Today, December 16, is the 242 birthday of famed composed Ludwig van Beethoven. Even those least familiar with classical music have heard of the maestro (often relating the fact that as a skilled musician he was ironically deaf). We hear his 5th Symphony in films, cartoons, and even commercials! The first four notes have been sampled by musicians in jazz, rock, R&B, and more.
Beethoven is one of the most celebrated artists in history, famous not only for his music but his manic personality. One of my favorite films, Immortal Beloved, best captured the music and spirit of this genius. So today, crank up your stereos and sing along – Bum bum bum BUUUUUUMMMM and raise a toast to his genius!
The other day, I had a few students hanging out in my office (I am a floating teacher, I have no room to call home, so I have a small office in the library). They were sharing with me their music and I was horrified. “Why?” You ask? “Was it loud? Obnoxious? Laced with profanities? Encouraging violence? Complaining about the world around them? Promoted a message against ‘the man’?” No! It was none of that! In fact, I would say that it was wholesome, unobtrusive, inoffensive, easy to follow, melodic… in short, drivel.
Call me old fashioned, but part of being a teenager is being rebellious, bucking the ‘status quo,’ annoying your parents and everyone else over 21. The music of today’s youth represents none of that. I think they even use it to bond with their parents as opposed to rebel. A few of my student even gleefully told me stories of how they went to concerts with their parents. Horrifying. Of course, that may also be because going to a concert these days costs a small fortune.
When I was a teenager, half of my music tastes were solely to annoy my parents. I poured my babysitting money into cassettes as my mother continuously destroyed them believing that they were literally satanic. Kids these days have never even heard of a cassette or an 8-track… I listened to angry rockstars sing about love, the establishment, warfare, dropping out of school, fighting for your right to party, or any myriad of things that angered the older generation (the only requirement). I remember when I purchased Ice T’s iconic classic “Cop Killer.” Did I mention that my father had worked his way through Law School as a police officer? That went over well…
So, what is wrong with the world today? I propose that it is the music of ‘the kids these days.’ It’s their music. It has no marker of rebellion, anger, or discontent that marked the youth of my generation. Buck it up children!