Monday, June 3, 2013

Which Song Is The Voice Of This Generation's Memories?

Today was the year-end assembly for our 9th-graders.  This is always a point of mixed emotions for them: they're happy to go; they're scared to move on.  It's one of those few moments where you can see in their eyes the knowledge that we old folks understand, that we've been there, too.

When I was in high school, the year-end assembly was an actual slide show.  You know; the kind with SLIDES on a projector and music played from a cassette over the auditorium sound system.  And the song of our generation's pain at losing the past was this:

"Bookends" by Simon and Garfunkel
The words are so very poignant:
Time it was/ And what a time it was, it was./  A time of innocence. / A time of confidences./ Long ago, it must be./ I have a photograph./ Preserve your memories; they're all that's left you.


Then I started teaching school, and technology improved!  We actually had THREE SLIDE PROJECTORS timed with a CD to show the blurry photographs.
And the song for years and years?  This one:

"Good Riddance" by Green Day.
The words are still pretty poignant when applied to ending a huge chunk of one's life.  (Yes, 3 years of junior high constitutes a "huge chunk" when one is only 15.  That's a fifth of a life for them.)
"It's something unpredictable, but in the end it's right./ I hope you had the time of your life."

By now, of course, the slide projectors are things of the past.  Some of my students have never seen one before.  The photos we saw today were all jpeg files (many of them taken by me on Shakespeare night, actually) set to various MP3 downloads and put into sequence with a video program, shown with a computerized projector onto the big screen.  Many of the songs chosen seemed to have nothing to do with what was being shown, but the one that made the kids sit up, the one that resonated with them emotionally, was this one:

"Some Nights" by fun.
It's a song about confusion rather than about memories.  Odd, that.  But the harmonies are exquisite and powerful, so perhaps that is why it was the song that made them grab each other's hands and stop joking for just a few minutes to take in the seriousness of the step they're taking in life right now.

And I, long past making similar steps, left the auditorium humming this one as well.

1 comment:

  1. Chris commented by tweet:

    C. A.
    @lisamshafer Oh dear, that Green Day song. It reminds me of the 90s. Even if it wasn't. Needless to say, I got sick of it. EVERY YEAR