It’s pretty common practice for kids, teenagers and young adults to ask their elders questions about the time period they lived in.
And it’s a smart idea. If you want to know about history, get it straight from the people who lived it. After all, they won’t be around forever.
Each generation has its own distinct cultural identity. It’s one thing to read about it in books, view pictures on the Internet or to see it in movies, but nothing beats a simple conversation between you and somebody else who was part of the generation that you want to learn more about.
Many times those conversations revolve around music. Just look at how much music has changed, even from the ’90s until now. It’s so drastic that it makes the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s seem like bygone eras.
But we forget that some of the bands often considered the greatest of all time hail from that era.
There’s few people who haven’t asked their parents or grandparents what it was like to be young when the Beatles were in their heyday. Or Bob Dylan. Or the Rolling Stones.
Those are names that transcend music. They’re icons.
And it makes you wonder — what musical icons will we be telling our grandchildren about? Or in my case, what musician will I be mumbling about to anyone who will listen when I’m old and homeless on a New York City sidewalk?
Well, one definitive answer occurred to me when I I was watching NBC last night. And no, I’m not talking about The Voice. At least, I hope that Adam Levine and Gwen Stefani won’t be the Frank Sinatra and Janis Joplin of our time.
I’m talking about what aired after The Voice — Adele, live in New York City.
Jimmy Fallon introduced the 27-year-old at Radio City Music Hall as a “once in a generation artist.” He’s right.
Even if you’re not a fan of the soul, bluesy genre that Adele’s music fits into, there’s really no denying that she has a voice that is unmatched by any other artist of today. To borrow a cliche, it truly is show-stopping.
But what’s most amazing is how effortlessly she sings. We know she has the pipes, but she doesn’t even seem to reach down for something extra to hit her highest notes. It’s commonplace for her.
Adele hitting an impossibly high note is as ordinary as Meghan Trainor singing as if she just swallowed a particularly robust bullfrog.
She sings about heartbreak. She sounds about regret. About love. And about being young. In a way, she’s documenting what it’s like to feel and be alive right now, in 2015.
Watching her on Monday night confirmed to me that she is beyond a singer, but a figure. Every song warranted a lengthy standing ovation.
Even her name sounds like the stuff legends are made of. Adele.
If you still don’t listen to her, you might as well jump on the bandwagon now. Because she’ll likely be the subject of the second conversation you’ll have with your grandkids about living in the 2010s.
Right after: “What was it like to read The Weinblog?”