I’ve mentioned before that modern music use to divide the generations. Up until recently parent and kid culture would clash over music. Beginning with the moralistic disapproval of Elvis’s sexuality, followed by a general distain for the rebellious nature of rock n roll, followed further by parent’s disapproval for devil worshiping heavy metal, followed further but the abrasiveness of the underground hardcore punk scene going mainstream with Nirvana and grunge. I think the politically incorrect nature of hip hop is the last act of this play, the twilight of this protest.
Now there is a lot of nostalgia coming to the forefront of culture today; bands like the Black Keys resurrecting the blues and garage rock, Cheap Girls resurrecting 90s mid-western alternative rock, and Fucked Up harkening back to 80s hardcore. Kids today are also really digging deep into musical history, often caring more about the Beatles, the Clash, or Joy Division then music of their own time. This could be attributed to the instant availability of all past music within a few mouse clicks, or perhaps the low cost of hard drive space to fill with archival material. If the past is always right in front of us, and all temporal context is blurred, the youth movements that once propelled us forward will loose momentum. I think this is why many young bands combine hip hop, stadium rock, techno, screamo, and punk seamlessly as if this were natural. This is where I feel a regression culturally, it’s almost a complete reversal of the recent past. We’ve taken the rebellion against parents as far as it can go, and now we must begin the long march back through history. But to where? To what end?
I often hear “adults” saying that lately they’ve been really getting into jazz. I have no idea to what level of sincerity this gesture holds, for all I know they could have heard a remix of Nat King Cole in a Starbucks and assumed the identity (because that’s all it takes today). I’m more interested in understanding why people are moving to this. Perhaps without modern music moving forward, their boredom leaves them nowhere left to go but to some other, distant generation’s movement. Of course, it’s untrue that these people have nothing left in rock n roll to listen to; there are near infinite bands that made noise in the margins, populate the footnotes of music history, collecting dust on old shelves. But they feel like they’ve consumed the best parts of it, so now it’s time to throw it in the garbage and ransack some other part of history.
I’ve already decided that when I get bored I’m gonna move on to classical.