Ignore The Sunday Times – Today’s Young Artists are doing Great Things

A headline surfaced in my news feed today – an article from The Sunday Times in the UK proclaiming, “Modern pop is rubbish, says Damon.”  The Blur front man says music stars of the ‘selfie generation’ should sing about politics, not just chant platitudes.

The article addressed today’s youth culture, and pictured Taylor Swift as the spokeswoman of their generation.  But The Times and Damon have got it all wrong.


Pop is relatively inconsequential – like the loudmouth in the room at a party carrying on to hear himself speak… no one cares and he is forgotten when the moment has passed.

I’ve spoken with a number of musicians from what the article dubs, “the selfie generation” and the term honestly doesn’t apply.  Nor does the term from a previous but similar article which called them “the Belieber generation.”  These kids don’t revere teen pop stars as anything relevant outside of the tiny bubble that is pop music.  They are interested in more socially and culturally significant concepts, like the role of technology in their lives and the globalization of culture.  Or any number of other values of relevance ranging from widely-demographic to simply personal.  Because that’s what the youth culture is – individual, creative people, not a swarm of mindless bodies jumping up and down to whoever Disney tells them to worship.

Certainly – Taylor Swift and Bieber were massively popular.  It’s an inevitability because they were designed to be popular – saccharine-sweet over-simplified melodies repeated ad nauseum, super-saturating every mass-media market  in the world.  But outside of those irritatingly-loud broadcast spheres, in the minds of growing teens forming their own values and opinions about the world around them, those media outlets matter less and less every day.  They blare on at full-volume 24/7, desperately begging consumers to buy their associated merchandise, but kids quickly grow out of that infinitesimal world and move on to something bigger and far more important in their lives.

In 100 years, music history won’t droll on about Bieber or Britney, any more than they would about  Frankie Avalon or Ricky Nelson.  Momentary teen pop sensations are irrelevant in the grand scheme.  Instead, they will teach the incredible impact of Cage and Glass the way they do today about Bach and Beethoven.  Rock’s brief but vibrant life will be summarized by Dylan and The Beatles.  Other than a handful of household names, the whole of teen pop will be forgotten, just as it is when it is recycled, again and again, every three to five years.

I have a lot more faith in “the selfie generation.”  They’re doing great things musically – you just have to listen to them.


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  1. I have to concur. I’ve played video clips to middle schoolers, in the past couple years, that use pop music to illustrate concepts I was trying to teach them… their reaction is most often one of disgust. They don’t want to hear it any more! I do have to posit, however, that we could be confusing their thirst for new and different music for a nearly inborn expectation of instant gratification and the world at their fingertips. I’m also not sure that all this consumerism a musician makes, effectively. They really should let me teach them instruments so they can really express themselves 😛

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