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Question Of The Week: Who Controls The Music In Your House?

Dad's playing his music again and no one is happy.
Dad's playing his music again and no one is happy.

Got a question you'd like the All Songs gang to consider? Leave it in the comments below or drop us an email: allsongs@npr.org.

Is music part of your Thanksgiving holiday? Will you be battling dad for control of the family speakers? Or is it a war between the siblings?

I've been thinking about how different these decisions are in the 21st century. When I'd visit my parents long ago, pre-iPod, I was at their mercy. The choice of music for the family gathering was often some generic radio station or even cable TV's "The Music of Your Life" station, which was never the music of my life. But with Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra or Benny Goodman, my mom's choice was always a fine compromise.

These days, bringing music to a house full of family or friends isn't about how many records you can carry in your arms. With Spotify, Pandora or a pocketful of music, everyone at the party has their own favorites within reach. So, this Thursday there are many ways this could play out.

  • You have Thanksgiving dinner with family. You walk in the door and you hear that same music you grew up around and you just can't take it.
  • You go to a friend's house. You walk in the door and they're playing your least favorite album of the year.
  • You have people over to your place for food and drinks. Your guests want you to change to music you've chosen.
  • What happens when the music starts to drive you up a wall? Maybe it pales in comparison to how your folks (or your kids) drive you up a wall, but that said, it's time to come up with a strategy. How will you deal with annoying music when you're holding a pocket full of music that is lovingly yours? Of course there's a chance all will be peaceful and memorable — I'd be happy for someone to tell that story too.

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