May 21, 2018

Mr. Wilson Rant

Listen you little prepubescent pustule, I don’t know if you know this or not, but my overall taste and musical knowledge is cooler and more extensive than anything you and your pop music zombie friends might recognise during your current developmental stage. You might think that Charlie Puth and Shawn Mendez are the poets of your generation, while crooning their sappy pop-love songs and tallying likes on Youtube, but I got news for you: being “discovered” on youtube, does not a voice of a generation make. No amount of auto tune and computerised drum beats will make their music comparable to say…watching Rage Against The Machine open for House of Pain in the early nineties.

A little musical history lesson might be in order, because you need to understand the linage and connection every artist has to a past artist. I’m not saying that Imagine Dragons are a watered-down genre blending piece of garbage that passes for rock and roll, don’t put words in my mouth, I’m just saying that you might want to do some decade hopping to see what else is out there.
Get punched in the face by a Black Sabbath riff.  Watch some youtube clips of Jim Morrison. Dance across the keyboard of a Greg Allman jam. Rock not your thing. Lose yourself in the Sam Cooke catalogue. Take a dip into the eighties with The Cure and follow the trail from Depeche Mode to Nine Inch Nails. Research Patti Smith, Neil Young and The Clash.

Don’t roll your eyes when I play The Beastie Boys in class, while you listen to Ariana Grande, and look at me like I am some out of touch old foggie. I’ve seen Public Enemy and Wu Tang Clan live, not to mention Bob Dylan and Paul Simon. I rocked the Woodstock mosh pit when The Rollins Band made the sky empty it bowels in thunder and lightening. I’ve seen Pink Floyd on two separate tours and have seen Pearl Jam nearly ten times.

It might do you some good to trust that I might know a thing or two about music, pop culture and the state of the world beyond your basic twelve year old “appreciation” of Drake an Kendrick Lamar. I’ve probably seen more hours of live music added up than your entire lifespan.

I’m not saying that you’re taste is garbage and mine is perfect, but I am saying that your attitude of superiority is embarrassing  you. I know that it’s cool for young people to think that old people are lame. I was young once too, but once thing that they don’t tell you is that things that are old are not uncool by their very nature. What came from the passed influences everything in the present and eventually the future. The sooner you can look beyond the top 40 of your generation and start connecting the dots, the sooner you will be exposed to an entire tapestry of music and culture.
And you have the internet and youtube. You are one click away from watching a live Queen show to Nirvana in an arena or a small club. You are a generation with access to audio clips from Nina Simone to Morcheeba, you can do better than only listening to the latest Cardi B. song.

Is this rant the equivalent to Mr. Wilson yelling at the kids to get off his lawn? Probably, but I rant from love. Your taste in music can be more than what your friends deem cool. Dig, explore, follow the rabbit holes, make the connections between The Strokes and The Velvet Underground, from Elliott Smith to The Beatles.

Someday you will be at a party in university and you might remember this rant as the first time you heard many of these names, and I hope you take a moment to be grateful that there was one voice from your pre-adolescence that tried to guide you in the right direction at an early age. Or you can ignore everything I just said and follow your own path and discover your own sounds, because nothing is more powerful and important than youth.

1 comment:

  1. I grew up in the 80's and it really was the best and the worst time to grow musically. Maybe because it was so bad I did have an appreciation for more kinds of music than just pop, it wasn't because our radio stations played so many different genres. My dad listened to surf music, a left over from his time in SoCal as a marine, but he also had a nice collection of jazz albums with a little mix of r&b (unusual in a SW Missour small time I am sure.) My mom loved the Carpenters and Fleetwood Mac.

    In high school I was introduced to the Gap Band and Motown. I played Run DMC, Grandmaster Flash and 2Live Crew because it was hard find anything that wasn't super popular at our local (45 minutes away) mall. Do you remember 45's at Walmart? They didn't carry anything resembling rap or hip hop....

    I completely missed punk until it was too late, was only surfing the top wave of early electronic/dance music and was too broke after marriage to get into anything interesting like the Pixies :(

    Streaming music may be the death of the music industry, but it has allowed me to find so much great stuff that I could never possibly find, hear or collect before. Kids who just plain love music have it so good today!