I've been doing a new listening exercise in class. I do this each session with a song. I find a song where the words are reasonably clear when sung. Then I type up the lyrics and blank out certain words for the students to try to catch. I have to record the song onto a cassette which I play/pause/play/pause in class. This is one of the bigger hits in my exercise repertoire, I guess since everybody loves music. I also try to choose songs that are well-known. The last two sessions I did Hotel California (original version) and Cry Me a River (Diana Krall version). This session, I chose What a Fool Believes (Carol Welsman version). I didn't use the original Doobie Brothers' version because, honestly, it's too hard to catch the words with their falsetto shrieking. I had heard a new cover of the song on jazz radio and the words were very clear so I decided to use that version. I looked up the song on Itunes, where over 20 versions exist. I found and purchased it, recorded it onto cassette, typed up the lyrics and brought it to work. It's been a total flop.
Apparently, this was never a hit up here. Only a couple of students have had a vague sense of familiarity with the song. I checked with a musician friend who plays weddings around town and she told me she had also learned this. It seems that when they'd play the tune at weddings, everyone would sit down. People like to dance to tunes they know. Anyway.
Yesterday, I did the exercise with my class of twenty-somethings. Something struck them as very funny as I started the song. They worked themselves into a fit of laughter (trying so hard to stifle it, unsuccessfully) all of them with tears streaming down their face and having trouble catching their breath. I wanted to laugh along too and even did a little (contagious as laughter is) as I kept trying to get them to tell me what was so damn funny.
Do you know why they were laughing? Because, according to them, this is "old man music." It made me have pouty lips. And then I admonished them, "It's not nice to mock others' musical taste." They still couldn't stop laughing.