What’s the Matter with Kids these Days?, Part 473—It’s all about the Music, Man

What’s the Matter with Kids these Days?, Part 473—It’s all about the Music, Man

(Disclaimer: I don’t think that all new music is execrable; from what I’ve heard, much of it is quite good. While many of my contemporaries are content to listen to the same Classic Rock standards over and over, I’m actually open-minded enough to watch Austin City Limits even when they feature so-called Indie Rock groups)

This headline, Young People and ipods have Utterly Destroyed Music, reflects a nearly ubiquitous conversation among people my age these days. The argument goes something like this:

When we were young, music really meant something, man. Our music defined a generation and helped to end a war. This is a stark contrast to today‘s shallow and meaningless music, which is all about bling, sex and superficiality, man. Music is so sucky because Kids These Days are so busy navel-gazing, playing video games, and updating their Facespace pages that they don’t have the same kind of passion for music that our own glorious generation once did, man.

(This imaginary disgruntled DFH reminds me of a roommate I had in college with Ray Manzerek Disease, a verbal tic wherein the speaker is unable to utter three consecutive sentences without saying the word man)

Of course, What’s the Matter with Kids these Days? has been a common complaint at least since the time of Aristotle. (And a healthy dose of Mike Males is always a good antidote for this type of specious thinking.)

But there clearly is a difference in the way young people listen to music today. Without getting into to whether or not music means as much to today’s adolescents as it did to previous generations (how could you possibly quantify such a thing?) I will briefly note a few ways in which technology has changed music.

Today music is cheap, portable, durable and easily transferable, but that wasn’t always the case.

Back in the day, the standard delivery system for music (LPs), were much bulkier and more fragile than, say, MP3s. Records were big and delicate. They were kept inside a paper sleeve inside a cardboard sleeve (and many people placed the entire album inside a plastic sleeve for extra protection.) Records were easily-broken and they could only be held by the edges because mere fingerprints could ruin them. Although portable record players existed, they were weren’t exactly high fidelity (a term which was once freighted with a sanctified resonance among music lovers.) A good record collection and stereo, often including gargantuan speakers, was not only expensive, but it could take up practically an entire living room.

So do young people appreciate music less than we did because it’s practically free and you can put it in your pocket?

I don’t know, man.

by Richard W. Bray


2 Responses to “What’s the Matter with Kids these Days?, Part 473—It’s all about the Music, Man”

  1. An Effective Title-Writing Strategy for Academic Papers « Laughter hope sock in the eye's Blog Says:

    […] What’s the Matter with Kids these Days?, Part 473—It’s all about the Music, Man Holden Caulfield–Whimpering Little Phony […]

  2. The Funny Men of My Youth | Laughter hope sock in the eye's Blog Says:

    […] marvelous sounds when played on something called a turntable.  Albums were very fragile, which may have accentuated the reverence we had for them).   In junior high school I discovered the more “mature” comedy records of George Carlin, […]

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