My generation doesn’t make good music

by Lorin Michel Monday, May 30, 2016 8:37 PM

These words were spoken by Justin last night as we were on the deck at sunset, listening to jazz flow from the speakers above. The song we were listening to was a jazz instrumental of Hotel California. The station is on Pandora and it’s something like Jazz Does Pop or something like that. I swore I wouldn’t do Pandora because I wanted to support the little guys but the little guys are getting harder and harder to find. They keep drifting away.

I used to pay a monthly fee to Live365 so that I could listen to everything I wanted, commercial free. But the government stepped in, something about licensing. The big players like Spotify and Pandora managed to get through it all relatively unscathed. Most of these stations, including Pandora, play commercials but that doesn’t really bother me, especially since it’s usually only one or two. It’s that I really want the small guys, the entrepreneurs to succeed.

Anyway, we were on the deck, listening to Hotel California done with saxophones and pianos. Justin said what a cool version of the song it was. He took a sip of his wine. And then he said: 

“My generation doesn’t make good music.” He said it with introspection, and insight. He was also right. This led to a discussion about some of the groups that he grew up with, most of whom aren’t really making music anymore and if they are, they’re not making memorable music and they’re touring in obscure locations throughout the world. Blink 182. Linkin Park. Nickelback. The boy bands that don’t even exist. 

We then went on to discuss the music he was raised with, which is the music he compares his generation’s lack-of-depth music to, people like Eric Clapton – he loves the Unplugged album specifically and Layla – and Sting – he’s a big fan of Fields of Gold. He likes U2, and he even had praise for the hair bands of the 80s like Bon Jovi. All before he was born. It was interesting to listen to him. 

He told us about a guy he works with who made a comment about Paul McCartney. Evidently the once-Beatle recently collaborated with Kanye West whom Justin affectionately calls a douche-canoe. It made both Kevin and I laugh. Justin’s friend heard the song they did together and made the following comment: “how cool is it that Kanye’s giving that old guy this opportunity. Must be the highlight of his life.” 

Justin nearly spit out whatever he was drinking at the time. 

My generation doesn’t make good music and then they make comments like that.

Justin is part of the Millennial Generation, also known as Generation Y or Gen Y. These are the people who were born between the early 1980s and the year 2000. Justin was born in 1991. They’re civic minded, they’re highly educated, upbeat and optimistic. They’re more open-minded than their parents on issues like same-sex marriage. They don’t tend to care about racial identity either, and they’re the least overtly religious generation. They were raised on the internet. They’re an interesting group. Smart, focused, non-judgmental. Opinionated. Fascinating. 

But lacking in the music of his parent’s generation. The Rolling Stones. Elton John. Bruce Springsteen. Eric Clapton. Rod Stewart. Sting and the Police. He listens to all of this music because we listened to all of this music. 

As jazz drifted from above, we all sipped wine, and enjoyed the fact that our generation, thankfully, did make that kind of music. Good. Classic. Lasting. And something to celebrate.                                                              

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