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Apple's Dad Rock Playlist has stared into my soul and seen the inner void staring back.

July 1, 2021 - 11:30 -- Admin


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It’s a little unsettling how well Apple’s Dad Rock playlist seems to know me, a hopelessly unreformed Dad Rock Dad. I didn’t even know Dad Rock was a thing beyond the hurtful snark of young kids on the internet these days, but apparently it’s a legit genre.

And it knows me. Doesn’t matter how many super obscure Norwegian indie grrrl albums I stream, or how many painfully recondite electronic remixes of those super obscure Norwegian indie grrrl albums I play as background audio to my longer writing sessions… Dad Rock knows me.

I was in need of some noisey tunes while I worked on my Dad Rock Dadbod by wrestling the vacuum cleaner around the house the other day. (Yes, with a lungful of flat beer. See the previous entry). So I hit up Apple Music.

Don’t @ me Spotify losers. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

I was gonna default to my weightlifting playlist when…

Suddenly…

Tim Cook leaned over to whisper in his soft southern lilt, “Hi. It’s Tim. John I want you to look at this Dad Rock playlist. It was crafted by machine learning and the super intelligent monkey DJs in our underground eugenics programme, and all just for you.”

Tim did not lie. Tim never lies.

Although his write up of the list shades quickly from sardonic to a little threatening at the end…

Dad rock can be classic, it can be new; mainstream and indie… something mellow and easygoing, but with depth; something that sacrifices obvious cool for self-assurance and reflection-a sound for when the riot of youth gives in to that sweet long haul. Maybe you already know. And if you don't, trust us: It'll make sense when you're older.

Ouch, thanks Tim.

But he’s not wrong, you know. I plated up this half-day-long feast of musical T-Bones with some skepticism. It won me over with the very first track. Mr Jones by Counting Crows. Not because I’m a big fan of Counting Crows, or their 1993 Alt Rock breakout.

But I am a fan of trolling from a vast ironic distance and I can’t think of many other songs that would achieve this effect so perfectly as the opener to a Dad Rock playlist.

There is nothing more Dad Rock than an early 90s Alt Rock top ten hit about a couple of ageing rock gods wishing they were just a little more godlike, especially when Counting Crow’s GenX lead vocalist and principal songwriter, Adam Duritz, piled up a towering berm of later life regrets about actually getting that wish. In live shows he often changed the lyrics

“We all wanna be big, big stars, but we got different reasons for that”

to

“We all wanna be big, big stars, but then we get second thoughts about that”

and swapped out

“when everybody loves you, sometimes that’s just about as funky as you can be”

for

“when everybody loves you, sometimes that’s just about as fucked up as you can be.”

Yeah. Nothing says genuine Dad moment like regrets and a crunchy guitar.

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Especially not when the next track is a big rhetorical fuck you to all that. Tom Petty’s I Won’t Back Down.

No Tom you won’t, or you wouldn’t if you were still alive. But don’t worry Tom, a legion of Dad Rock Dads are here to lift a collective middle finger to The Man in memory of your very commercial rebellious riffs.

And so it goes on, track after track, Tim Cook gently mocking and enticing me further into Dad Rock temptation.

You got Everclear, escalating quickly from the jaded midlife wish fulfilment of Santa Monica’s opening statement:

With my big black boots and an old suitcase

I do believe I’ll find myself a new place

… to Cold Chisel’s pub rock banger Khe Sanh, which every single Dad Rock Dad has memorised as his very own generational anthem, even though we all missed Khe Sanh by a whole generation, and if we’re being really honest there were no Australians there anyway.

Hardly matters, but. Dad Rock is not known for its fidelity to hard truths, but rather for a feeling of vaguely appropriate truthiness, which you get in spades with Smashmouth’s All Star. What Dad Rock Dad has not muscled his way into another tedious and soul-destroying workday with an in-car sing-along pep talk to “get your game on, go play” because you are a goddamn rock star, Dad.

Now get the show on, get paid.

Tim’s nailed it with this list, my Daddily Rockin’ friends. From the perma-adolescent wet dream of J. Geil’s Band’s Centrefold to the delayed mushroom flashback of Jimi Hendrix’s All Along the Watchtower.

I’m sorry, super obscure Norwegian indie grrrl bands. I am ashamed of how well this playlist knows me.