I have this vivid childhood memory of listening to Nirvana’s “Nevermind” on my Sony Discman and HORRIFYING a friend of my mother’s. That Kurt Cobain was a no good malcontent who did heroin and wrote about all kinds of things that could warp a young mind like mine. And did I know about that music video on the MTV? The cheerleaders had tattoos and hairy armpits. Surely this was a sign of our society’s moral decay. WHAT HAS BECOME OF OUR YOUTH?!
In the car this morning Nirvana came on the radio as I was listening to The End, a station where all the big ‘90’s alternative rock all-stars are in heavy rotation. Sure they throw in some Imagine Dragons and Macklemore to keep up youthful appearances but there’s no getting around the fact that if Green Day and Beck are getting major airplay the station you’re listening to is an oldies channel for people in their 30’s and 40’s who aren’t emotionally ready to admit they’re listening to an oldies channel.
I’m probably as old now as my mother’s friend was then. Now I’m a PTA member who cheerfully listens to The End at kindergarten pick up. I don’t bat an eye when my five year old’s in the car and that no good malcontent Cobain boy comes on. I bet my mother’s friend did the same but her Nirvana was the Rolling Stones.
I suppose this means it’s my turn to be horrified by pop culture phenomena that are corrupting the kids these days though I’ve been listening to The End lately so I’m not as up on potential outrage targets as I could be.
I wonder if every generation manages to smugly convince themselves that the music of their youth was just edgy enough to be meaningful but this new stuff is over the line. Is there actually a type of music than can warp young minds? Or does aging just make us prone to turning into that anti-dancing guy from “Foot Loose”?
I don’t know. But after “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was over that new fangled “Royals” song that the kids are yammering about came on the radio and it was kind of catchy so maybe there’s hope.