Let’s get one thing straight:
As a category? Dad Rock does not exist.
I get the concept.
We dads are all a bunch of out-of-touch dinosaurs that listen to old, dated rock music.
Fine, but to just lump it all under one umbrella is ignorant. It’s like saying that because they are both prehistoric, Diplodocus and Giganotosaurus are from the same time period, and have the same taste in food. When that is clearly not the case.
(Watched our fair share of Dinosaur Train, now did we? Indeed, we did.)
Yes, we’re older than our kids and that somehow makes us all ancient. But the fact remains that we come from different eras and have a variety of musical tastes. We don’t have a collective affinity for certain kinds of rock, just because we all happen to be dads.
Can we at least acknowledge that?
Whenever I see Dad Rock compilations or lists, I roll my eyes, because it’s just a bunch of old rock songs from different eras and subgenres that dads may or may not like, depending on the dad.
Do all dads like Steely Dan?
Do all dads like Nickelback?
Do all dads like… okay you get my point. (For the record, I love Steely Dan and do not like Nickelback, but that’s not important right now.)
Bottom line: there is no consensus.
So: Dad Rock is not a thing.
But what about Dad Pop ?
Speaking only for myself: I was not and am not part of the target demographic of any era of pop music in this millennium. It wasn’t made for me, and for the most part: pop and I stay out of each other’s business.
That said, every now and then, a pop or pop-adjacent song will come along and hook me in, or in some cases: just blow me away.
Even if said song gets played to death on the radio, I am often immune to the burnout that others may experience from constant airplay and overexposure, since I have not listened to Top 40 radio regularly in the last couple of decades.
Except for a brief period between 2019-2021, when my daughter moved to the front seat of the car and commandeered the radio, until we eventually fled to Spotify on Bluetooth.
Over the years, I have slowly compiled an informal list in my head of irresistible pop songs that have caught my fancy.
And I’m wondering: are there legions of dads out there who are not pop aficionados, but who have been captivated by some of these same songs? Do certain songs have just the right musical pheromones to attract over-the-hill dads and other pop outsiders, almost seemingly against our will?
Could Dad Pop be a thing?
And am I a part of something greater?
Or am I wrong about this for pretty much the same reasons that I think the term Dad Rock doesn’t work? I have not taken a poll, and I have no definitive answer.
But I’m just going to toss out a playlist of pop songs (and a little bit of R&B) from 2000 to the present that have hit me in my sweet spot. And in a few cases: I consider to be musical perfection. It’s limited to one song per artist, ranked in order of preference, though some could be interchangeable.
I don’t want to get too caught up in the ranking. Although I will say:
That the top 5 are non-negotiable.
Some of these I picked up from my daughter, like many parents. Some I found on my own at various points. Some are just part of the air we breathe.
A few songs on the list will not be as familiar to the masses as others, such as “Girlz” from the Lego Friends movie Girlz 4 Life.
But I included them because they’re certified bangers and just had to make the cut, end of story.
My request- give this playlist a listen and let me know if you think I’m onto something…
Regardless of whether you are a dad or not.
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