The synchronized flowers paired together in the spiral vase at the center of the living room table begin to slightly wilt and shed their delicate petals. Half empty wine bottles that had previously been christened and celebrated now stand dormant awaiting the next momentous event. The elaborately clever and touching cards that stand up in rows are moved off the counter to face the darkness of a large box of other various mementos and treasured memories. It’s the Monday morning after Mother’s Day and for the time being, it’s back to business as usual for mothers all over the globe after a full, divine day of appreciation, relaxation, and all around merriment. It’s back to the usual routine for you as well, and while you feel that everything for Mother’s Day went well enough, you can’t help but think of Father’s Day — rapidly approaching.
Now for those who have an ideal relationship with their dad, you might be wondering why someone would fixate and stress out so much over such a thing as Father’s Day. Well, maybe you feel that you and your dad have always been at odds. Maybe you and your dad were once close, but the relationship has been somewhat strained from pursuing your dreams on another coast or another part of the world. Maybe you promised yourself that Mother’s Day was the last holiday that you were going to half-ass appreciating your caring and supportive parents and that you will change your ways starting on Father’s Day. There is never just one explanation for a situation this complex. Luckily, when life gets complicated, strenuous, and strange, music tends to have a certain way of simplifying and sorting out even the most complex of situations. By using my guidelines and songs listed below as a rubric for you and your father, you too can turn over a new leaf and have that ideal bond with your dad that you’ve been waiting for!
1. Booker T & The MG’s- Green Onions
You’d figure that a song that roughly follows the same keyboard, guitar, bass, and drum patterns over and over again with a little bit of lead guitar noodling would wear itself out quickly. Think again. Green Onions is a bona fide classic jam not only for its laid back, California Summer type of sound, but because Booker T & his MG’s succeeded in making damn well sure that this song’s smooth as butter melodies would seep into your brain and make themselves at home for a while, all without the aid of any kind of lyrics, If your dad is more of the mild mannered, laid back, soft spoken type who cherishes the solitude that comes from relaxation, then this is his song.
Try hitting up the local pool hall and play Green Onions on their jukebox as you play a couple rounds while sipping on a local micro brewed beer. Or put this song on in the car as you both head over to the local green to play a round of golf. It’s a sharp yet mellow song that will break even the awkwardest of silences and tensions. Even after Green Onions is long over, you and your dad will find yourself humming and whistling its chords and laugh for a good minute or so as you both keep complimenting each others’ melodies back and forth.
Then you can tell him that this classic song and The Champ’s Tequila are in this fantastic movie called The Sandlot, which is about all these young kids playing baseball in this empty lot and all their wild, wacky adventures. Fast forward to the evening and you both are unwinding in the comfort of your parent’s house watching The Sandlot after a feast of a homemade meal.
2. Isley Brothers- Shout
Now you might know these guys for their signature blend of funk and soul that’s rich with grooving bass lines, dreamy yet electrifying guitar notes, and soothing yet passionately driven vocals. The Isley Brothers made sensual, heartfelt baby making music that would make Barry White look like a prude. However, in their prime, The Isley Brothers got their start playing good ol’ fashioned rock n’ roll in the late 50’s with a twist of gospel, blues, and doo-wop thrown into the mix. Shout was the song that helped to catapult them into the limelight, and rightfully so. With Shout‘s straight forward rock manner, combined with all the aforementioned styles and a vocalist who sings with such powerful conviction, your head and hips will start moving before you mind even registers that they are in fact moving on their own accord. If your dad is the type of guy who is rambunctious, outgoing, the life of the party, and who’s the type of person who is down to play beer pong with you and your friends, Shout is going to be his jam.
It’s the type of song that is perfect for putting on the jukebox at a local bar while you both throw back a few drinks (which would result in calling a taxi of course), or for putting on the home stereo system while you both are playing some kind of intense drinking or non-drinking games. You’ll both find out that no matter what place you both are getting rowdy and catching up at or no matter what it is that you are both doing, you’ll stop whatever you’re in the middle of just to howl out the words to Shout and start dancing and grooving around without a care in the world. You both will even go into the part of Shout where you will shrink down to the ground as the song gets “a little bit softer now,” then rise up with impressive force as it becomes “a little bit louder now”. Sure, the rest of your family or random strangers will glare at you and wonder what in God’s name are you doing and what kind of drugs are you both on, but you won’t have a care in the world because you’re spending some quality time with your dad.
After calming down a bit from all the excitement, your dad will gush about how there’s a killer version of Shout done by Otis Day and The Knights in the movie Animal House to which you will either have no idea what he is talking about or already know that it is the greatest college movie of all time. Then you will get giddy and tell him that this song is also in the movie Wedding Crashers, to which he will either have no clue what you are talking about or already know that it is one of the best recent comedies.
After a fun and adventurous night, you’ll find yourselves recovering in the living room of your parent’s house the next day involved in an all afternoon marathon of Animal House and Wedding Crashers.
3. Foo Fighters- Rope
You’ve really got to give some credit to Dave Grohl, lead singer and guitarist of The Foo Fighters and former drummer of Nirvana, for being able to overcome any obstacle that stands in his way. He has had to face the death of one of his best friends (iconic Nirvana vocalist and guitarist Kurt Cobain), not to mention all the deplorable slander from Cobain’s wife, Courtney Love (guitarist and vocalist of the band Hole), as well as the intense pressure of creating The Foo Fighters from the ashes of Nirvana and all the unnerving expectations and criticism that comes with that. In addition, he made the switch from being a drummer to a lead guitarist/vocalist, a move that is practically unheard of.
Yet, despite all of this, The Foo Fighters have not only risen to become one of the most successful alternative/hard rock bands of all time, but are of a select minority of mainstream bands that have stayed true to themselves, their sound, and their fans without compromising their integrity or losing that emotionally charged, authentic sincerity that made them so damn good in the first place.
With Rope, one of the latest singles from the fighters of foo off their latest album Wasting Light released late last year, it’s comforting to know that after being a band for almost twenty years, they are still fully capable of writing intriguing rock songs that have an edge to them, yet keep in check that soulful melody that tugs right at your heart strings. If your dad is the kind of guy who likes to be spontaneous without following a rigid routine and who has a certain level of intensity and passion, yet is able to balance it with a lighthearted demeanor, Rope will help your dad gear up for the adventure that lays ahead.
Try suggesting a local hiking trail to explore or a nearby beach or something of that nature. While driving to whichever destination, the conversation will probably be a bit sparse with long, drawn out pauses. This is your chance to cut the tension in half by turning on the local alternative rock radio station and let it play for a couple songs. Most likely, the couple of songs that will be playing will come across as mediocre to your dad as he gives you a look or comments on how during his college days, they didn’t have crap like this, that rock n’ roll was alive and thrilling. This is your cue to link up your MP3 or CD to the stereo system and play Rope and let him know that he is mistaken; rock isn’t dead, it’s still kicking. In turn, your dad will glance at you wide eyed with a pleasantly surprised stare as Rope‘s frantic melody shatters his assumption. While you both hang out at Ocean Beach in San Francisco or walk up the rigorous trail on Mt. Diablo in the East Bay, you’ll feed his curiosity and fill him in on other classic Foo Fighters songs like the haunting beauty of Everlong and the charming fun that Learn to Fly has to offer, all while filling him in on other talented bands you’re into and what’s new in your life. By the time his or your birthday hits, you’ll both be front row at Oracle Arena rocking out, watching Dave Grohl running around like a madman all over the stage with a giant grin on his face.
While a month might seem like a relatively long time away from now, time seems to have the tendency to pass everyone by when they least expect it, and with all our crazy schedules, it’s very easy to lose track of time. You also never know what time has up its sleeve next either. So maybe now is the right time to figure out just what song compliments you and your dad and discover what activity can best rekindle that unique bond between a father and his son or daughter. Your dad will treasure your appreciation for a lifetime.