Forgot a gift for Father’s Day? Here are 10 Dad Rock tracks he’s sure to love.
Over the past few years, rock writers have found a new favorite way to deride and instantly dismiss an artist, album or song in two words–Dad Rock. It sparks images of khaki shorts and crocs, the perfect way to label those digestible, non-offensive songs that are just perfect for long drives on family vacations. Frankly, I feel that this descriptor, while often accurate, is a little unfair. I mean, everyone has a dad and there’s a good chance that they’ve influenced your supposedly impeccable taste in music, so let’s take a break from the bitter name calling of desperate critics trying to remain cool and celebrate the nicer bits of the “genre.” Fret not readers, there won’t be any Dave Matthews or Steely Dan ahead, just a perfect playlist to play for your Pops over brunch.
Wilco – Can’t Stand It:
Wilco is more often then not THE example for Dad Rock, but is that fair?
Totally–just last year Jeff Tweedy put out an album he had recorded with his kid. That said, people often forget just how creative and cool the band can be. How can the guys responsible for Yankee Hotel Foxtrot be dismissed as boring or safe? “Can’t Stand It” is the perfect, feel good 90’s jam, and if you disagree, a vasectomy might be in order as fatherhood might not be a good fit for you.
Elvis Costello & The Attractions – Watch Your Step:
As much as I love Costello, I’m the first to admit that he has many, many songs that would fall under this category. As for which to choose, I feel that this would be a top contender, with imagery of a know it all dad reading the paper, family and the sassy tag of fatherly advice that makes up the title.
Yo La Tengo – From a Motel 6:
Yo La Tengo have had an incredibly long career, always staying just left of the spotlight while graciously accepting the numerous accolades of cult and critic favorites. They’re also one of the first bands I imagine when younger dad’s are needing to prove their cool, hip and current taste in music. For a band with a creative streak as wide as Yo La Tengo, they’ve almost always managed to turn their noisy, shoegazing take on pop into easy listening.
The Band – Up On Cripple Creek:
When they’re not using Yo La Tengo to prove that they listen to “new” stuff, most dad’s dip back to the golden years of music, when it was “real” and no nonsense, when lyrics were genuine and musicianship was still a thing. Of course, all their kids hear are a bunch of old guys with guitars stringing together thinly veiled innuendos rather than finding something to say. The magic of perception is that both sides are right – “Cripple Creek” is a swampy classic with a sweet groove and a sing along chorus and… yodeling.
Forgot a gift for Father’s Day? Here are 10 Dad Rock tracks he’s sure to love. :
Ween straddles that line between ultra familiar and oddly off-kilter, good enough to be taken seriously but silly enough to be considered the musical equivalent of a dad joke. “Voodoo Lady” is the whitest blues-funk sex groove possible, and if you were born after 1994, there’s a good chance that this was playing when you were conceived.
Pink Floyd – Comfortably Numb:
I don’t know if I’ve ever met a dad that didn’t like Pink Floyd. As we all know, “Comfortably Numb” is one of, if not THE stand out tracks on the slightly uneven, lightly bloated behemoth that is The Wall. I dare you to go see the new Roger Waters extravaganza that’s hitting theaters in September and count the number of swaying fathers lifting their smartphone Zippo apps when the solo kicks in.
The National – Slow Show:
For all the sad white men that traded their pipe dreams for picket fences and business suits–rejoice! The National make a special type of post-punk americana hybrid that will show everyone just how seriously you take yourself. This is the kind of music that, when coupled with an overpriced bottle of single malt scotch and a leather love seat will trigger mid life crises from coast to coast. In all seriousness, Boxer is actually a tight and engaging record that’s well worth a listen late on some crowded lonely night.
The Replacements – Androgynous:
Oh how the mighty have fallen–The Replacements, who were once known as wild, raucous rockers are now almost universally celebrated and drunken barroom balladeers, and I can’t count the number of times dad’s have opened up to me about the heart-wrenching realism of tracks like “Here Comes A Regular.” Next time your dad bugs you about your skinny jeans (guys) or short hair (gals), turn it back around on him with “Androgynous.”
Ben Folds Five – Army:
Does it get any daddier than Ben Folds? Perfectly crafted, over intelligent piano pop with just a bit of sarcasm and fuzz bass, “Army” is the all too relatable tale of a mans misguided journey through life that is sure to resonate with almost all the dads out there.
Led Zeppelin – D’yer Mak’er:
No list of dad rock would be complete without some Zeppelin, the ultimate rock gods of yesteryear. It’s a great track that I’m about to ruin for you–I can near guarantee that, at some point after two too many beers, your father employed “D’yer Mak’er” and a fresh pair of tighty whities in a feeble attempt to seduce your mother, who hopefully shook her head in shame before playing along.