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An Appeal to my Elders:

August 12, 2008

I spend a lot of time online listening to music, reading about music, and watching music videos on YouTube. In fact, that is about all I do online. I’m no expert by any means, and I certainly cannot claim to understand it all, but I love to stretch my boundaries and try lots of new things. I have never contained myself to time periods or genres. If you were to look at my most played albums, you would find everything from Ella Fitzgerald to Johnny Mercer to Michael Jackson to Guns and Roses to James Brown to Gary Puckett to Micheal Buble to Jeff Buckley to the Beach Boys  to Aerosmith to Cat Stevens to Motley Crue. I truly admire the great works that past generations have left for me to enjoy.

That said, I am sick and tired of all these comments that keep popping up all over the internet–comments like: “kids these days can’t appreciate good music” or “kids are so ignorant now, they don’t know anything…” or “You missed out on ___, ___, and ___…you poor child, born too late.”

I know no one means any harm by these comments, so with all due respect, I would like to kindly offer a rebuttal.

1st off…I don’t want your pity. I know wasn’t born in time to be a hippie, a punk, or a glam rocker. I know, that’s too bad. But whatever.

Secondly. Kids today DO know good music. We generally know what came before us-we still listen to the Beatles and the Stones and Aerosmith and the Eagles and Jeff Beck and whoever else it is that you consider “worthwhile”; and-unlike you-we generally have a more well-rounded view of what is out there today. Yes, we hear the hip-hop on the radio and we know the music industry is rigged and we know the meaning of the dirty slang that invades the lyrics, and we’re more than aware that many of those CDs we buy would never have seen a walmart shelf 20 years ago. But we’re also able to find the more “obsure” records, the ones that are never in the top-20, and which never get airplay. We go to our local music halls/bars and we support smaller acts that may not get the national recognition, but still have a wide following. Times are different now. It isn’t the huge mega-stars with the record labels that are changing the world-its the smaller independent musicians, who work their way up through word of mouth advertising (ok, and Myspace) who are moving mountains. Rock n Roll is not dead, it is alive and flourishing in underground venues…and in Sweden. If you take a look around, you are sure to find a band that is worth your time.

Frankly, I’m angry young people aren’t taken seriously. I’m angry that everyone talks like we’re missing something, that we’re at a disadvantage, for whatever reason.

Personally, I beg to differ. I am a smart, free-thinking individual. I may listen to Rap from time to time, but why is that a big deal? Why does owning a Justin Timberlake album typecast me as being ignorant of “good music”? And why do you feel such a need to tell me that I’m ignorant, and point out to me how your generation is better?

Other generations have been allowed the freedom and the privalege to live in the present and enjoy what their decade had to offer without having to feel ashamed. They could take it all in and be a real part of a movement. Kids today don’t have that…and I think its because we’re constantly being told that our generation has nothing to offer to the music world, and we should just look to the past…because y’know, all those old and dead guys can rock us out of the room.  Ok, maybe so. But you know what? The past is over. Its our time now. There may be some crap floating around out there, hell-there may be a LOT of crap. It may not measure up to your idea of good music. But that doesn’t matter. Just like you, we’re looking for something to call our own and define our generation…and even though it may not be in your taste, this is all we’ve got. So please, just bite your tounge and let us have it. The world will not quit turning just because you failed to put in your 2-cents on its current state.

 

Thank you.

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