Monday, September 9, 2013

Real House Music

You'd be surprised at how many songs have to do with houses. In one form or another, the
house plays an important role in songs and yet, somehow, what we call 'house' music has nothing to do with houses. So here we investigate real house music, under the auspices that all 'real house music' falls into certain categories:

1) Playing House: The first category that has to be discussed is the idea of Playing House. There are many songs about playing house. Cooking, re-painting, making a homestead, raising a family, having barbecues and a fireplace and a bedroom upstairs to conceive a couple of children. Of course, songs about playing house don't intend to actually describe any of these things as some kind of 'long-termn plans' but is more of a romantic and playful characterization in which the most important part of the 'house' is usually the bedroom. The truth is that 'playing house' isn't actually buying a house or getting a mortgage. That's just a metaphor. 'Playing House' is actually the courtship phase of the relationship. Elvis wasn't the first to sing about such things, but given what comes after several trips to the playhouse bedroom, he appropriately repeats the word 'baby' for a world record seventy-five  times (guesstimated) in the first thirty seconds of this playful song called "Let's Play House" .


2) Destroying House: Sometimes a certain coupling doesn't work out, and this leaves one or both of the parties involved feeling a little bitter about the situation and perhaps a little vengeful. And sometimes the house is the target of this vengeance. Yes, I know. Now you might think that I'm going to talk about Bloodhound Gang and the 'Roof is on Fire', or perhaps the Talking Heads and 'Burning down the House'. But the whole point of blogging about music is to get people to listen to something that they may not have heard before, and in order to get something that's a little more appropriate to the subject matter, let's try Ann Peebles' version of Tear Your Playhouse Down. (I am quite aware of the Paul Young version, but it isn't as good.) As an example of playing house that doesn't quite lead to the next phase of the relationship.


3) Having Children
When a relationship turns out and seems to be going well, a couple might start thinking about having children. And I often ponder the situation in this way: "Well, Even if you have, Even if you need. I don't mean to stare. We don't have to breed. We could plant a house. We could build a tree. I don't even care. We can have all three." And that's when my heart is warmed and I get that wonderful feeling about having children. Or maybe not. Perhaps Nirvana's Breed is more indicative of the decision-making process involved in whether or not two people are intending to continue partying and having fun as a couple or to have a child or two and finally 'settle down' as their parents might say.


4)Raising Children in the Suburbs
Most families choose to buy a suburban home, invest in a house with a garage, hopefully in the area of a high-quality school. If the couple is lucky, there will be some sort of community facilities like a pool or a park nearby. This is often what is considered to be the suburban dream and thought to be an ideal place to raise kids. However, the members of Rush, all suburban-raised kids themselves, would seem to disagree. In their song Subdivisions they suggest that the 'burbs, with mass-produced houses that look much the same as each other and usually having wide streets with no sidewalks is neither the true countryside of a farm-life with animals and wildlife, nor the true city life with culture, close neighbours and multiplicity of activity, leads children to feelings of boredom, alienation and isolation. Bored kids head downtown for excitement, but without experience or knowledge of what kind of trouble they can get into. At the same time, those of the children who successfully manage to get into the cliques of the 'cool kids' at school seem immune to such feelings of isolation, but are actually only contributing to the problem. So perhaps we should think twice before we all look towards the same suburban dream that some of our parents thought was best for us.

5) Drudgery and Senility
With or without children, and even with or without a personal property like a house, life can often seem like drudgery and continuous repetition. But with all those seemingly necessary accoutrements that come with a house: a wife/husband, kids, a car or two, a lawn, a garden, a backyard, a driveway, perhaps a dog or cat. All of this comes with many responsibilities. And sometimes those responsibilities can make a person feel like they are a little...um.. trapped.. like a prisoner... inside a life that demands much more of your time, effort and money than you anticipated, and yet just keeps going on and on without changing very much for the better over a long period of time. In this sort of situation a person can start to wonder about things like: "Why the hell am I constantly mowing this stupid lawn, when I know that it's just going to grow back tomorrow? I know there's no end to this job, and yet I just keep doing it!" And this, could be the reason why our minds are taken from us in our later years... biology takes away our sensibility for fear that we might feel that if we were too aware of ourselves and our surroundings, we might feel we've wasted our lives doing something that we don't really care about. If we were to realize this in our elderly years, we might get really angry and decide that we're going to take a few people with us when we go. Thankfully, we won't be able to remember who or why, and we'll be far too tired and weak to bother, so instead we'll go to the mall, buy a lemonade, then sit down in the food court and make sour faces at the younger generation that shops there. Eventually, however, we'll forget our way back home and perhaps that's a good thing.

There. So now you know everything about having a house and raising a family, all thanks to many of your favourite musicians.