Who listens to lyrics, right? All the song needs is a beat, a hook, and if it’s by a diva, then even better.
Yet I become physically sick every time I’m in a bar and I hear Kesha’s “Die Young” blare from the speakers.
The first time I heard it I know exactly where I was – in that kinda “where were you when the plane hit the first tower” way. It was December 1st (World AIDS Day) and I was in a rental car driving into West Hollywood – one of a dozen “Ground Zeroes” in the AIDS epidemic.
I was astonished by lyrics celebrating that we might “die young!” It felt like sacrilege. Like dancing on the graves of the dead of West Hollywood and mocking the people they’d left behind.
But it’s not really Kesha that infuriates me. It’s my brethren standing in bars bopping to the beat as if the last twenty five years didn’t happen!
The guys my age who should know better, because we lived it.
Sure, I get that we’d rather forget. But we shouldn’t.
And the younger guys, who grew up in a different reality, a healthier reality with greater acceptance and the promise of civil rights – all built by a generation that did die young.
Too many of them take for granted the sacrifice that has given them health, opportunity and hope, and far too many of them squander that sacrifice through barebacking and PNP.
So the song makes me crazy.
Its pounding rhythm makes me want to move.
Seeing a room full of gay men shouting the words makes me want to cry.