Billy Joel and Musical Maturity


There's a game I like to play called, "What did I like when I was my kid's age?" For Joshua it's easy, he's three and enjoys peeing in his pants and watching cartoons, just like dad at his age. Maria is a bit tougher due to the fact I was never a seven year old girl. Substitute Barbie for Luke Skywalker and I guess we're not that much different.

We always hear that kids today are growing up way too fast, or at least faster then their parents and grandparents did. But a realization hit me this weekend that makes we question that theory.

For our recent trip to Atlanta, I loaded up the cd player (yes we still listen to cd's) with all kinds of tunes for our listening pleasure. One of my all-time favorite artist, and the last performer left on my concert bucket list, is Billy Joel. "The Essential Billy Joel" was one of the first cd's in the changer.

Now Billy and I go way back. As we were jamming out to some "Uptown Girl" and "Tell her about it", the songs took me back to when my mom bought me my first album ever. Billy Joel's "Innocent Man" was my reward for doing well in school that year (and by good I mean passing). She had heard me singing along to the "top 8 at 8" every night for the entire school year. The top 8 list was full of Joel, Michael Jackson, and Culture Club (confession: I also own another one those albums but I refuse to admit which one).

As we were listening to Billy belt it out while I was playing the roll of Casey Kasem dropping all kinds of  Billy knowledge on Beth, it hit me; that album is 30 years old. First, how did I get to old so fast and secondly, how did those songs get so old that fast? My heart almost stopped when I thought about the age I was when I received that album from my mom, 9 years old. The same age Jacob is now.

How in the world did I as a nine year old understand what Billy Joel was even singing about? Could it be possible that Jacob would enjoy that same style of modern pop now a days?

Maybe it's the fact that Beth and I never listen to pop music. Maybe it's the fact that since he isn't exposed to it like I was as a nine year old he has somehow held off on his musical maturity. I can't fathom Jacob coming home and asking for "_____________" (insert any top 10 album/cd/download)

But at nine years old I was singing along to "Innocent Man", Karma Chameleon" and "Beat It".

Have I sheltered my kids or was I too unsheltered? Was music of the early 80's more fun and "innocent" then it is now or are Beth and I to "out of touch" (I was a Hall and Oates fan too) with music now for our kids to experience the same joy of pop songs as we did?

All I know is I can't believe my mom let me listen to that music as a nine year old...but I'm thankful today she did!


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