Generational Music Gap
Dean Esmay notes the passing of an era:
[R]ock is as dead as Glen Miller and Sammy Davis Junior. Dead and gone. Fondly remembered, still an influence on future generations, but gone.
Vestiges of rock do survive in the niche market known as “Hippy Jazz,” mind you, in groups like Phish and Widespread Panic. Nods to rock can also be found in much pop music. But as an art form, Rock lost its cultural relevance, and its vital animating force, some time ago.
This realization was underscored for me when I read a recent Blogcritics thread wherein people in their 30s and 40s complained that their kids don’t rock as hard as they do. These folks who grew up loving Metallica and the Clash and AC/DC and the Ramones and so forth are disappointed because their kids ask them to turn that music down, it’s too loud! They also complain because the kids think stuff like Matchbox 20 is “hard rocking” and can’t handle the power chords of some old-school Black Sabbath or Guns ‘n’ Roses. Why, these kids don’t even know what real punk rock is all about! The Violent Femmes would kick Avril Levigne’s ass!
I didn’t have the heart to tell them that the kids today who want hard core, intense music don’t listen to rock. The kids who want hard core listen to rap.
I think it’s just that two generations of parents grew up listening to rock, so it’s not rebellious music anymore. Groups like Staind, for example, would probably be more offensive in a 1970s context than any of the groups back then but the parents are accustomed to it. Rap, at least the hard core type, is the music of a criminal underclass, so it still has the ability to shock a middle class, suburban audience.
I’m not sure what’s going to displace rap–which has now been around 25 years in its own right–in another generation. Kids will either be listening to music about necrophiliac cannibals or they’ll be listening to the equivalent of Frank Sinatra. That is, the shock level has to continue to ratchet up or else it will be rebellion as counter-rebellion. Sort of like Alex P. Keaton rebelling against his hippie parents by going Republican.