Generation Y: Rock And Roll’s New Musical Messiahs
The thing about rock & roll is its ability to connect – to take the nouns of the world, draw them in, and push them up against each other until friction causes us to feel something. The thing about a rock & roll band, a great one anyways, is its ability to honestly verbalize the human condition. To find the words for everything from that sickness that hides in the corridors of our minds and bubbles up with anxiety from deep inside our bellies, to the absolute pinnacle of rapture, the body’s highest high. Rock & roll is the most natural sound a body can make, and yet, it seems like no one’s making any noise these days.
I’m not about to shit on the music industry or the quality of music today, its all very necessary, but it has been a really long time since we’ve been hit in the chest by a significant wave in popular music – music powerful enough to ignite change and define a generation. We need that, now more than ever. History has proven that music is capable of fostering hope and challenging norms, that when society fucks up we may find solace in a song, and that the art that moves us most has a little fire at its core. So what’s the problem? Music today has no cause, it’s lacking the essence – the emotion, passion, the sweat, sex, and soul that comes from the human body and makes it real.
We have become so caught up in this idea of perfection as progress, that we have let the animal qualities, the rawness, the scratch, the noise, and the “mistakes” of the music fall to the waste side. Music is stuck in a whirlwind of monkey see monkey do behaviours, and most kids today can’t even recognize the repetition because they have nothing else to compare it to. Yes, change is a scary thing, but it’s also the only constant that popular music has ever known. It takes some sort of change in the way the world functions to light the fuse for a musical movement and in today’s world that change is the Internet.
When Shawn Fanning released NAPSTER as a college student at Northeastern University in Boston in ’99, the music industry shit its proverbial pants. Although the company was only in operation for three short years before it was shut down over copyright violations (we all know that story), Fanning’s creation forced music industry bigwigs to reconsider all traditional methods of music distribution, serving as the catalyst for what would eventually become a restructuralization of the industry as a whole. In its wake, the industry reacted, it learned how to cope, and it kept on going, but it suffices to say that the music has suffered. Don’t get me wrong, there have been moments and there have been artists who have shined on, but overall we (and that includes both the industry and society as a whole), don’t value the creative mind the way we should anymore. We don’t take the time to nurture potential because we care more about making fast cash than fostering longevity. These things are not conducive to the ability of art to change people,who intern change the world. We need a change in perspective, a fresh approach, someone or something to show us how to jump into this headfirst and just feel it out a little. There is nothing to be afraid of here, so instead of coping and floating along as we have been for quite some time now, we can start to feel something again.
This is such an exciting time to be alive because there is a whole new generation of musicians, artists, poets and people coming up right now who are capable of pushing the boundaries of this new technology to its limits and breaking out on the other side of it all. This is a completely new way of living we are talking about here, and for the first time in history, popular music has the potential to reflect that way of life. What we need right now is a group of like-minded people who understand how to draw out that potential and who are committed to the adventure that is figuring out how to shape it accordingly. They call us Generation Y and we are rock & roll’s new musical messiahs.
We are a generation hungry and driven by our own ability to imagine, and we are willing to sweat passionately over the attainment of our desires. We do not take a passive attitude towards the music, media, and the cultures we both construct and participate in because we are eager to succeed. We are over this 15 minutes of fame bullshit, because we don’t want to just be good enough at what it is we do, we want to be the best there is. Yes we do want to wipe our asses with dollar bills, and we won’t apologize for it either because while some believe that smells like “entitlement,” we call that equal opportunity. We believe that we deserve nothing less than the next guy and we are willing to work just as hard if not harder to have whatever it is he’s got. But, what we’re really after here is bringing a little fire back to rock & roll – taking what we know (the technology) and putting it up against what we’ve learned (the music of the past), and then pushing.
The time is ripe for change, and just as the 60’s belonged to the Baby Boomers, what is happening today will never belong to another generation the way it will to ours. We are the “middle ground” between the Baby Boomers and Generation Z, and while the Baby Boomers had the disadvantage of having to learn a completely new way of living in light of the impact of new technology, we had the advantage of developing along side it. This is the natural progression of things. One group has past its prime and a new group must rise up in its place. Along with it will come new ideas, fresh attitudes, and altered approaches. This is not a blame game; this is about a need for a broadened sense of creativity.
Moving forward, the only limitations we have are those that we place upon our own imaginations. Rock & roll itself is such a young and fertile entity and the technology is still so new that the potential of being the first to do something unique, interesting, and creative with it is huge. And, that’s what this is really all about – exploring both our own capabilities and the capabilities of this new technology to music making, and waiting to see what we all come up with in the future. This generation’s got heart and that’s why we’ll do it. Rock & roll is raw and it comes from your guts – your heart isn’t a geometric shape it’s a bleeding organ. Rock & roll comes from the heart, your heart pumps blood to your brain, your brain makes you feel shit, and feeling shit makes you real. End of story.