Opinions on another generation's music

The day I realized I was officially ‘old’ was the year when I watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and realized I had never even heard of any of the musical artists that participated. Apparently, it’s considered quite normal to consider the music that appeals to the current youth generation as being either vapid or just noise, or even vapid noise. Was it always so? I suspect not.

One thing I have noticed in my lifetime is that it once seemed the youth regarded preceding generations’ music as being antiquated and lame (e.g. big band music is Geritol music), but I’ve run into lots of millennials that seem to have a rather high regard for rock music from the 1960’s forward.

How far back in time do we need to go? The older generation thought Swing Music and Jazz were frivolous or scandalous music, repeat for Rock & Roll, then Disco and Rap, etc.

Also moved to The Café in place of the Game Room.

As a fifty something who employs a lot of twenty somethings, I can confirm this. I’ve had to listen to more Styx and ELO in the last decade than I did in the 1970s.

Long enough to see if patterns emerge. Presumably our personal experience pool will diminish rapidly the further back we go.

It occurs to me, one factor that almost certainly influences generational attitudes is the prevailing forms of mass media found throughout the decades.

This comment surprises me. I thought it pretty well established that - at least for the last century or 2, older folk tended to disfavor “newer” music.

Going the other way, I wonder. Back when I was young, I would have ignorantly dissed Sinatra, etc. But at the time there WERE young folk who were celebrating folk. So I wonder how much the “lots of millennials” you’ve run into represent the average or the modern equivalent of 60s folkies. But I have been at weddings where I was surprised at how many “oldies” made up the playlists.

Now, in my 60s, my favorite music has its roots in oldtime/bluegrass/country predating my 1960 birth.

I’m sure the Baroque music fans hated that new-fangled classical crap. “Kids these days! Give me a well-tempered clavier any day. And these youngsters and their melodies! Pish-tush.”

I was going to say this. Before radio and vinyl, when music was in person, if you didn’t like the artist you could take them or leave them a lot of the time. Then, when radio came out, you may be eager for your own types of music but keep running into old music that doesn’t energize you on the radio. And you didn’t have a choice unless you wanted to buy the music on your own, and dedicate a substantial portion of your time to finding the music you wanted to listen to.

Then, the Internet made both researching and listening to what you wanted to much easier, so you don’t have a lot of people resenting previous music because they had a choice.

I wonder, though, if the percentage of Gen Z that like late 60s and 70s music is less than the number of Millennials that did, since social media has allowed people to become so siloed that they don’t seek out older music. Which isn’t to say that there isn’t a lot more Gen Z’ers listening to Led Zeppelin than there were Boomers listening to Tin Pan Alley music, just that it may not be as widespread as it was for Millennials.

Another reason I suspect that this is the case is that there hasn’t been any widespread popular rock made for a decade and a half, so people who are already exposed to K-pop won’t want to go back and look at classic rock, whereas people who are already fans of nu-metal and pop punk might be more amenable to other forms of rock.

The reason I said I suspected it was not always so is that while this would seem to be true of the 20th and 21st century, we can look back in preceding centuries and see that the rate at which musical forms change is much slower, and it seems likely that someone listening to popular music from, say, the 1850’s during the 1880’s would find much less difference in terms of musical form, than say a comparable 30 year interval in the 20th century like the 1940’s to the 1970’s.

Yes, but the youngsters tend to focus in on particular hits. So in the case of Styx, it’s “Mr. Roboto” but not “Lights”. In the case of ELO, it’s “Mr. Blue Sky” but not “Midnight Blue”.

This is really important. When drama, comedy, sports, and variety shows fled radio for TV in the 1950s it was only good for one thing, marketing to a new creature called the teenager. They had to give teens something too outlandish for TV’s mass audience. Something that would appeal to the most rebellious generation in modern history. It happened to a lesser extent between cable and broadcast TV a few decades later. As media has become less generationally specific, I think that dynamic has been rather diffused in recent decades. Rap and Death Metal are in their dotage. What other generationally divisive genres have arisen since?

Yeah - that’s why I narrowed my response to the last century or 2. Other than references to people rioting over Stravinsky and what Amadeus taught me about “modern” music ;), I know little about the changes in “classical” music. Seems like just about EVERYTHING changed more slowly back then, no? One other wrinkle might be immigrants bringing their native music to their new land, but I don’t know.

There’s another interesting dynamic going on there too. Traditionally, ‘classical’ composers often plundered folk music for material.

Are today’s “millenials liking 60s rock” that different from “oldies” stations that seem to have been around - and somewhat popular - since at least the 80s.

One weird tangent is when I’m in a grocery store and hear something like Prince played as background music. Just really throws me off kilter to think such music is deemed inoffensive background “Muzak.”

Devo were pioneers in oh so many ways:

Devo - EZ Listening Muzak (Full Album) - YouTube

I think there’s been some kind of fundamental shift in the way music is distributed, and it’s playing out differently for different generations.

For Gen-X and older, who were raised on the radio and whatever was available at local record stores, the new distribution methods are a way to basically find MORE of what we already like- you can go find all the Fat Boys albums if you so desire, or you can go hunt down all the Debbie Gibson you can stand.

But for younger generations, who have more or less grown up with the world’s music at their fingertips, the newer distribution methods means that a band like ELO is on an equal footing with say… Drake, and can be evaluated independently from what’s on the radio right now, what’s in the bins at the record store, or what your friends are listening to (which was what’s on the radio and in the bins at the record store). And since there’s not really that concept of their parents listening to some antiquated old garbage from a record on the hi-fi, they aren’t as hostile toward their parents’ music as earlier generations were.

Don’t really have an opinion of contemporary music because I have little exposure to it. But, I do have a question; Is any of it fun? I mean like in the 50s music was fun - Mambo Italiano, Delicado, Cmona My House, Shrimp Boats, It’s in the Book, Yokahama Mama. Any novelty songs? Like Chinese Mule Train?

Beethoven’s music was considered unintelligible, and his later works virtually unplayable by some of his contemporaries.

I’m currently learning the first movement of his Moonlight Sonata. I’ve reached the point where the famous arpeggio figures fade into a series of runs, 20% of which have accidentals (measures 32-38). In a polished performance, this is a moment of wonderful, mysterious suspension. But playing them slowly and still hesitatingly as I do, they sound meandering and weird.

My brother was born in 1982, in his 20s (the 2000s), he shocked me by getting very into Sinatra and other crooners. I was born in 1980, and in high school in the 90s, I remember that myself and a lot of my friends listening to the Classic Rock station - and getting into Led Zeppelin, the Who, etc.

So I’m not terribly surprised by Gen-Z listening to 90s rock or Millennials listening to 80s stuff.

I wonder if a lot if younger guys get into Sinatra not for the music, but the attitude.

I admit that much of today’s music is, in my humble opinion, utter crap, but then 90% of music when I was growing up was also crap and I mostly just remember the good stuff that has endured. Sturgeon’s Law remains a useful rule of thumb.

Mostly I keep an eye on what my young daughter is listening to as I find she often picks songs and artists that I would never even have considered but do like (amusing anecdote: in the Spotify “What you’ve been listening to” roundup, my wife, my daughter and I all separately had “Bubblegum Bitch” by Marina as one of our most-listened-to singles).

But then we’re an odd family, music-wise. When I was growing up I happily listened to popular music going back to the 1920s, and my main playlist is a mix of pretty much everything.