This morning I took Ava and her friends to summer camp. We were listening to the radio and the girls were having fun, singing along to their favorite songs. I know I wax nostalgic for “the good ol’ days” maybe more than I should but I have to tell ya…listening to what is being played on the radio these days kind of says a lot about this generation. I was reading about the EDM movement (electronic dance movement) yesterday morning and it occurs to me that every generation has it’s “thing.” For my generation it was MTV and hair metal. For the 90′s, it was grunge and then rap. For THIS generation, it’s EDM?
I don’t know why listening to this kind of music depresses me. It’s definitely got a beat (the SAME beat…for every song) and I can dance to it (because I’m apt to do that from time to time), but despite what they say about this movement in music, I still can’t see where it’s going. People in the know say you have to EXPERIENCE an EDM show in order to “understand” it. Well…I’m thinking that’s an experience I can live without. Not because I don’t think it would be fun but mostly because I’m too old. And this stuff makes my ears and my head hurt after a while. All the repetitive beats and ridiculous lyrics just don’t appeal to me. And when local radio (yes…I STILL listen) plays the same 15 songs over & over (THAT hasn’t changed over the years), I find it amazing that 12 of those songs sound similar. Maybe the artists change, but the beat does not. And maybe THAT is the appeal of EDM? Maybe the familiarity of it? Because when I listen to this music, it all blends together. It’s all DJ’s sitting at a console, taking music that has already been done before and mixing it together. I don’t know if I would call that talent or if it’s plagiarism on some level.
I am proud to say that I’ve always been open to new kinds of music. That being said, I was raised in the 80′s so it’s the 80′s that I always tend to drift back to whenever I listen to music these days. REM, Echo & The Bunnymen, U2, Depeche Mode (which is a grandfather to EDM)…whatever. I love those XM channels that feature old 80′s classics and the “80′s On 8″ channel that has the old MTV VJ’s spinning the “HOT” tracks from that decade. Thinking about it, I have to wonder…when my generation has gotten too old and we start sitting on our hard earned cash (wait…does “cash” still exist?), what are companies going to use for marketing tools for the following generations. I mentioned this a while back in THIS article, how my generation is now being targeted by marketing companies everywhere. This is OUR time, my friends. Those of us who grew up from 1980-89 are now the primary spenders so…we are being bombarded with stuff from the 80′s! Well…except for cassettes. I’m thinking THOSE are gone for good. But still…clothing, music, characters on tv, movies (Hello “21 Jump Street!” Again?) and on & on. I’m okay with it. I understand it. But I’m wondering…once this has passed us by and we start hoarding our money, the 90′s are up and what are marketing genius’ gonna do then? I can only imagine Apple will start using Nirvana in their commercials, “Tubthumping” will be remixed by DJ’s with an extra beat somewhere and Snoop Dogg will have his own Disney television show where he plays the old guy, doling out advice to the “younger generation.” Then…after that…what?
Thankfully, there are some artists out there who still make music. Gotye has hit it big with “Somebody That I Used To Know” (which is a catchy tune but overplayed), Adele has 4 or 5 songs that have been on repeat on commercial radio for going on 2 years now and there are a few others. For the most part though, electronica has overtaken pop music and transformed it into a repetitive format that sounds exactly the same with every song that comes on. I can’t say I HATE EDM, but I can say that it is grinding me down, making me pine for the “better” days of music. My friend Howard, who is a huge fan of bands such as Poco and Bruce Springsteen, is always quick to quip that modern music is a waste of time. He doesn’t care for rap (at all), or electronica (at all), or most of today’s music. I have always thought that Howard was a little bit too taken in by his generation of music. I don’t know if I would call him a “music snob” so much as someone who just wasn’t open to the new music that has come around since…oh, I dunno…1978? But now I’m starting to agree with him a little. As open as I am to new music and the waves that music has ridden over the past 3 decades, I CAN say that this new format of music (which isn’t really new. It’s been around to some degree since disco) is starting to get on my nerves. Artists such as Usher, Justin Beiber, Katy Perry…they ALL have pop sensibilities. But for whatever reason, they (or the marketing geniuses behind them) always feel the need to remix their music, adding beeps and tweets and distorting vocals, all for the sake of making a dime. Throw in another voice (Rihanna and Nicki Minaj might as well never put out another album. They could live off their featured performances on ANYONE’S new song) and you’re looking at music GOLD!
Or maybe not.
I’m old. I know it. But this stuff is crap. Do I think David Guetta and the herd of new EDM “artists” have talent? I guess. With the technology out there these days, I doubt it’s difficult to find the beat in other songs and link them together. In the above linked “USA Today” article, Moby gives a breakdown of the multiple versions of EDM out there today. Reading over it, I’m not impressed. He states that EDM is rooted in BPM. That’s “Beats Per Minute.” Well…I can’t think of ANY good song that gives a rat’s butt about how many beats it can squeeze into a song. It’s about the lyrics and the attachment you feel when listening to a song. This morning I switched over to “80′s On 8″ and they were playing a Gloria Estefan tune. I never really cared one way or another about Ms Estefan in the 80′s but on this morning, “I Don’t Wanna Lose You” was a welcome change from the latest collaboration of David Guetta and Sia (who?). Listening to the lyrics, I FELT something. And it had nothing to do with how may digital bleeps were in the song. It’s my opinion that this generation is missing the point. But maybe that’s not surprising considering how different things are now compared to a little over 20 years ago.
Okay…now that I am feeling REALLY old, I am gonna go mix me up a sweet hair band CD so I can jam out to some Whitesnake while cruising to work later. I imagine this article will find many laughing at me and how I have become so out of touch with this generation (much like my parents and their parents and so on…), but I have to say…I gave today’s music a chance and they have, for the most part, blown it. So I’ll take my CD’s over your downloads any day and I’m thinking I won’t be missed. However every time I hear a classic “oldie” on a television commercial I will have to chuckle and wonder…in 30 years, will Nissan be cranking a Skrillex track to market it’s latest hybrid?
Somehow I doubt it.