Trust Me, At Fifteen; You Had Terrible Taste In Music
Before you start storming Castle Horatio with your trendy pitchforks and torches, demanding that I be released to your custody for such heresy, take a deep breath, peel off the emo glasses for ten minutes, and take a look in the mirror.
See that? You’re an adult. When you were fifteen, you didn’t have the cares you have now. The wrinkles. The bad memories of terrible days at work, slaving for a boss who has no right to hold the position he’s in. You lived rent free. Had a personal chauffeur in the form a parental guardian to shovel you back and forth from trips to the mall like the ungrateful cattle we all were. And despite living in relative freedom and carelessness, you also carried with you a terrible disease. The inability to have good taste in music.
We all went through it. Cleaning out CD bins and folders; becoming deeply ashamed when you realize that a) Joey Lawrence did release a pop album and b) you spent money on it. When I was fifteen, the Internet wasn’t even a series of tubes. It was in its birthing stages of chatrooms and bulletin boards. Napster hadn’t even been dreamed up. Local radio was king and you were at the mercy of what was blaring out at you.
Here’s the actual situation. Much like modern media such as the newspaper, before television, all Americans got their news from the morning and evening editions of world reports on paper. Most only got the local paper. And as such, you were subject to the bias of the writer’s opinions, no matter how skewed, because you had nothing to compare it with. Same with radio versus the non-existence of the Internet. If you never heard music outside of your parents collection of Iron Butterfly and Quicksilver Messenger Service, you would’ve thought the entire world was tripping balls for the last decade and a half.
And herein lies the problem. What you should’ve been listening to growing up, wasn’t played because record companies have to stick to the most profitable format. If that means playing “Chumbawumba”, “Jumper”, and “Iris” on play list repeat, that means you’ll never hear genius like Failure or Swervedriver. It also means that much like feral children who grow and adapt to the wild of their surroundings, your tastes in everything were shaped by what you heard. This is evident as you got older and more wiser, realizing the error of your adolescent ways.
But instead of improving this auditory apocalypse, the Internet has only compounded this problem. Now, you are assaulted with the 24/7 bullshit explosion of Justin Bieber’s Twitter account as if anyone wants to hear the wise musings of a kid whose balls have yet to drop. If the Internet was a structure in a DnD campaign, it would have infinite floors, filled with nothing but undead camwhores who want to tell you much they love MCR and Harry Potter and why you’re a giant faggot for hating any slash fiction combo thereof.
Which brings me to this philosophical conclusion and apparent truth. This generation of teenagers is without a doubt, the dumbest bumper crop of tasteless, slack-jawed morons ever produced. My generation is responsible for crap like Spice Girls and killing before it had a chance to do any real damage. But today? Anyone with a YouTube account and the power to troll the music industry is the next big thing, forcing the rest of us real music loving individuals to set up base camp in the sewers.
At fifteen, I can look at my Korn and Silverchair CD’s and crack up laughing. Nostalgia is the feeling of realizing the utter worthlessness of something you once assigned value to. The real systemic problem with music in general, is not the evils of the huge record conglomerate or the man keeping “good” music from being able to be played. In the end it’s really about money and what sells. If I could play shitty pop and be the next Fall Out Boy, I’d start whoring myself out immediately.
But for those of us with dignity however, we must take solace in the knowledge that it is not elitism that makes us judge music, but the sincerity with which it is produced and enjoyed.
It’s why you were an idiot at fifteen for buying Limp Bizkit. And in some cases, explains why you just bought Ke$ha.
Dante Villanova is an avid freelance fiction writer, movie reviewer, and video game enthusiast. He dual wields sarcasm and cynicism like twin katanas and enjoys filleting pop culture for sport.