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Basic Biittner: The New (Im)morality

Friday, March 25, 2011

I am one of those "Baby Boomers," a generic term which is often used to describe those of us who were born in the years 1946 - 1956. Rock and Roll was "born" during our era, and when I was a teenager, pop music went through its second major period of the era - the so-called British Invasion, led by the Beatles, Stones, Animals, Kinks and The Who, with the "late addition" of Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd.

Along with the great music, the latter half of the 60's also featured the "drug (counter) culture" and the "Sexual Revolution."

I remember doing a paper in college about the "sexually explicit" lyrics which were then creeping into pop/rock recordings. In retrospect, the lyrics were hardly explicit. In fact, in most cases, they were suggestive at best (or worst, depending on your point of view), and "dirty" words certainly weren't used, as there is no way the FCC would have permitted such a thing to happen.

So instead, kids in Aurelia went down to Cliff Bruce's drive-in and played "Sock It to Me Baby" incessantly on the jukebox (remember those), listening closely and swearing that Mitch Ryder wasn't really singing "Hits me like a PUNCH," but rather - well, something else.

At any rate, as I have stated numerous times in this column, I really haven't listened to much popular music in the last 25 - 30 years. Just don't care to, because I like the "old stuff" (and I don't mean 'Sock It to Me'). Songs with good clean lyrics and melodies you went away humming or singing - songs which many of us from the era can still remember (most) of the lyrics and melodies (and sometimes the harmony parts as well).

I say all this because I just looked at a list of last week's singles (or whatever they are called these days), and - at the risk of sounding like a prude, a geezer or "my old man," I was shocked.

Here are the top nine songs on last week's 'Top 40' chart, in order -

'F**kin' Perfect' (Perfect), 'Born This Way,' 'F**k You (Forget You),'

'Tonight (I'm Loving You),' 'Grenade,' 'Hey Baby (Drop It To The Floor),'

'S&M,' and 'Blow.'

I had no desire to hear any of these songs before I read the titles and have even less desire now. And as much as I used to make fun of Tipper Gore and others who were up in arms about the "filthy" music to which their kids were being exposed, sometimes I find myself wondering if maybe, just maybe, censorship is really such a bad thing.

Dan Whitney
Basic Biittner