Listen Up, Pals: You're Not Special Because You Like Old Music
5 January 2016, 15:31 | Updated: 8 May 2017, 17:09
Hate to be the bearer of bad news
We're friends now, right? We've known each other long enough that I can speak freely about a very important topic, right? Great. We need to talk about everyone's weird fixation with being a "credible music fan".
I'm not talking about fans of 1920s rag time or 40s swing (where my Ella Fitzgerald stans at?) I'm talking about the fact that whenever someone wants to seem credible in their taste, they're suddenly a huge fan of every vintage 60s and 70s rock band. Suddenly Bob Dylan is their inspiration for living, The Rolling Stones "changed everything" and the Beatles are their "favourite band".
The Beatles' back catalogue was recently added to streaming services, in move that felt decidedly...inconsequential. Sure, Twitter went wild for The Beatles and it was, admittedly, a big acquisition moment. What was more interesting, however, was how quickly "real" music fans came out of the woodworks.
If you aren't excited about The Beatles being on Spotify than you suck and you can't convince me otherwise.— R. Stanton Cagle (@caglers) December 27, 2015
It leads you to wonder why a person's apparent love for an older band MUST translate into their hatred of modern music. As if music is a video game and you get more experience points for listening to Bob Dylan play the harmonica for 20 minutes.
Surely the authenticity police are taking cues from Noel Gallagher's "if it doesn't have guitars, it's not real music" mentality. But I'm here to bust a hole in that theory.
Plot twist: What if all music has merit, not just vintage rock songs about war and flowers?
I'd say that the closest thing we have to 20th century rock Gods are producers. A lot more work than people realize goes into being a producer. A producer can make or break an artist's career and they're rarely ever acknowledged as the architects of the biggest names in music.
Max Martin, for example, has truly defined music for the last 20 years. He is nothing short of a genius and, yet, the authenticity police would have you believe that his work doesn't have as much merit at Bob Dylan's.
When Grimes talks about how she handcrafts every single one of her beats and sings over them as well, that is undeniably an example of true modern artistry. In the year 2050, people will be listening to Grimes and talking about how they were born in the wrong generation.
The truth is that people are always going to think an old thing is better than a new thing. It has to do with the fact that your parents and grandparents validated that music for you when you were a child and so it seems to have more merit.
Don't get me wrong. I'm a huge vintage rock fan. I have every lyric from Fleetwood Mac's Rumours tattooed on my lower back. The first record I ever bought was a Queen record. I'm one of the only people I know who genuinely enjoys the music of AC/DC. But it's got to be said: the authenticity police are the exact opposite of what it means to be a music fan. Enjoy the music you enjoy and stop going on about being "born in the wrong generation".