Hola amigos, i know it’s been a while since i rapped at ya but I’ve been busier than a covid nurse in the deep south lately. If you like what you read, please consider subscribing. I love my subscribers and they get more content, as you’re about to see. If you’re just here to check it out, also cool. Let’s party.
Music. It’s one of those things that even animals like, like the taste of blood or the smell of fear. It also used to be the way we defined ourselves before the internet age splintered us into a zillion different things. Remember metalheads, hip hop kids and punks and goths and mods and ska dorks and skinheads? That used to be how it was. It ain’t like that anymore tho.
And that’s good. You shouldn’t have to choose either Iron Maiden or MC Hammer as your only identifier, and it turns out that a lot of kids these days don’t even like music that much actually. Which I find to be weird, but I’m also a professional musician so I’ve had what could easily be called an unhealthy relationship with the artform at large since I was very little.
But here’s the thing: If I ask my kids what kind of music they like, they have no idea. Hell, my friend came to visit and asked my son what his favorite band was and he said The Lawrence Arms (my band) and then when pressed, he said Blink 182 (his friend’s band). I was confused about this answer until i realized that he doesn’t even think of artists as “bands” at all. There are no bands. He likes JUICEWRLD and the like (who, for the record I think is pretty cool too).
Bands are not a thing anymore, and more to the point, rock and roll isn’t a thing. MUSIC isn’t totally a thing. People identify with youtube and tiktok content creators and the idea of having favorite artists or movies is just not even on the radar of these young people.
To digress into something that’s not as unrelated as it sounds, when my boy was younger he wanted to watch some dumb show that was being advertised on the dumb show he was already watching and I said “that doesn’t come out until saturday” and he looked at me like I was made of nutsacks.
These kids don’t even recognize that things get released and that there are strategic reasons to release them. They literally can’t comprehend that it’s not all immediately available on the DVR, which makes sense. I get it. Sheeeeit, I didn’t understand silent film for a very long time.
I guess my point is that if they don’t even get the notion of scheduling media, of course they’re on a whole different plane when it comes to consuming media, including music.
A few years ago, one of my favorite groups, Outkast, came back from the dead to play Coachella and they came out and opened with B.O.B. which is, in no uncertain terms, a total banger. The crowd was so flaccid at them that after the song they said something to the effect of “Yo, y’all don’t like Outkast?”
Consider that. One of the greatest art collectives of my lifetime playing an amazing example of their talent and just getting snores and flies. Fuuuuuuck. Doesn’t say much for my career, rite?
Anyway, I read an article about the event and the journalist (who I would credit if i wasnt just doing all this shit off the dome, as the kids say) said essentially that lyrical hip hop is dead because EDM is so easy for kids to get into. You go to your seat. You pour some MDMA or Ketamine on your phone screen. You don’t have to mouth any words and then when the beat’s about to drop, the DJ telegraphs it via the 808 velocity and you know it’s coming and then you stand up and start going insane.
I understand this. It’s an easier way to consume music than the way I did growing up. It’s like the amazon of taste. I have my preferences that skew towards scouring record stores and overhearing punks on the bus and trying to read shit on stickers and in the back of zines and thank you lists in album liner notes and so forth, but I’ll be dipped in shit if I’m dumb enough to think that the way they do it now isn’t just the way they do it now. It’s not for me to critique whatsoever.
My time vs now. I know where I’m at.
Anyway, let’s run down all the different genres of music (disclaimer: not all genres of music will be represented here)
Funny one because when I was a kid this was like the Doors and Zeppelin and now it’s Poison and Guns n Roses and even Nirvana and Rage Against the Machine.
Um, this is gonna be an unpopular opinion but fuck this shit entirely (and I LOOOOVE GnR and I respect what Rage was all about). It’s not because the music is bad, though most of it is demonstrably not great regardless of your criteria, it’s because (deep sigh and apologies to everyone because I’m about to sound like a total douche) it’s just a reinforcement not only of the hegemonic stranglehold that boomer types and to a lesser extent Gen X have on what’s left of music rock culture, but it’s also completely blocking the airwaves. Where are the PUP radio singles or the Joyce Manor singles? Where are the Menzingers singles?
Oh, they couldn’t be played because KFUK had to play Rooster by Alice in Chains again, and some bullshit by the chili peppers and the foo fighters. Cool. Makes a lot of sense.
I guess at this point this is like My Morning Jacket n shit of that nature right? All bands call themselves rock because they’re embarrassed to ghettoize themselves into a label. So a band as unrepentantly emo as, uh…let’s just use Dashboard Confessional as a random example, will describe themselves as rock just so they don’t look like they’re flexing as some some sort of emo posterboys and, honestly, nice move.
The thing that’s weird is this: now that rock has become so marginalized, just playing regular rock sounds subversive and therefore can’t totally easily be categorized.
Take White Reaper: totally good band, right? Rock band. But their unrepentant dedication to rock makes them seem like a fucking novelty. It’s weird and I don’t know how to feel about it one way or the other (I do actually, in that truly I don’t care) but there’s no denying that rock is in a weird state of flux where you can’t even just be a rock band without it seeming weird….
This is it for the excerpt. Thanks so much for reading. If you like, and/or wanna read the rest of this (with definitely includes punk and metal and hip hop and more) please consider subscribing. If you just wanna chill in the cheap seats that’s cool too. Thanks! Xxoxoxo