Back when I was in junior high school and developing music tastes that were separate from what was force-fed to me through the speakers of the radio in my parent's car, I discovered Billy Joel. My introduction wasn't the album that carried this song, but 52nd Street (the previous release). Songs like "My Life"' and "Until the Night" turned me on to passion and rebellion in music, but it was the song "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me" and the album it was featured on, Glass Houses, that solidified it for me. The song will always have a special place in my heart.
"How about a pair of pink sidewinders
And a bright orange pair of pants?
You could really be a Beau Brummel baby If you just give it half a chance."
With its songs of teenage angst and rebellion, Glass Houses became a soundtrack to my attempts to break free and become my own person, independent of what trends dictated. Though, I'm sure what I thought was outlandish and groundbreaking wasn't too far off the fashion trends happening in every sub-set of popularity in every high school across the nation. Yes, I embraced my moody, hormone laden phase. These days I would probably be dubbed an Emo kid. But then again, is Emo really anything more than typical adolescence?
It's the next phase, new wave, dance craze, anywaysIt's still rock and roll to me
Everybody's talkin' 'bout the new sound
Funny, but it's still rock and roll to me.
As a reflective adult, I'm reminded of the stanzas above on an almost a daily basis. I see kids on the street in what they think is cutting edge fashion, but I know they are really wearing something featured in the pages of Seventeen magazine decades ago. I'm reminded that trends are circular. What is it they say, everything old is new again.
When my kids point me toward a "crazy-cool new song," and I hear samplings from the eighties, or even the seventies, I'm reminded that it's all still rock and roll, no matter what new hip name they throw on it. I'm not trying to say that there is nothing unique on the radio being streamed on the internet, but when you're talking about what appeals to teenaged America, isn't it really all rock and roll?
Do you have a song, or artist, that sums up your teenage rebellion phase?