Hello and welcome to this week’s hot take on the behaviors and preferences of Boomers, brought to you by the same writer who analyzed “Ok, Boomer” in her last Banter article! Writing about this demographic is apparently my thing now.
I hope everyone is staying safe and sane — I know how hard and frustrating isolation can feel sometimes. Today I am here to try to make it a little bit easier. If you’re on lockdown with a Boomer like me, or just want to entertain your grandparents for a little bit, I present to you an excellent playlist that will take your mind off the struggle for just a little bit.
1. Come Together – The Beatles
Ah yes, the one thing we can’t do. This song will be tough to listen to because it’ll keep on telling you to do something that’s been globally condemned as an unsafe activity. Because of this, it runs the risk of fueling your Boomer’s inner angst while also possibly depressing the both of you. Nonetheless, it’s a classic, and our boys absolutely killed this song — arguably better than Aerosmith when they copped it for their own single in 1978.
2. Kiss – Prince
Another thing no one can do right now because of #socialdistancing, but the Boomer won’t mind because this song’s sick 80s funk beat makes it a bop. After a full day of sitting and staring at the computer, “Kiss” will be the perfect catalyst to a much needed dance party.
3. Twist and Shout – The Beatles
Twisting and shouting — what the Beatles did, but also a very effective method of talking to your neighbors while outside and distanced from each other! Take your Boomer by the hand, go to your front yard and wave to some people, I promise it’ll make you feel better.
4. Ain’t No Sunshine – Bill Withers
In this classic banger, Bill Withers explores the proverbial darkness that all of us in self-isolation are metaphorically feeling. “Ain’t No Sunshine,” a song that perfectly encompasses R&B, soul and blues, has a steady ostinato-like interlude after the first chorus that hits differently when you’re alone with a Boomer in quarantine. Play this and go get some sun!
5. Too Late to Turn Back Now – Cornelius Brothers and Sister Rose
You might’ve heard this soft melodic R&B number in the movie “BlacKkKlansman,” but if you didn’t, your Boomer could have because it was released in 1972. This is a time you can’t comprehend, but a Boomer can because they were fully alive at this point. This song’s title shares the message of every government in the world — indeed, we can’t turn back from this virus now.
6. I Heard it Through the Grapevine – Marvin Gaye
Brought to you by the 20th century’s most promiscuous lyricist, Marvin Gaye sings an accurate representation of the general public’s method of proliferating information on COVID-19 — strong work Marvin! Seriously though you guys, don’t spread news you haven’t checked, rumors and gossip to just make things more chaotic. If your Boomer is wondering where to find a good and trustworthy grapevine for information, tell them to check out Madison’s local school newspaper, The Badger Herald!
7. Bring it On Home to Me – Sam Cooke
Right now, freshmen are telling University Housing to pack up their dorm belongings in a box and “Bring it On Home to Me,” because they can’t return to Madison and get it themselves. This lovely song, featured in “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” was dropped in the spring of 1962. Sam Cooke’s fantastic vocals along with this song’s jubilant piano work will make you and your Boomer happy to be home.
8. My Girl – The Temptations
There’s an 80% chance any Boomer in the vicinity will start jamming to any song done by this God-like vocal group, but “My Girl” is a different beast. This song is so popular that anyone who can’t sing suddenly has a voice because the chorus is so enjoyable. I promise, if you and your Boomer are having a tough day, this song will turn your frowns upside down.
9. Get Ready – The Temptations
This song is here purely out of my own interest. Besides having a great hook, this song boasts a killer instrumental factor with energetic percussion and a boisterous horn section that demands high volume at all times. This song has a nice and optimistic message of “getting ready.” In its context they’re talking about getting ready to go get a girl, but in our context we’re getting ready to leave our houses and hang out with people, so take it as you like.
10. For Once in My Life – Stevie Wonder
Oh, my favorite! Stevie Wonder dropped this dope arrangement in the summer of ‘67 and our Boomers were most likely in the college game by then, so it might bring up some good memories for them. In my opinion, this song’s post-chorus is its best feature because the tempo gets momentarily cut up, which can be a vibe check if you’ve been passively listening to it up until then. Besides that, there’s such a cute harmonica interlude between the first and second chorus that will make your day.
11. Silhouettes – The Rays
This beautifully blended and produced song is narrated by a guy who sees the silhouettes of his girl with another guy at her house behind a window shade. Unfortunately with everyone self-isolating, seeing silhouettes on the shade of windows is the only way we’ve been seeing people lately. This song came out when our Boomers were young, but that might make the experience even better, who knows?
12. (Today I Met) The Boy I’m Gonna Marry – Darlene Love
This song could potentially make your Boomer sad by making them think about the boy they were going to marry, so if they start telling you about him just listen. On the other hand, if they did end up marrying the boy they were going to marry, then you’re good and this song will not carry any emotional baggage. This song has such an Oldies feel to it, and that’s why it’s on this playlist. Your Boomer will hear this and feel right at home.
13. Feeling Good – Nina Simone
The queen of scatting herself, Nina Simone powers through this epic soul number with a scratchy timbre that will sound like heaven to your ears. This is a great song to start off your morning because if Nina is feeling good, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be feeling good too.
14. Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag – James Brown
James Brown brings an upbeat hook with a strong horn section in “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag.” I’m not sure what the meaning of this song is, but one thing’s for sure, Papa’s got a new bag, and honestly, that’s all we can hope for in these trying times — old bags have germs!
15. Trick Bag – The Meters
This lovely piece opens and closes with the grooviest piano riff you’ve ever heard and has a guitar motif weaving in and out of the chorus that’s also a blast to listen to. When this one comes on, take your Boomer by the hand and get and dance!
16. In My Room – The Beach Boys
This song’s great because for once The Beach Boys finally chill out for a few minutes. This steady R&B doo-wop gently reminds us of the fact we’re spending most of our time in our rooms now in quarantine. Almost every Boomer I know has an attachment to The Beach Boys, I think because it reminds them of their youth and the ocean, so there’s no doubt this will be a hit.
17. The Chain – Fleetwood Mac
This song will confuse the Boomer but also send them into a trance for a good few seconds as they stare into the distance, remembering the first time they heard a Fleetwood Mac song. Remember, Boomers made up the hippie population, so if one of them doesn’t recognize this band they’re hiding something.
18. It’s Your Thing – The Isley Brothers
This is a great encouraging song, brought to you by some funky guys in the late 60s who just want you to “do what you want to do.” Over this quarantine, I’m sure you’ve been getting advice to start new projects and make crafts to pass the time. Well, this song is the perfect motivator for you and your Boomer to find your “thing” and get the creativity flowing.
19. Angel – Aerosmith
An unbeatable procession of guitar chords open and close this song with a feeling you don’t get anywhere else. I don’t know how your Boomer feels about classic rock, but this song is so much more than that. This is the perfect time for you guys to work on your air guitar skills. If you have an actual guitar, even better, the song’s better when you play along with it.
20. Who’s Lovin’ You – Jackson 5
This song’s beautiful intro totally makes up for the melancholy and insecure vibe of its main message. This is a nice song to wrap up this list. As you and the Boomer are settling down for the night, you’ll love this chill ballad done by Michael Jackson. Rumor has it, Michael performed this song on helium, and that’s why his voice sounds so high. I don’t believe that, but a lot of other people do, it’s so weird.