Your life's soundtrack isn't up to others

Your life's soundtrack isn't up to others

My sister just got back from Los Angeles, where she and my niece had flown to experience Harry Styles in concert.

My brother just paid $1,400 for two tickets to see Taylor Swift.

Now I love my siblings — always have, always will — but I have to ask myself, “What kind of world are they living in (because it’s not a place I recognize)? I mean, seriously, what the hell is going on?”

Bruce Springsteen tickets are going for two grand a pop, and that’s for the cheap seats. Elton John commands similar prices, and if you want to see the Rolling Stones — or what’s left of them — same deal.

I just don’t understand.

When I saw the Stones, my ticket cost 10 bucks, and that seemed high, but it was for one of those all-day music festivals, so I got to see Joe Vitale’s Madmen, Tower of Power and the J. Geils Band.

I know it was a long time ago and I understand I’m often guilty of living in the past, but the way things are today stinks.

What could make a concert experience worth a cross-country flight? Whose show is worth $700 a seat? What am I missing here?

Truthfully, though, I gave up on modern music before most of today’s high-dollar acts were even born. With rare exceptions, any band formed after U2, REM or the Black Crowes fails to excite me.

When someone like Tom Verlaine dies, though, I feel bad. Television was one of my favorites, and no one remembers them.

But they meant a lot to me, if only because when I was young, they spoke to me, not in the way the Beatles did, but in a post-disco cleansing manner, a sonic antidote for what ailed the airwaves.

And that’s where the problem lies. Today’s music doesn’t talk to me. Then again, it’s not supposed to. Folks like me are forgotten.

Occasionally, though, something new manages to break through.

Take, for example, “Wednesday,” the Netflix series that shook me out of my annual January blues and made me feel alive again, which is rather ironic, given the title character’s affinity for gloom.

I won’t spoil any of the surprises that await the first-time viewer, except to press down on one of the most memorable musical interludes this side of the opening scene in “The Big Chill.”

In it, you may recall, a group of college friends comes together for the funeral of one of their number, a guy who has committed suicide. It’s a somber setting, a church in the Lowlands of South Carolina, and you can sense the sadness pervading the gathering.

All of a sudden, the silence is broken by an organist playing the first plaintive notes of “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” and the looks and smiles that are shared among the friends establish a bond that can never, ever be broken. It is just perfect.

Similarly, there is an interlude in one of the early episodes of “Wednesday” — the title character who we got to know in “The Addams Family” series in the mid-'60s — and it’s just as good.

She’s playing the cello, sawing off slices of dissonance and despair, with Thing (who almost steals every scene) turning the pages of her sheet music, and then, like a forgotten melody reborn, the familiar notes begin to coalesce and, all of sudden, I sat up.

“Hey,” I said to the empty room, the incense burning and the Christmas lights still glowing, “I know that song! I know it!”

Maybe you had to have grown up listening to the AM radio.

Maybe your brain had to be hard-wired into a certain wavelength.

Maybe you had to be a Rolling Stones freak.

However it happened, “Paint It, Black” emerged like a full moon from behind a winter’s night cloud, and in spite of the nastiness of another endless cruel January, you simply couldn’t help yourself.

You smiled.

“Wednesday” plays along that way throughout its eight episodes, dropping in “Nothing Else Matters,” one of Metallica’s most memorable songs, and Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop,” bringing her cello front and center, creating a soundtrack that satisfies.

Jenna Ortega is justifiably being hailed for her breakthrough performance, and the cinematography is beyond brilliant, so “Wednesday” — at least for one older guy — was a minor miracle.

It helped me realize I don’t need Harry Styles or Taylor Swift, not that there’s anything wrong with enjoying their kind of music.

We live in a free country, last time I checked, and if spending hundreds of dollars on a single concert makes you happy, do it.

I was trying to remember the farthest distance I ever traveled to see a band, and it came down to two: either South Bend to Kalamazoo, Michigan to see David Bowie or to Chicago for the Patti Smith Group.

Makes me feel like I’ve been missing out on a big part of life.

Then again, maybe there’s something to be said for staying home.

Mike Dewey can be reached at or 6211 Cardinal Drive, New Bern, NC 28560. He invites you to join the fun on his Facebook page, where his travel plans are up in the air.

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