What I’m Thinking: All About Retro…But Why?

Not long ago I sold my big old Colonial and ended up downsizing, even though I didn’t downsize as much as I initially thought I would. The Dumpster was filled to capacity before I moved but I still managed to bring along bins upon bins of autographed copies of books I’ve collected over the years and record albums I refuse to toss, even though I no longer own a record player. I also hung onto the hundreds of CDs I own even though my CD player was pitched in the move.

When I told my kids I planned to buy a new CD player, they told me good luck trying to find one and suggested I simply download any music I wanted to hear. I explained that I prefer to hold the CD, to read the liner notes, and look at the pictures often inside the cover. They still thought I was being old school and foolish. However, I did manage to find a sound system that could both play my CDs and provide digital music, podcasts and video streaming. Still, lately I find that I’m playing my CDs, most of them considered retro, without taking advantage of much else. It’s not that I don’t like a lot of music being recorded today but for some reason I find myself comforted by listening to what I consider classics: Jackson Browne, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Joni Michell, Sting, and so many others. Also, when my work day winds down, instead of putting on the news, I turn on old sitcoms.

Admittedly, this concerns me, and I have been trying to sort out why I prefer entertainment from yesteryear. I think one reason may be the feeling of having no control over what is happening to the world around me. Climate change and racism are real, in spite of the deniers. Democracy and women’s right to choose are being challenged. When I was growing up, the world was far from perfect but the music I listened to was filled with messages for change from musicians who were against war, who attempted to empower us to seek peace, who saw the danger of religion finding a way into our government. It made me feel I was a part of something positive for change. But now…well, now, it’s as though much of today’s music and laughter have become hollow, meaningless, which is why I take comfort in listening to lyrics that expressed the need for change. It’s doubtful that I’ll put on those bell-bottomed pants and tie-dyed shirts again, but it’s safe to say that I’ll keep playing those songs with reminders that we must pay attention since it’s apparent that we’ve gotten off track.

It’s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound? Everybody look what’s going down…