I see a lot of bitching on my social feeds about the state of music today: “There’s no good music anymore.” “The radio makes me weep for the future.” “These kids have NO IDEA what good music is, no one will ever be as good as [insert an icon here].”
Most of these are from my musically inclined friends and accquantances who are nearing or long past 40. Take Ben Lacy, who’s a fucking guitar wizard.
If anyone has the right to complain, it’s him. And he does, but it’s still tiring to see constantly, and it’s still a lousy way to think. Trust me, I was a kid who thought rap was garbage when I was 13 or 14; and then it kinda crept up on me. I picked up the Fugees, I got to know some people who really dug underground work, and I realized that rap was no different than any other genre. Like Sturgeon says, 90% of everything is bad; but the 10% that’s left can be amazing.
What it really comes down to is the natural part of aging when you lose time to explore things. You don’t have the time to try out new records, or more importantly, explore new avenues of discovery. So you turn on the radio or flip to MTV for a minute and your ears bleed and your brain melts a little, and you have such a strong negative reaction that you assume every musical venture is that way now. That’s not true. What is true is that those particular avenues have always been pretty terrible, except for what you heard when it was relevant to you. Ben Lacy’s huge on Van Halen. Ben Lacy’s about 10 years older than me, so he grew up at Van Halen’s peak. Personally, I find Eddie and Co. to be cheesy and overblown. I still think Nirvana was a force of nature; I’ve heard plenty of college-age kids dismiss everything about it from Kurt’s “bad” guitar playing to the nonsense lyrics. It’s all a matter of perspective and age.
It’s a shame to dismiss everything because the most commercially appealing stuff sucks.