids’ turn.
    And I’ll always have Prince, Madonna and Def Leppard.

    So pour some sugar on me.
    And we’ll be just fine.

  30. In preparation for dealing with this (even though G is only 1) I’ve started to listen to top 40 radio just so I can stay “in touch” with the popular music out there and not be one of those parents that can’t listen to their kids’ music. And yeah, I feel you. I am a fuddy-duddy. Already. It’s not all bad, I think I like Karmin, too. But if I hear Domino by Jessie J (or whatever the hell her name is) one more time I might puke. Or throw a tantrum. Or both at the same time.

    Incidentally… you ARE cool. It’s just that you’re cool to people in your own age group. 😉

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