If you hate it, sick you may be an old fogey
Folks of the older generation who grew up listening to Dire Straits, Eagles, Led Zeppelin and Def Leppard may cringe when they hear the present generation swooning to the sugary tracks of Taylor Swift and Kelly Clarkson or the overkill of Justin Bieber. What great music we listened to in our times, they brag! What rubbish are the kids of today listening to! Lady Gaga! Aarggh!
But are the youth of today, tagged Gen-Y as the millenial generation, really incapable of choosing between good music and the mediocre stuff?
Just the way the world is full of diversity, music, too, has its different avatars and evolving genres. If you’re no spring chicken and you think yesterday’s music is good and today’s isn’t, take a long look in the mirror and try to remember your younger self and what he or she thought of the old fogeys who criticized you for loving Zeppelin. Have you become that fogey?
Why not enjoy the new revolutions? And by the way, a lot of the young ones dig your old tunes, so why not give theirs a chance?
Talk to young Goans about their tastes and chances are you’ll be surprised by their nuanced, open-minded view of music. Here’s a sampling.
Wellington Vaz, a young bass and lead guitarist for a band called X-friends, is a hard-core heavy metal lover who appreciates both old and new. “I love metal and classic rock. I just love Iron Maiden, I think they are the best in metal, they have been playing for three generations now! They recently played at a concert in India. These guys are a living symbol for Rock and Metal.”
A student of Dempe College, Wellington takes his praise for older music even further. “They no longer have proper solos in a track. Metallica would have four solos in a single song as in ‘Fade To Black’. Today we don’t have such ground breaking bands that could script history. On the other hand, I feel Coldplay is a very creative band in the alternative genre. Chris Daughtry and Linkin Park brought in a whole new dimension to the rock alternative rock scene by introducing rap into it. And the band ‘30 Seconds To Mars’ has a little bit of the true Rock.”
Samuel Pinto, a drummer with The Streetlight People, a Goa-based blues-rock band, also has a hearty appreciation for all the music that preceded his not-very-long life.
“I like listening to Jazz, Blues, Rock and Alternative Rock. There is some real quality in that music,” says Pinto, a student of Journalism at St. Xavier’s College, Mapusa. He is very particular about his tastes. “I really look up to artists like Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, who were the founders of Heavy Metal music, and Deep Purple. Even today we do get some good music like Robert Randolph playing the blues, Pearl Jam is still hot and so are the Foo Fighters. It’s just that there are fewer takers as preferences have changed over the years. And so has the music.”
As she sits in the food court of St. Xavier’s, earphones plugged in and a novel in hand, here’s what Sonia Fernandes has to say about music.
“I love listening to country western music. I love the sound of the fiddle and country guitar …Don Williams, Kenny Rogers and Zac Brown are few of the people I listen to. I would like to say I have developed an interest in this genre over time. As a high school kid I would listen to Hip Hop, Pop and Rap. I think it’s mainly because of the peer pressure and also because there is all that hype created.”
She feels youngsters like these artists for the images that have been created by the record companies. Boy bands and artists like Maroon Five, Britney Spears, Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber and others are projected as cool and the kids connect to these images.
Wellington Vaz has his own likes and dislikes, but when it comes to playing for others, he’s not immune to the preferences of the market.
“In college we play only classic rock and heavy metal. As a performing band we go with the audience requirements. Youngsters love listening to pop and electronica now.”
Some savvy young musicians frown at the commercialisation of music, lamenting how record labels have influenced the course of musical history and trends.
“What is happening now is that the record companies are producing for artists only for money. There’s no real creativity and talent. Just the hype,” says Samuel Pinto. “They cater to a particular audience and this section of the crowd is large. Today it’s more of a market. Record companies are producing mainly for money and are hence investing only in the hyped-up and mushy artists.”
Joshua D’Cunha says the kind of music he listens to depends on his mood. He stood with his Dr Dre headphones perched on his head as he pondered, “My all-time favourite would be reggae. What I don’t like about the music of today is the variations introduced in pure genres. For example, the Reggae-Tonga which is a mixture of reggae and a bit of the jumpy Latin music.”
He, too, appreciates both the old and the new. “The old belonged there. It catered to the audiences of that particular era. Some marvellous music is being produced these days, but now there are so many divisions that a line cannot be drawn between genres.”
So as music television and the powerful record companies push their pet bands to the teeny-bopper market, many young listeners initially go through the teen ritual of adoring this ‘trendy music’. At some point, many begin to turn away, towards the classics of earlier generations and the vast branches of music ? soul, rap, grunge, alt-rock, jazz, trance, chillout and more ? finally choosing their groove for adulthood.
But the journey of music never ends, and these Gen-Y travellers will see even more changes in the skies of music ahead. Music, that immortal organism, will keep looping into itself as well as evolving forward forever.