Noots Letter: Mom & Dad Rock
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Against all odds, we made it through March. For April Fools this year, I think we should all not pay our rent. What a fun prank that would be!**
**Because my Catholic guilt prevents me from actually playing pranks/squatting, the Noots Letter About New Music will be embracing April Fools by discussing… OLD music. Whoaaaa punk’d !!
This is firstly because I spent March in New Jersey and have frequently been asked if I have run into Bruce Springsteen (by my dad) and/or Bon Jovi (by my mom) yet; secondly, because have an upcoming gig singing classic rock all summer; lastly, because I’ve realized the term “Dad Rock” implies the existence of “Mom Rock”.
The Dad Rock genre was once best described at ‘70s/’80 hits with a driving but mellow feel. A former Pitchfork writer claims to have coined the term about a Wilco album in 2007. And seminal scientific source Urban Dictionary notes that Dad Rock is often accompanied by (racist?) disdain for contemporary popular music, as we see from Boomers after every Super Bowl Halftime Show that doesn’t feature the Rolling Stones.
I felt exceptionally cool in high school listening to 95.7 FM The Ride, my dad’s favorite radio station, probably because it made me seem “appealing” to “boys”. It’s difficult to believe that music that was new in high school is now being referred to as Dad Rock. NOW That’s What I Call Music: Dad Rock stretches this umbrella term over nearly 5 decades on their compilation album, ranging from REO Speedwagon to Imagine Dragons. It’s also difficult to believe that every time I log on to Facebook, I realize those same “boys” are now willingly entering fatherhood. Oops!
Mom Rock is, to no one’s surprise, significantly more slandered on Urban Dictionary. I’ll leave you to unpack the feminist theory behind why we tend to glorify our fathers over our mothers (ruin your life with this Bonnie Burstow quote).
In one of the few articles I could find on this topic, “It’s Time To Establish the Mom Rock Canon”, the writer cites Carole King and Fleetwood Mac as obvious choices. We shan’t forget Love Actually’s iconically-shafted mother who claims, “It was Joni Mitchell that taught your cold-hearted British Wife how to feel.” Or the “Whip It” obsession among sisters in Raising Helen. Or Donna Sheridan and the Dynamos, who only sang ABBA (or was she supposed to be a member of ABBA? It’s giving plot holes.)
While I didn’t necessarily listen to a ton of music with my mom growing up, she certainly introduced me to some all-time favorites: Dolly Parton, Alanis Morissette, Corinne Bailey Rae. She instilled in me a deep appreciation for ‘80s stars like Whitney Houston, Madonna, and Pat Benatar. Friends on Instagram also noted how they also enjoy listening to Brandi Carlile, The Cranberries, and Depeche Mode with their mothers. Safe to say moms have… generally more expansive tastes than Dads??? Do I smell a win for moms this Women’s History Month????
Anyways, all of this will be irrelevant someday because genre, like gender, is made up. In the meantime, call your mom, text your dad, kiss your dog. Here’s a text from my Dad from 2019, proving that anyone and everything can be Dad Rock if they’re willing to listen:
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Mom Rock - It’s not just one thing! It’s for all kinds of moms!
will it ever be warm - Stuff (new to me) that I’m liking right now while staring out the window wondering … will it?
2010 iPod Shuffle - Are you also training for an upcoming race and running out of things to listen to that make you excited? Take this journey back in time to when you were simply jogging about your childhood neighborhood, listening to extremely drrrty tunes, no thoughts head empty.
22:22 - All the new tracks we love. Quarter 1, done & done.
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BBBBBONUS SECTION (Here are some other musically inclined Substacks I quite enjoy and think you would too!)
Three’s A Party - Every weekday, Colin shares three songs with common thread in their lyrics, and it’s up to you, the reader, to guess! Better than Wordle? Methinks.
Midweek Crisis - In addition to making super specific and fantastic playlists on a biweekly basis, Stygi has recently been highlighting a number of Ukrainian musicians and resources where you should donate your attention/efforts!
music is good - The title says it all. And Vaughan’s piece about Steely Dan (ultimate mom & dad rock artist) is especially relevant to this newsletter!
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Luna Li, Duality: Cosmic, dreamy, expansive. Luna Li is one of those internet sensations who has thankfully surpassed virality. With Duality, she distinguishes herself as not only as a talented multi-instrumentalist, but also as an artist of many worlds.
Fana Hues, flora + fana: Soulful, lush, emotional. Her vintage vocals in the track “Icarus” from Hues was a 2020 staple on my Spotify playlists, so it’s a gift to dig deeper with this latest record. While it’s as vibrant and earthy as the title suggests, I most recommend it as an evening listen.
Peach Pit, From 2 to 3: Bright, folky, honest. A perfect blend of folk and surf rock that feels like being in college again. This album just! Makes me jolly! No thoughts, just smiles.