On Music

I thought that today I would write a post filled with nostalgia about music. I realise that this makes me an old fart who is complaining about the kids today and the music they listen to, and I’m fine with that. I just feel that there is something missing in today’s music. I miss epic power ballads like Metallica’s “The Unforgiven” or “One” or “Fade to Black” or countless others. I know that solos are frowned upon in today’s metal scene, but I really miss them. I also feel that the metal scene is a little poor today. There are some great bands but they are very few.

I know that it’s probably because I’m in my thirties now and Metal is more of a teenager’s genre of music. But I’m rarely moved to the emotional extremes that the metal of the early 190s and late 1980s can bring one to today. I remember listening to “Nothing Else Matters” while madly in love with a girl that didn’t like me in my room with the lights off. The lyrics and music would speak to me in so many ways. I still get echoes of those feelings of inadequacy and angst that populated my teenage years whenever I listen to those records. The raw alienation of “One” and the way it spoke to the feelings of inadequacy in one’s own body still touch me profoundly.

I know it sounds silly but I don’t see an equivalent to the rock scene of the 1990s today. There are no bands I can think of that really speak to the inadequacies that all teenagers feel. The angst and alienation one feels is completely underrepresented in today’s pop music. The corporatised hip hop scene with it’s bragging and hyper sexualisation of women is completely at odds with how I remember feeling as a teenager. I don’t remember being able to talk to girls I liked without feeling very self conscious and inadequate. I just miss listening to music that has emotional depth. Not just good lyrics but music that speaks just as much as words.

It’s impossible to talk about teenage angst without making references to the Grunge era. Indeed, while bands like Metallica were able to achieve great emotional music with complex harmonies, unusual time signatures, and very inventive chord progressions, Grunge bands were able to tap at those emotions with simple 3 or 4 chord progressions and raw writing. Both of them spoke to teenage alienation, but both did it differently. I still listen to that music, in fact I almost exclusively listen to music from the 1990s. I see very few bands that are able to do this today even in the “alternative” and “indi” scenes.

Anyway, that’s me moaning about the state of modern music and claiming that it was better in my day. My 15 year old self would probably be horrified to think that I would one day utter those words. At the same time I think that he would recognise that today’s music is a little lacking. I think that if I was 15 today, I wouldn’t have grown up to like music as much as I do today. I’m only speculating obviously, but I do think that I was lucky enough to grow up at a time when some of the best popular music was written, at least in terms of emotive force. Well that’s it for me moaning about the kids today with their trousers that show their underwear and their haircuts. I’m going to listen to some good power ballads and think of my impossible crushes.

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