I know I’ve mentioned this previously, but throughout my childhood, while growing up, I was, shall I say, “musically challenged”. The music I enjoy today is a work of the last few years. In my youth, my dad would only allow country music to be played. Everything else was shunned and considered annoying noise.
To give a little context, my dad was born in the 1930’s. He liked the really old, slow-beat country. His day had the likes of Hank Williams, Slim Whitman and Jim Reeves. Just thinking about 50s country makes me shudder and cringe. I grew up in the 1970s and 80s, listening to artists like Alabama, George Strait, Kenny Rogers, etc. School classmates were into the other genres of music and thought that country was for losers. They were partly right, as I always considered myself a loser (even to this day, but that’s beside the point).
At one time, people made “mixtapes”—cassettes of various artists, since most people didn’t like to listen to just one artist. After that was burning CDs. I did that for a while, burning my own CDs to listen to in the car. They started as strictly country, but later, I finally woke up and discovered what is now called “classic rock”, the stuff that was popular in my youth. Ironically, this “classic” stuff is making a resurgence an enjoying a new generational audience.
Looking back, I kinda get why my parents felt the way they did about music. I love 70s-90s music of most genres. However, the majority of music that came out after 2000 is simply garbage. That goes for all genres. Remember how I said I was sorta indoctrinated to listen to country? I can’t even stand most of this newer country music anymore. Most of it is nicknamed “bro country”, and it strangely resembles pop now. You almost can’t distinguish between them anymore. I saw a video once of someone playing a sampling of six different country songs by six different artists. As the music played and switched between songs, the beat stayed the same. Huey Lewis sued Ray Parker, Jr. back in the day for plagiarizing “I Want a New Drug” to make “Ghostbusters”? Perhaps all these country people managed to get permission. Who knows, who cares?
I’m not saying it’s all bad. There are some good songs out there. The vast majority, though, I would rather never listen to…ever. I could go my whole life never hearing Justin Bieber, Nickelback or Post Malone, for example. This modern pop music is completely bewildering. There’s nothing to jam to. On the occasions the radio at work is on one of these stations, it feels like a barrage of nonsensical note combinations and lyrics repeated ad nauseum. It’s like the songwriter had no idea for a song, so they just repeated the same line for three or four minutes. I call these songs “teeny-bopper pop”, because the main fanbase consists of Gen Z to later Millennials. There’s a station here locally that calls itself “today’s hit music”, as they play the same five or ten songs on loop, with the occasional ringer mixed in (hell, even the goddamned DJs are recorded and repeated). I have parodied their classification as “today’s shit music”, as that’s what they mostly play: garbage note combinations that they attempt to pass off as music. Sorry, kids, that’s not music. Real music had meaning, a beat to jam to, and the lyrics were like poetry. Tunes from the likes of Queen, Tom Petty, Hall & Oates, Air Supply, Ozzy Osbourne, etc. What the hell? Mix in some Brooks & Dunn, Garth Brooks and Weird Al. Now you’ve got yourself a real goddamned playlist!
I give you now today’s quotation:
“Back then people closed their eyes and listened to music. Today there’s a lot of images that go with the music. A lot of music is crap and it’s all commercial and the images are all trying to sell the record.”– Neil Young