As far back as my memory allows me to travel, I have always been a music aficionado. As such, I am trying to pinpoint exactly when it was that music really died. Not necessarily in the sense that Don McLean sang about in his magnum opus, “American Pie.” Well, maybe so.
Let me explain.
I was inspired to broach this subject after I heard a new and preposterously cheesed-out version of “Axel F” on the radio yesterday. What gives? Do teens and young adults these days truly like this stuff? If a record executive had tried to shove something like this down my throat 15 years ago, I would have laughed. Then, after I calmed down from my hysterical fits of abdominal-cramping giggles, I wouldve eventually become angry. Why? Because I would have felt like my intelligence had been undermined. I wouldnt have wanted anyone to think that I would be caught DEAD listening to that drivel. I would have felt that I deserved something of much more substance.
Fast forward back to present times. I still feel the same way. I may not be a teen or a young adult any longer, but that doesnt mean my taste in music has taken a beating. Dont try to sell me contrived, empty-headed songs without hooks. Dont try to force me to listen to someone whose subpar singing voice has been totally altered by computers and mixers and distortion. Im just not buying it. But someone apparently is, to my dismay.
I am sad to say that those in my age group may have been the last to have their own anthem. Think about The Song of your time What was it? In the 1960s, perhaps it was “All You Need Is Love” by The Beatles. Maybe it was Lynyrd Skynyrds “Free Bird” in the 1970s. Of course, teens in the 1980s had “Money For Nothing (I Want My MTV)” by Dire Straits. In my formative yearsthe 1990swe had Nirvanas “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Ill never forget the day I heard that song for the first time. It literally changed my life.
Nowadays, all I hear is one requiem after another on the Top 40 stations. Requiems for the death of talent-driven music. Did Kurt Cobain take music as I knew it with him when he died? Was it buried with him? Maybe Mr. McLean was onto something after allmaybe music does perish when its great creators perish. I am forlorn, indeed.
You know, I think Ill get out one of my old Pink Floyd records tonight. Yeah. Ill listen to “The Wall,” perhaps. Ill savor every pop, fizzle and crack that I hear between songs. Ill relish having to get up and turn the record over. Maybe Ill even get a nostalgic tear or two in the corners of my eyes. And Ill mourn the day that my catchy, genuine, indispensable music met its demise. Ill also be grateful that good music still lives on in my personal collection because without it, Id be likely to give up the ghost as well.
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