We Were Young Once

On Valentine’s Day my daughter and her family went to a Maroon Five concert. Whenever I visit them, my daughter and granddaughters play music in the car that I have never heard. They know all the words by heart and sing them with gusto. So yesterday, as I was cleaning house, I created a new Pandora station called Maroon Five so I could listen to their kind of music. I’m tired of being square. If you don’t know what Pandora is (it might only be a US thing), it’s an Internet radio station with a twist. You create different “stations” by entering an artist’s name, or a group, or a song track. Pandora plays what you entered as well as other artists, groups, or songs that are similar to what you’ve chosen. Prior to yesterday, my Pandora stations were Vivaldi, Carol King, Dave Brubeck, and the like. Now I’m finally moving into the 21st Century.

I was always a big Bob Dylan and Simon and Garfunkel fan, and the classics “Blowing in the Wind” and “Sounds of Silence” are still haunting. I was eager to see if the music of my daughter’s and granddaughter’s generation would hold important messages on life just as the music did when I was growing up. At first, as I listened to my newly created Pandora station, I found it hard to understand many of the words. But as I was dusting, I caught the refrain of one of the songs. The only part I heard was, “We Are Young. So let’s set the world on fire. We can burn brighter than the sun.”

Suddenly, without warning, tears stung my eyes and I had to make an effort to get ahold of myself. We were young once, too. We thought we would set the world on fire. How did the time and that vision get away from us? There I was, dust rag in hand, feeling every minute of my 64 years, sad that I had no hopes of setting the world on fire. What wonderful lyrics! I envied the young people whose song that was for, their whole lives ahead of them, dreaming of how they could change the world.

I had to know the lyrics of that song I had never heard before. I wanted to memorize it and be able to sing it as easily as I could sing every Ian and Sylvia or Peter, Paul, and Mary song. I wanted to grasp that feeling of burning brighter than the sun. I Googled the song title and found it was sung by a group called Fun. Then I read the lyrics:

Give me a second, I
I need to get my story straight
My friends are in the bathroom
Getting higher than the Empire State
My lover she is waiting for me
Just across the bar,
My seat’s been taken by some sunglasses
Asking ’bout a scar
I know I gave it to you months ago
I know you’re trying to forget
But between the drinks and subtle things
And the holes in my apologies
You know I’m trying hard to take it back
So if by the time the bar closes
And you feel like falling down
I’ll carry you home

We are young
So let’s set the world on fire
We can burn brighter
Than the sun

I quickly dried my tears and started singing Dylan’s, “The Times They Are A’Changing.” Setting the world on fire is overrated anyway.

About Coming East

I am a writer, wife, mother, and grandmother who thinks you're never too old until you're dead. My inspiration is Grandma Moses who became a successful artist in her late 70's. If I don't do something pretty soon, though, I'll have to find someone older for inspiration.
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34 Responses to We Were Young Once

  1. Robin says:

    I listen to a lot of new music, and generally shun the old stuff. It’s not that I don’t like the old stuff, but someone has to balance out my husband’s habit of only listening to oldies. πŸ˜‰ I keep him up-to-date with the stuff our grandchildren are listening to, as well as new music that I know he would like if he’d only give it a listen (I haven’t been wrong yet when it comes to those picks). Now that I think about it, a lot of the new stuff is sounding like the old stuff again. (Look for Michael Kiwanuka’s song “Bones,” for instance, or give Mayer Hawthorne a listen. Fitz and The Tantrums’ song “Moneygrabber” reminds me a lot of Hall & Oates.) All that said, I hear ya on the lyrics.

    • Coming East says:

      Good for you, Robin, for staying current! Thanks to Pandora and Spotify, I’m getting in the groove, too, so my granddaughters won’t think I’m so square.

  2. oldereyes says:

    When I was younger, I told myself I would never let myself get behind on popular music, but of course, I have. Occasionally, I’ll hear something that catches my ear and I’ll track down the artist but my experience is similar to yours. My theory is that a lot of the popular music we love is good but not great music, but it’s tied to certain times or events in our lives. As I get older, I’m fussier and another generation’s good but not great music doesn’t cut it. There’s always great mixed in but I’m getting too old to hunt through the good to find it unless it hits me in the head.

    • Coming East says:

      Great comment, Bud. The memories certain music brings back is definitely important to me. This new stuff has no connection to me, nothing I can hang my hat on. But give me Brubeck or Cat Stevens, and I’m back in college again.

  3. pattisj says:

    My oldest granddaughter likes Daughtry, and I like the few songs I’ve heard by him (and his group). He’s the third-most successful American Idol contestant. Sounds of Silence will always be a favorite of mine.

  4. Hahahahaha! Well, at least the chorus is decent…lol. I was driving my son and his friends to school one day when they popped in a CD that was nothing short of a porn musical. I calmly said “If you don’t turn this off I’m going to start singing and we both know no one in this car wants that memory” The faces in the rearview mirror were priceless!

  5. dorannrule says:

    LOL! I can never understand the lyrics in modern music anyway. Now I don’t feel so badly about that! πŸ™‚

    • Coming East says:

      Yeah, I got over my tears pretty quick when I heard the actual lyrics, Dor. Anyway, George says we did set the world on fire because we brought three beautiful kids into it. Gotta love that guy!

  6. E.C. says:

    I’ve never been to a concert. I have had many happy hours of listening to music from different generations. I’ve never really had a favorite band or singer per se`. However I am partial to a good beat with a good voice and touch of electronica. lol πŸ˜‰

    • Coming East says:

      A touch of electronically, E.C. LOL! I’ve been to quite a few concerts in my younger days. Besides Peter, Paul, and Mary and the Kingston Trio, I’ve seen the Beach Boys, Herb Alpert and the Tiajuana Brass, and Johnny Mathis, to name a few.

      • E.C. says:

        Awesome. I can only imagine the fun and happy memories you have of hearing those great bands & singers in person.
        Yep, I remember when the synthesizer sent the industry in a new musical direction.
        Nostalgia, I tell ya, it gets me every time. πŸ˜†

      • Coming East says:

        You are seriously cracking me up, E.C.

  7. Amy says:

    I think Henry James was so right “….but the old is better than any novelty.” πŸ™‚

  8. judithhb says:

    I’m with Dianna. We have a radio station here that plays music from my era, songs that I understand and words that I can hear. My children and their children play music that is so different and the boys are quite rude about Granma’s music in her car. So thanks for the reminder Susan that we are all different. πŸ™‚

  9. Yeah, well, I try not to dwell too much on the lyrics when the rhythms are so fun. It certainly gives us MANY opportunities to talk frankly about drugs, sex and rock and roll!!

  10. adeladurkee says:

    Maroon Five is the first band that I heard where I understood what George meant by a tight band. They are fantastic. Another great band is One Republic. The music matches the lyrics so beautifully, it makes me feel like I’m in the middle of a break-up. http://youtu.be/qfhN0JinPrU

  11. notquiteold says:

    I’m actually impressed that the words are that deep – “the holes in my apologies” is rather nice.
    But give me my James Taylor anyday. And as he said, it’s more the feeling that the words anyway: “To me, the words are nice, the way they sound.”

  12. I LOVE Maroon 5!!! In fact, for Christmas I gave my daughter tickets to see them! I’m pretty sure she’s taking a friend and not Mom, darn it. But I love the old music, too. I say what’s wrong with still being able to set the world on fire at least a little bit?

    • Coming East says:

      Julia, I think I’d like to go to a concert like that with my daughter and her family, but I think I need to learn more of that kind of music. I remember going to Peter, Paul, and Mary concerts and a Kingston Trio concert and loving them because I knew all the songs by heart.

  13. Doug says:

    I’m your age and float in and out about current “popular” music. Sometimes nothing new sounds good. And then some years make you feel eighteen. Anyway try these two bands: Arcade Fire and Fountains of Wayne. Arcade Fire’s first album was in my opinion the best record of the aughts.

  14. Dianna says:

    *more (I hate typos!)

  15. Dianna says:

    I couldn’t agree ore. Just give me my Temptations, Drifters, Three Dog Night and Neil Diamond cd’s (see: I haven’t even graduated to Pandora!)!

    • Coming East says:

      Oh, you like the modern stuff I see, Dianna. LOL. I’m still stuck in the sixties. I cracked up when I read the lyrics of that “inspiring” song. Boy, was I ever wrong!

      • Dianna says:

        Well…um…. I think the Drifters were in the 60’s, and maybe 50’s. I love anything from the 50’s, 60’s, and the first couple of years of the 70’s!
        My son will laugh when I tell him that you said I like modern stuff. Thankfully, although he’s only 32, he loves the oldies too!

      • Coming East says:

        LOL, Dianna. Guess I wasn’t a Drifters fan.

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