A Mom’s Guide to Dad Rock

12 Jun

Fathers Day cardIn our two-mom household, our kids have to double up on Mother’s Day but they get Father’s Day off. Probably a lot of men wish they could get that day off, too. I truly feel for dads on Father’s Day. Those guys deserve more respect.

Mother’s Day, for all its emphasis on feminine frippery and mass-produced jewelry that’s “as unique as she is,” at least comes from a place of genuine affection. It’s built around wanting Mom to bask in appreciation because “she does so much” and “she deserves a break.”

Father’s Day, on the other hand, seems to be nothing but a reminder of the guy’s shortcomings. Power tools, golf clubs, ties, cologne: those gifts tells Dad he needs to fix some things around the house, improve his game, sharpen up in the clothes department and smell better. And good luck finding a greeting card that doesn’t include one of the following:

  • Farting
  • Beer
  • Lack of hair (on head)
  • Too much hair (everywhere else)
  • The hopelessness of their musical taste

Yeah, Dad Rock often rears its balding head on the third Sunday in June. I’ve covered that topic before, but in case you haven’t committed that post to memory, the term essentially has two meanings:

  1. classic American rock from the late 1970s/ early 1980s that pretty much any Caucasian man over 40 can sing word-for-word
  2. indie American rock from the late 2000s-present that a lot of Caucasian men over 40 embrace so they can be perceived as cool, even though they would much rather be singing along with Huey Lewis instead

dad rocks the onsieThere’s been an intensive effort to reframe the term by adding a single “s” to the phrase, turning it into “Dad Rocks,” which can be easily plastered on mugs, t-shirts and other tchotchkes. Still, the better option would be to ensure that fathers have a genre they can own and enjoy without pity or scorn.

So, whether you’re a dad or not, here are three of my suggestions for freshening up your playlist without going too far off the map from familiar territory:

Kurt Vile

(Yeah, that’s his real name.) Vile’s voice is a bit of an acquired taste, and one song often sounds a lot like the next, but wait – don’t walk away! He’s got a swirling lyrical style and a muscular acoustic approach that’s kind of like a mellower version of Pavement. Smoke Ring for My Halo is my favorite of his albums – find it, pour yourself a couple fingers of something special and enjoy.

Jake Bugg

Okay, he’s a Brit. And he has only one album, named after himself. And he’s barely 20, meaning he’s younger than the baby on the cover of Nevermind. Before you dismiss him as another Bieber, try him out: he’s got Bob Dylan and Simon & Garfunkel and even some Johnny Cash and Hank Williams in his soul. Give the opening track, “Lightning Bolt,” a listen and just try not to tap along to the beat on your steering wheel.

The Hold Steady

If you wish Bruce Springsteen would move to Minneapolis and get drunk and high a lot more often, check out these guys. Lead singer and lyricist Craig Finn is a great storyteller with some killer lines, as in “Stuck Between Stations” from Boys and Girls in America:

She was a really cool kisser and she wasn’t all that strict of a Christian
She was a damn good dancer but she wasn’t all that great of a girlfriend 

And they did a song for the end credits of Game of Thrones – how much cooler can you get?

With that, Happy Father’s Day to all the men to whom it applies – and wear your Dad Rock (no “s”) shirt with pride this year!

See you on the flip side …

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2 Responses to “A Mom’s Guide to Dad Rock”

  1. Every Record Tells A Story June 12, 2013 at 2:35 am #

    As a dad myself I can identify with far too much of this post. Very amusing – nice one.

    • lpon45 June 12, 2013 at 8:59 pm #

      Thanks – and, if they celebrate this out your way, have a lovely Father’s Day this weekend!

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