Everywhere I Go, Kids Wanna…Listen to Computer Generated Music?

At no point did I envision Bryan Adams being the intro to anything that I would write about, but here I am and there he is. Back in the day he believed that everywhere he went, kids wanted to rock, and I think he was right. However, in today’s world few kids even know what rock or real music even is.

Recently, I had the pleasure of going to a concert where Donovan Frankenreiter and G. Love shared the stage together. These two accomplished artists each learned the intricacies of each others songs, in a way that only true musicians can. The only way I can describe the show is that you really had to be there to just feel the music and the vibe. I would classify it as rock, but instead I would say it was blues and some punk played with the right amount of soul. After all, doesn’t all great music hit you in the soul?

After the show, I engaged in a conversation with the person I went to the show with, and I told her that I felt bad for the younger generation today because I don’t think that they’ll ever get to experience a concert like that in their lifetimes. More importantly, I don’t think they’ll ever get to ‘feel’ a concert like that. Two accomplished artists playing with other great musicians, each fully engaged in the others music, and genuinely seeming to love just jamming and expanding on songs everyone already knew. In all honesty, it was two of the quickest hours I can remember listening to and experiencing live music.

Naturally, it got me thinking. I wondered if many of today’s popular artists could ever pull off a show like this. I mean literally, is it possible? A lot of popular artists don’t even have a band!

Scenes from Kendrick Lamar’s last tour

My two sons, 19 and 17, went to see Kendrick Lamar this last fall. They came home and told me how great it was. They showed me different videos and pictures, but all I could think was “where is the band?” I was trying to be kind and not step on their new all-time favorite memory, so I left that to my dad to actually verbalize what I was thinking. After all, isn’t that what grandparents are really good at?

But seriously, when I looked at the pictures and videos, all I saw was a guy by himself yelling out of key to the same exact computer generated sounds on the albums he created in a studio. Do they even alter the program slightly to expand on things, or do they have to sing things in accordance to the pre-programmed beat? Can an artist get caught up in the moment and deviate from the scripted, computer generated program, or must they go precisely as scheduled in order to not throw off the timing and cue of various effects? Is this even a concert, or should it be labeled as a show?

Now, I’m not naive enough to think that bands I enjoy just spontaneously break off into jams and riffs without knowing where the other artists are going. I know they spend countless days and hours designing and rehearsing their deviations from the studio tracks, but is there anything better than seeing musicians really showing off their ability and talents while having the space and freedom to hold a note a little longer than planned or to hang on to a smile for an extra second or two without worrying about the timing of the pyrotechnics putting others in danger?

Yes, I know I’m coming off as very “old-manish.” But that’s what I am in the music world. For so many years, I loved discovering new artists and sharing them with people I knew. I took pride in going to see bands that nobody else had heard of and getting them turned on to their music. Now, almost all new music sucks in my opinion. I don’t know or care about most new artists. I don’t understand the point they’re trying to make; and as much as my kids might plead with me, I simply can’t listen to new, popular artists for more than a few seconds without making some sarcastic, grumpy comment about how new music sucks!

This is seriously one of the most poplular songs of 2022-23. I could learn how to play this in a couple days, and the auto tune is comical. Yet, Selena Gomez can fill an arena! Please explain how this song doesn’t make you laugh!

If I do really love a new artist, it is usually because they are channeling a sound I love from previous genres of music, like The Heavy Heavy.

I’m not sure when the exact moment happened that I started feeling such a major disconnect to modern music, but it is rather profound. I still listen for new artists that people don’t know, but they’re probably never going to be popular. When I find a new modern song that I like by an artist, I’ll quickly take it to one of my kids and excitedly ask if they know this artist or have heard of the song. Usually they just scrunch up their face and act like I’m an idiot for bringing this to them, just like I do when they try to turn me on to their music. Also, I’ve reached the stage in my life where “new music” primarily consists of a band that I have liked for longer than 10 years puts out a new album.

I’m old in the music world, just like my parents got old in the music world around this age. But, something just feels different about this generation of music. Maybe it’s the kids and society of today, or maybe it’s just me; however, I feel like myself and my generation had a true appreciation of the music our parents grew up listening to. I genuinely love listening to music from the 60’s and 70’s. Little Steven’s Underground Garage is my go to channel on Sirius XM radio. That music is filled with passion and imperfection. In fact, that’s what makes it so authentic and relatable to all audiences. However, I don’t think this generation of kids has an appreciation for the artists of the 90’s. I mean, they might buy a cool, “retro” shirt with a band name on it, but I would bet less than half of the kids walking around with the t-shirt of an older band on could even name more than one song by them. When it comes to pop-country music, it is just too polished and neat to bring out any emotion. Most rap music is just a spattering of words I cannot relate to, couple with the constant use of a word that I refuse to ever use or condone. Pop artists have every note tuned to perfection and lyric crafted that it is nearly impossible to identify a pulse behind the sound. Simply put, I just don’t get it.

That’s part of growing up, I guess. I never expected my parents to understand or enjoy grunge music. And for the record, I never really enjoyed it or understood it myself. 80’s hair metal, eh, it’s got some good hooks and memorable guitar riffs, but I get why my parents were quick to dismiss it. It never measured up to music that had soul and grit. Then, maybe most music doesn’t. Maybe I’m always searching for music that most other people are not. Judging by the size of the venues I go to see the bands I love perform, most other people are not understanding what I find great about music. Maybe I should just stop being a grumpy old dick when it comes to music. Nah, music is something you’ve got to feel!

Bryan Adams said it best: This computerized crap ain’t gettin’ me off!

It is definitely not getting me off; in fact, it just annoys and confuses me. Why are true musicians making humble earnings while computer generated ‘beat masters’ are making millions? Why are some decent singers or average bands with a fiddle considered icons, while others are never heard of by others?

The music pallet is certainly a confusing one, especially as I get older. Music of the new generation is crap! Or at least, that’s what I try to convince my kids of when they play me the popular artists of today. There are about 50 great rap songs ever made, and the rest are just noise with erratic beats and auto-tunes. Country music has chords mastered by middle school musicians and lyrics taken from a fifth graders journal on a bad day.

Yeah, I’m probably over-exaggerating to get some people going, but as I get older the more Bryan Adams is full of shit! Maybe back in 1984, kids everyone wanted to rock! I know Twisted Sister spoke to me! However, rock music today is dead. Kids don’t take the time to master things like people did in the past, and great music is suffering because of it. While I used to laugh at the teacher in the video below, I think I’m now a lot closer to him than I want to admit. Everywhere I go today, kids are listening to computer generated crap, and I just don’t get it!

Published by mikegallo314

I have been in education for over 20 years, and it has been an amazing and rewarding career. I grew up on the east side of St. Louis, and I'm an avid sports fan. My three biggest addictions in life are the St. Louis Cardinals, St. Louis Blues, and University of Illinois athletics. I love listening to rock blues, and americana styled music. Throughout the years I have coached boys and girls basketball from the youth levels to the varsity level, and the last 10 years I have coached travel baseball. I have a passion for writing, and a long list of experiences and topics that I like to share my thoughts on. The best part about writing, are the conversations and thoughts that are shared as a result.

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