Joel Monka caught a doo-whop special on PBS last night and the nostalgia of the old people really got to him.
At CUUMBAYA, he writes:Suddenly it occurred to me that this was another thing denied to the Hip-hop generation. That they’ve been denied a positive, uplifting cultural experience in the present is pretty clear- but they’ve also been denied in the future the kind of societal-binding nostalgia their parents have, the camaraderie of shared cultural experience the oldies induce.
I don't worry about that. After all, Baby-Boomer era music is more or less about screwing and using drugs and people seem to feel nostalgic about that.
I liked alternative as a teenager and admittedly, I didn't listen to too terribly much Hip-Hop, but I have very tender feelings toward 2 Live Crew's Banned in the USA.
Goodness, even reading the lyrics again brought back being twelve years old and standing in front of a clock radio in my bedroom really understanding for the first time how music could be art and could capture and explain great depths of feeling.
"Wisen up, 'cause on Election Day,
We'll see who's banned in the U.S.A.!"
still stirs my soul a bit.
"So all you right-wingers, left-wingers, bigots, Communists,
there IS a place for you in this world!
Because this is the land of the FREE, the home of the BRAVE!
And 2 Live is what we are!"
does too, perhaps irrationally so as the idea expressed certainly isn't very unusual, but it really spoke to me when I was a kid.
That said, most people who would make Joel's argument probably are not with me on those particular lyrics, so I will point out that the same folks who listen to rap when they are in one mood I suspect often listen to snuggly R+B when they are in another. Decades from now, Boys II Men will no doubt be gray-haired and crooning if they want to be. Also, Ne-Yo has songs like Sexy Love and So Sick that are acceptably croonable.
I particuarly like "So Sick" because it has the lyrics:
Cuz I'm so sick of love songs
So tired of tears
So done with wishing she was still here
Said I'm so sick of love songs so sad and slow
So why can't I turn off the radio?
I recall feeling EXACTLY this way when I broke up with my first serious boyfriend and a Gap commercial that I couldn't quite turn off kept making me cry. (Shut up, I was fifteen.)
Though there is a balkanization of music preference that goes along with having lots of subcultures, the fact that I mostly listened to Nirvana, Pavement, Radiohead, etc. in high school and can still talk to you about lots of the most popular Rap and R+B songs indicates that the balkanization isn't so extreme that music from another subculture can't mean something to me.
Anyway, I think our generation will be OK...