Is all guitar music by boys rubbish now?
It is flippant to suggest that all new guitar music by boys is rubbish, but it kind of is, isn’t it? Or am I old now? It’s difficult to say. Getting old, losing touch with music, in a sense I was looking forward to it. I know that the drift toward nostalgia and the closing off of new avenues aren’t positive things but I have always wanted to hear a new song and think, “What is this? It’s just noise!” It should be strangely exciting to see the world move on without you. I’m sure that will happen to me at some point, but it won’t be guitar music by boys making me feel old. Guitar music written by boys is a musical dead end now, I think, like folk music, and skiffle.
Wait. Let me start again.
I passed my driving test this year. And so, on the school run (yes, yes, I know, I know, but I’m not making a five-year-old walk four miles everyday) I started listening to my cds. Maybe it is having a child in the back of the car. Maybe knowing that they are hearing something for the first time makes you hear it fresh again too, but fuck me, seventy percent of my cd collection is the absolute pits.
The insult is amplified by streaming. I have, at the touch of a button, millions of great songs. It acts as a constant comment upon my younger self’s terrible choices. A virtual Jim Bowen showing me what I could have won. What did my younger self spend his money on? He bought Kinky Machine singles, Nirvana albums, Fred Schneider’s solo album, Small Faces reissues, Shite.
Listening to my cds is making me reevaluate my thoughts on music. I used to believe that Oasis (through no real fault of their own) kind of ruined music. Broadly speaking, before Oasis, ‘indie’ meant songs released on an independent record label. After Oasis, ‘indie’ was a specific, quite limited range of guitar music. Listening back to stuff I own from the early 90s now, I can see that it isn’t a very convincing argument. Sure, ‘indie’ was a broader church before Oasis came along, but it was still mostly pretty bad. It would be a brave man indeed to try to argue Mega City Four were in any way less awful than Travis.
I used to think it was natural to spend your adult life loving the music of your teenage years and your twenties more than anything released afterwards. Maybe it is. It hasn’t happened to me. Of course I still love some 90’s records. Suede’s first album, The Breeders, Björk, all great. But I don’t like the music from any one era more than another, and I certainly don’t think new music is inferior.
I guess what I am trying to say is, I wish I could believe that ‘they don’t make music like they used to’, but I can’t. Boys with guitars do make music like they used to. That’s the problem.