Day 218: I Might Not Understand Music.

I feel like Motley Crue, Ratt, and Metallica were the last decent bands. Is that pretty much the same as my grandpa claiming the whole world went to shit after Woody Guthrie died?  I’ve tried so hard. I feel like I’m supposed to like Mumford and Sons and Wilco and all that other stuff, but honestly, it just sounds like people telling long boring stories about growing up in the midwest while someone hits a banjo with a can of beans. I’ve seen bands like that live, and they all seem like they’re practicing for a different show at a later date.

I don’t want to be stuck in 1985-1992, but there’s nothing drawing me out. I’m looking at the top music on iTunes and I don’t even know who the artists are. Who’s Matt Kearney? I’ve never heard of him so I listened to a song and it sounded like some innocent cheery stuff they would play at rehab to prevent cravings and suicides.  So I tried Bon Iver and thought  Elliot Smith had come back to life and been lobotomized.  Am I looking at the wrong chart? Ok, let’s try the alternative charts. “The Horrors” is the top artist. Never heard of them, but I listened to 20 seconds of their most popular song and it sounded like Morrissey having an orgasm on top of a Pixar soundtrack. The second most popular is a band called “Drugstore.” Never heard of them either, but 20 seconds in and I totally get it: Someone gave Stevie Nicks a pan flute and put her in a hot teepee with 15 Native American Drummers and a random dude with a dulcimer. If that’s ACTUALLY what it was, I would of course buy it and bathe in it. But it’s not, so it feels meaningless and random. Hey I could be wrong about these artists, but if I don’t hear real, honest stuff or at least an explosion or the revving of a motorcycle in the first 20 seconds, you’ve lost me.

Oh, and I don’t even know what rap or hip hop is. Rap just sounds like a toddler with a speech impediment yelling over a Flock of Seagulls song. I don’t really listen to hip hop unless I’m stuck in an urban Chuck E. Cheese, but from what I can tell it was all recorded with the wrong equipment by people they dragged in off the street. Did you guys just get a bunch of drunk people to hit stuff along to the beat of a fuzzy bass?

There’s two modern bands I enjoy, The New Pornographers (good, fun original pop music), and I think there are a couple of tolerable songs by Arcade Fire (even though the name makes me want to set Williamsburg on fire). Maybe I’m missing something, but anything else makes me feel like I’m stuck listening to a college student read their poetry. I get what they’re trying to do but I’m bored because it’s too self conscious. I think modern angst is forced and embarrassing. Yea, I know you’re depressed. Everyone is these days, I get it. Because of that, I just want to hear from people who are having a guilt-free good time.

I hope it’s just all because I’m getting old and don’t have time to adjust my tastes. Because if it’s not, we’re all in trouble. Does jazz even exist anymore? Just so you don’t think I’m all negative, there are some other recent bands I like (Mastodon, System of a Down). Unfortunately, the other people who like them belong in a Monster Energy drink commercial. Remember, this is all just my opinion and I’m probably wrong. Keep doing what you’re doing, I’ll be here with my Cinderella Pandora station.

I'm a contributing writer to Parents Magazine, GQ, Psychology Today and some others. My book, "This is Ridiculous. This is Amazing: Parenthood in 71 Lists" is available here Look for two more books in 2015: "Must. Push. Buttons (Bloomsbury Kids), and an as-of-yet untitled memoir I’ve appeared on Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham” and “Nick Mom’s Night Out." I live in New Jersey with my wife and two sons and enjoy making them laugh more than anyone else.

13 comments On Day 218: I Might Not Understand Music.

  • Man, I miss the hair bands of the '80s!

  • Sounds like you may be a Fleetwood Mac fan, if so, check out The Belle Brigade. Similar harmonies and a guilt free good time. But I hear ya. I have a play list that I listen to most of the time called "70s/80s" and it makes me very happy. I'm a fan of Vampire Weekend too, but they are very poppy, may not be for a hard rocker like yourself (same with Belle Brigade, now that I think about it…)

  • Although I'm constantly listening to new music, I wholeheartedly agree – where did rock that was rock go? A couple recent choice pics: the XX, Metric, Muse, Slim Cessna's Auto Club, Gogol Bordello. None of them really grab me the same way though. And none of that is making the top 10 on iTunes.

  • I'm with you on both new pornographers and arcade fire. for the record, I don't know who matt kearney is either and I like it that way.

  • I am pretty impressed with Metric and Sally Seltmann. But I find myself listening mostly to The Cure and old stuff like Nina Simone. I'm 36 going on 90. Git off my lawn.

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