You Are Not Alone

What is with Mondays in 2016?  First David Bowie, and now Glenn Frey.  As long as I can remember, The Eagles were a part of my life.  Whether it was Glenn Frey, Don Henley, or Randy Meisner singing, I always knew it would be great.  I waited those long fourteen years until the band reunited in 1994.  I was finally able to see them live in 1995.  During the years between 1980 and 1994, Glenn Frey came out with a lot of excellent music.  Easily in my top 25 of all time is “Part of Me, Part of You”.

When The Eagles did finally reunite in 1994, it was a long thirteen years until they recorded an all-new studio album.  The wait was worth it as the whole album sounded like another Eagles Greatest Hits.  Glenn Frey sang a short song on the album called “You Are Not Alone”.  I always imagined it was about someone dying.  I listened to it before I started typing this article and I found myself grieving for one of the most distinct voices of all time.

This is way too soon after David Bowie, but I believe God has plans that are beyond our comprehension.  When I hear songs like this, I am reminded of our own mortality and how short our time on this world truly is.  When we lose someone close to us, it is very different then when a celebrity passes away.  To be honest, I really haven’t thought about my own mortality in a long time.  Too busy for that!  I would like to leave this world leaving some type of mark, if it for one person or more, it doesn’t matter to me.  I believe we all add a string to the tapestry of life.  The difference we make to another could be something so small but it can change everything for that person.  I’ve had many nights where Glenn Frey’s soothing voice, along with Don Henley, took me to those glory days of youth when we take so much for granted.

The Eagles will never be The Eagles again without Glenn Frey.  We have lost one of the best today folks.  If you are young and thought The Eagles were just a football team from Philadelphia, you really should give them a listen.  Add them to your playlist and remember a time when your parents or grandparents would sing these songs everyday.  Don’t think of us as old, but lucky!

Under Pressure

Like most of the world, I was shocked to wake up to the sad news that David Bowie passed away yesterday from cancer.  I was unaware he was even ill.  My journey with David Bowie began a decade after his classic hits.

Queen released their greatest hits album in the fall of 1981.  I had never heard of David Bowie before, but when he did “Under Pressure” with Queen it was a voice I would never forget.  That song is probably one of a very few that has never left my playlist.  It is a song I can never get sick of, no matter what.

Bowie’s huge hit, “Let’s Dance”, is another one of those songs from a year that holds a special place for me in music.  1983.  Together with “China Girl” and “Modern Love”, 1983 was a huge year for Bowie.  I will fully admit, some of his later material in the 1980’s didn’t do it for me.  But watching Bowie and Mick Jagger’s video for “Dancing In The Streets”, which debuted at Live Aid in 1985, was a definite highlight.

It wasn’t until 1987 that I finally caught up with Bowie’s older material from the 1970’s.  I remember hanging out on the “front lawn” at my high school with some friends and someone had a radio.  “Young Americans” came on.  Embarrassingly, I asked someone who sang this new song.  They explained to me how Bowie’s classic stuff was much better than his 80’s material.  A couple months into the summer, I looked for a David Bowie greatest hits album but I couldn’t find anything.  I stopped looking after awhile.  But in 1990, “Changesbowie” was released, and I never looked back.

I went into Bowie mode in a big way back in 2009.  The TV show “Life On Mars” recaptured my love for all things 70’s Bowie.

For me, the height of David Bowie was his music released between 1969 to 1983.  With the announcement of his death, I find myself wanting to take another listen to his material after that.  A friend of mine posted his last video, for the song “Lazarus”, from his last album called “Blackstar”.  It was released two days ago.  The video is very powerful given what we now know Bowie was going through the past year and a half.

Bowie was part of the “glam rock” era of rock.  When you are a pioneer in these types of eras, it is very hard for anyone to live up to that pinnacle.  Bowie represents that side of music where anyone can be different and still be a success as long as you put your heart in it.  He opened the door for so many that followed.  Whether he was playing the very odd FBI agent named Phillip in a Twin Peaks movie, or talking about Ground Control to Major Tom, we were mesmerized by Bowie, even now.  But I will never forget where it all began for me:

‘Cause love’s such an old-fashioned word
And love dares you to care for
The people on the edge of the night
And love dares you to change our way of
Caring about ourselves
This is our last dance
This is our last dance
This is ourselves
Under pressure
Under pressure
Pressure

RIP David Bowie…

 

Kids Don’t Need Rigor & Grit These Days…They Need ’80s Music!

We hear it all the time: “In order for kids to be college and career ready, they need to use rigor and grit.”  No they don’t.  They need the fighting anthems of the 1980s.  The music nowadays just doesn’t carry that “stir your soul” kind of feeling like we got way back when.  Take this for example:

Just once in his life a man has his time
And my time is now, and I’m coming alive

I can hear the music playin’, I can see the banners fly
Feel like you’re back again, and hope ridin’ high
Gonna be your man in motion, all I need is a pair of wheels
Take me where the future’s lyin’, St. Elmo’s fire

I can see a new horizon underneath the blazin’ sky
I’ll be where the eagle’s flying higher and higher
Gonna be your man in motion, all I need is a pair of wheels
Take me where the future’s lyin’, St. Elmo’s fire

The title track by John Parr from the 1985 movie, St. Elmo’s Fire, is all about the spirit kids needed thirty years ago.  There is all this talk about “growth”, but the people saying that fail to realize these kids are growing up all by themselves.  True growth comes from within.  Not from a standardized test.  Even Dexy’s Midnight Runners knew this, with their one-hot wonder Come On Eileen:

These people round here
Wear beaten down eyes sunk in smoke dried faces;
So resigned to what their fate is
But not us, no never, no not us, no never
We are far too young and clever

Now people don’t smoke like they did back in 1983, but we see a lot of beat down eyes sunk in faces.  I usually see them at the Delaware State Board of Education meetings.  Some of the music back then can actually flip on itself, and apply to the people sitting at that table down in the Townsend Building in Dover:

What you gonna do when things go wrong?
What you gonna do when it all cracks up?
What you gonna do when the love burns down?
What you gonna do when the flames go up?

Who is gonna come and turn the tide?
What’s it gonna take to make a dream survive?
Who’s got the touch to calm the storm inside?
Don’t say goodbye, don’t say goodbye
In the final seconds who’s gonna save you?

Alive and Kicking

Simple Minds indeed!  Whereas students are Alive and Kicking, just like the kids were in 1985, our State Board needs to wake up!  Kids have way too much pressure nowadays.  So did Queen and David Bowie back in 1982, but they found a way to turn into one of the best songs ever written!

Insanity laughs under pressure we’re breaking
Can’t we give ourselves one more chance
Why can’t we give love that one more chance
Why can’t we give love give love give love give love
Give love give love give love give love give love
‘Cause love’s such an old fashioned word
And love dares you to care for
The people on the (People on streets) edge of the night
And love (People on streets) dares you to change our way of
Caring about ourselves
This is our last dance
This is our last dance
This is ourselves
Under pressure
Under pressure
Pressure

The pressure kids are under these days between just growing up, and starting in Kindergarten, this need to constantly improve under the lens of proficiency is sheer madness!  Kids need Dreams:

So baby, dry your eyes, save all the tears you’ve cried
Oh, that’s what dreams are made of
Oh baby, we belong in a world that must be strong
Oh, that’s what dreams are made of

And in the end on dreams we will depend
‘Cause that’s what love is made

How is today’s youth going to be able to burst into this Common Core world and be able to strategically think on their own if they are programmed to think the same as everyone else?  They need to aspire to their own dreams.  Not the ones designed to make education reformers filthy rich.  I can picture Jack Markell and Paul Herdman playing this next song when they were planning their 20 year vision ten years ago:

You can tell I’m educated, I studied at the Sorbonne
Doctored in mathematics, I could have been a don
I can program a computer, choose the perfect time
If you’ve got the inclination, I have got the crime

Oh, there’s a lot of opportunities
If you know when to take them, you know?
There’s a lot of opportunities
If there aren’t, you can make them
Make or break them

Yeah, you’re definitely trying to break them.  Especially with your latest Annual Measurable Objectives that are NEVER going to be met.  Kids need real heroes nowadays.  They need someone like Martin Luther King to rise them out of the high-stakes testing stupor as U2 glorified him like no other back in 1984:

One man come in the name of love
One man come and go
One man come he to justify
One man to overthrow

In the name of love
What more in the name of love
In the name of love
What more in the name of love

But instead, Moms and Dads coming home from work dread going over the latest batch of Common Core math homework.  I think the Police predicted the future with Synchronicity II:

Daddy grips the wheel and stares alone into the distance
He knows that something somewhere has to break
He sees the family home now, looming in his headlights
The pain upstairs that makes his eyeballs ache
Many miles away there’s a shadow on the door
Of a cottage on the shore
Of a dark Scottish lake

Even more frightening is the fear kids must have when they think about actually taking the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  It is pounded into them from day one, and it has to be a lot like the things that scared us when we were kids.  They probably have nightmares and start to plan how they can get out of it.  Maybe a fever?  Are they feeling Hot Hot Hot?  The Cure thought so:

Hey, hey, hey
Yes, I’m jumping like a jumping jack
I’m dancing, screaming, itching, squealing
Fevered, feeling, hot, hot, hot

Children and teenagers instinctively know when something isn’t right.  They need to question things, just as parents need to as well.  Even the German band Alphaville called it thirty years before the Smarter Balanced Assessment:

Can you imagine when this race is won?
Turn our golden faces into the sun,
Praising our leaders, we’re getting in tune
The music’s played by the, the madman.

Forever young,
I want to be forever young.
Do you really want to live forever?
Forever, and ever

The generation that belongs to this toxic testing in education is in severe psychological danger.  Longer hours at school, being taught to a test that is absolutely horrible, and parents feeling intimidated by schools.  They want to do the right thing, but some are too frightened of the consequences for their kids.  The cold hard reality is this: there are no consequences for their children except the imaginary ones the Delaware DOE and Governor Markell want to impose on them.  But no song exemplifies the glory of the ’80s more than the original Vision song: Journey’s Only The Young!

They’re seein’ through the promises
And all the lies they dare to tell
Is it heaven or hell?
They know very well

Only the young can say
They’re free to fly away
Sharing the same desire
Burnin’ like wildfire

The only way to help the children of today be unique and individual is to say NO!  Parents need to rise.  The most frightening part is that many of the people making the decisions nowadays are the same ones who used to be unique individuals thirty years ago.  Now, they are just common.  The same.  Don’t let your child be the same.  Opt your child out today.  Let your young children play and love them with everything you are.  Help them learn at their own pace and not within the confines of proficiency models and growth methodology.  Don’t let their youth drift by at the hands of these education monsters.

Read more: John Parr – St. Elmo’s Fire (man In Motion) Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Read more: Dexys Midnight Runners – Come On Eileen Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Read more: Simple Minds – Alive And Kicking Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Read more: Queen – Under Pressure Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Read more: Van Halen – Dreams Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Read more: Pet Shop Boys – Opportunities (let’s Make Lots Of Money) Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Read more: U2 – Pride (in The Name Of Love) Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Read more: The Police – Synchronicity Ii Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Read more: The Cure – Hot Hot Hot Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Read more: Alphaville – Forever Young Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Read more: Journey – Only The Young Lyrics | MetroLyrics