Sunday, April 26, 2020
It's been a long lonely lonely lonely lonely lonely time
There is a kind of genre of YouTube videos where some young, but supposedly accomplished person listens to some older music, ostensibly for the first time, and reacts to it. Like "Young opera singer listens to Freddy Mercury- Mind Blown" or "Talented Rap producer reacts to Desolation Row. Wow!" I guess the idea is to watch these young professionals be amazed or something, but what happens instead is that they nod their heads thoughtfully to the music and go "This is really gooood." And the middle aged person watching just wonders "How did a 22 year old singer never hear of The Beatles! (or whatever it is they're listening to)."
A few days ago my lovely wife and I randomly fell to watching some video excerpts on YouTube of the Global Citizen, One World Together at Home concert. I had stumbled into the Rolling Stones performance, which, while a straight forward ancient rehash, was terribly charming, so we tried some of the other things without much success. To be fair the awful, schmaltzy, lackluster performances were as much by old legends as by young stars (the two oddly respectable performances being by the Stones, having fun, and Taylor Swift being kind of human, which stood out in that crowd), but it all did cause me to have a vision of a YouTube video of older people reacting to newer music. We could have one called maybe "Crabby 65 year old guy reacts to Lizzo's Truth Hurts" He could sit there with his headphones trying to get into it, pause it halfway, and say "It's not bad. Do I need to listen to the rest of it?"
I'd do it, but I'm only 55.
A few days ago here I wrote about my library director's plan to deal with the problems of our library during pandemic by, dramatic drum roll, "Implementing Appreciation". And it was about how that was a microcosm of my whole country and how we seem to have moved from a "Maybe we can help people" mode, over to a "Let's just thank them instead" mode. It's so much cheaper, and look, we don't have to change anything that makes us, the people in charge, feel uncomfortable or less important! Not least on my mind in that discussion was the Global Citizen, One World Together at Home concert. A bunch of stars, wealthy beyond (or at the level of) our dreams, cozy in their large but strangely bourgeois and middle class looking living rooms, super sincerely thanked people, all those tireless, wonderful, essential people, low paid shitty working conditions afraid of not having a job or money people, and sang some toothless songs of harmony for them to, um, make them happy, and, um, thank them, a lot.
I think this, all of this, is the reason Rock and Roll was invented in the first place.
Rock n Roll: You remember, 1958 to, I don't know, to The White Stripes? A little to cut the bullshit. A little to fight the power. And a lot for all the too big and dangerous feelings.
But now everyone in music is so very professional and competent and running a business.
You know: Show biz.
Don't you know? It was all show biz all along.
And we come full circle.
Isn't there anyone freakishly talented, 19, and angry out there?