NPF: IT COULD HAVE BEEN WORSE

Posted in No Politics Friday on January 13th, 2012 by Ed

Popular music is one of the more common ways to depict generational divides for a good reason. Very little music is timeless; the vast majority has a shelf life of a few years at best and tends to be aimed at whoever happens to be in high school at any given point in time. So nothing is more familiar to the point of being cliched than the image of parents listening to their children's music with a sense of bewilderment about how one could listen to such crap. Indeed, being unable to understand or tolerate what The Kids are listening to these days is one of the first and most reliable indicators that you're getting old.

Currently an alarming number of the teens and tweens are listening to this type of thing:

OK.

I'm 33 years old. This music is not aimed at me or people in my demographic, so it goes without saying that I'm not going to like it. But Jesus Harold Christ the Third, this shit is just unlistenable. Does every generation of old people say that? Of course. Your parents told you that your (Elvis Presley / Chuck Berry / Beatles / Led Zeppelin / Sex Pistols / Devo / Black Flag / Public Enemy / Nirvana) was godawful racket, "just noise", and the definition of headache-inducing unlistenability. It would be ridiculous for people who are old now to say "Well our parents were wrong, but we're right: this crunk / autotune /screamo / electronic shit is not even music" without being both hypocritical and wrong.

Let's say it anyway. I think old people are finally right. Half of this stuff isn't even music. Now that making music no longer requires being able to play an instrument (ProTools), sing (AutoTune), or even how to program (hundreds of idiotproof software packages for churning out mediocre electronic music), it shouldn't surprise us that the resulting product isn't music. And having grown up on Disney Pop, The Kids These Daystm think that music has always sort of sounded like a Mountain Dew commercial.

See? I'm old now. This both puzzles and horrifies me. Do young people actually pay to see this live? Are high school boys making mixes full of this cacophony for high school girls they have crushes on? What are kids singing along to in the car? What about this music is there to connect with listeners on an emotional or personal level? Is "Brokencyde" going to announce a reunion tour in 20 years to joyous applause? Is this going to be on "Oldies" playlists in 2030? Sure, musical fads never age well but there is at least SOME level on which people can still enjoy Disco today (i.e., dancing and enjoying kitsch).

This stuff is popular and, I'm sorry, that's terrifying. I don't mean to go all Andy Rooney or full-on Grandpa here, but these "artists" blow on a level that our parents never had to try to comprehend. Of course not everyone in the current target demographic likes it, but the fact that anyone does is just another reason that I'm terrified for the future.

Oh, and before you type out your scolding comment, listen to as much of this as you can:

Crunk indeed, folks. Crunk. Indeed.