If you have an Internet connection and some free time, you can hit up hundreds of sites that are great for finding new music. The best part about this availability is the amount of diverse genres that have sprouted up. There’s actually a genre called “Noisecore.” And it sounds exactly as you’d expect.
So with so many creative and interesting musicians out there, my spirit falls a little when I hear someone around my age (20s) go “I just listen to top 40.” Or worse yet, when I hear an older person beating the same dead horse that every elder says about the younger generations’ music, “Today’s music is so shallow. Why isn’t the music exactly like the music I listen to? What’s the point of trying new things if it isn’t going to sound just like Simon and Garfunkel? Shmer shmer shmer.”
I have a theory that the former feeds the ladder. AND HERE’S THE THING. Today’s music isn’t shallow. It’s just that the Top 40 of today serves a different purpose than it used to. Before the Internet really took off, radio was THE source for music unless your town had a great local music scene. So the artists that hit the radio were probably genuinely some of the better artists of that time. Not saying great artists didn’t slip through the cracks, but I can see why Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Buddy Holly, etc. etc. made it big time. Nowadays, we don’t need the radio to discover music, and for the most part, the most talented artists don’t necessarily create the biggest hits. Most of the Top 40 seems to be driven by our party culture. And it does a GREAT job. Generally, the sound is simple, has relatable lyrics, and is incredibly catchy. As much as I love The Avett Brothers, when I’m drunk off my ass at a club I just wanna dance and jam out to a chorus I can learn in 30 seconds.
Sometimes the more unique a sound is, the less popular it is. That’s why 19.7 million (based off Twitter followers) people flock to the typical happy, poppy sound of One Direction, versus 780 thousand people who flock to the heavier PopCore/Pop Punk sound of A Day To Remember. Does this mean One Direction is better? I would (strongly) argue no. But One Direction has a well-received sound that’s been popular since the late 80’s, versus A Day To Remember who are one of the firsts to combine pop punk and hardcore sounds successfully.
This is why I would ask both my fellow Millennials and our elders to please stop judging today’s music strictly off Kiss FM. But I’m not trying to be that holier-than-thou hipster either. I’m encouraging music enthusiasts to give up the endless hatred and elitist feelings towards the Top 40’s, and accept it for what it is: great party music. And maybe even just be a little less critical overall. I’m also encouraging “Beliebers,” “Directioners,” “Swifites,” etc. to explore your musical interests beyond the Top 40 list for your own personal growth and enjoyment.
Because at what point are you not even enjoying the idea of music anymore if you’re so picky you can only listen to one or two genres? It’s like the food critic in Ratatouille. He was a way happier dude once he stopped being a pretentious asshole. So let’s find artists on Twitter with less than 50K followers, buy $15 tickets for those up and coming acts in your hometown, but still squeal with joy when Ke$ha comes on the radio (okay that might just be me, but still). Together we can represent the vastness of our generation’s musical tastes.