“What’s Wrong With Kids Today”, and “Let’s Take A Trip To The Island Of Misfit U2 Albums”

Everyone up to speed on the U2/Apple debacle? If not, please go HERE. If you’re one of many who had the album Songs Of Innocence “gifted” to you by Apple and the band, I want to know: what do you make of this? Do you feel violated in any way? Or, happy? Or, maybe like me, a little bit bemused by the whole thing?

Now, what if Justin Beiber did this? Changes things a little, doesn’t it? It does for me, anyway. I would be offended if such a thing took place! With U2, however, I am totally ambivalent. I have no emotion towards anything they do anymore. No hatred, no joy, no anticipation, no disappointment. I’ve listened to the new album and it’s not bad, and it’s not good. It’s just…there.

Anyway, the band and Apple is garnering considerable flack for force feeding this album to everyone who owns an Apple product, without prior consent. U2’s manager had this to say about that: “If someone doesn’t like it, then great, that’s OK, delete it….” Well, OK, I guess. But what does that say about the value of music in general nowadays, especially songs and albums of the MP3 variety? Back in days of old, if a band I was marginally interested in mailed me an album I would certainly play it once. If I wasn’t interested in the band or outright hated them I could either sell it at my local used record joint or blow it up with some fire crackers (A BB Gun is optimal, although lighter fluid worked quite well also, if memory serves). My point is I would have to take some physical action versus just clicking twice on my device and “POOF”, no more U2. Decisions and effort were involved.

I went through my ITunes Library with my daughter over the weekend. It was really fun, for me anyway; I would preview songs and albums from bands that I thought she might like and she would either shake her head in the affirmative, or shyly murmur, “nahhhh”. Out of the 25,000 or so songs she chose, to begin with, about 300 that she wanted for her phone. I placed them in a folder on the old desktop and transferred them to her phone.

I was proud of what she chose. At 13 she has an advanced knowledge of bands from the ‘60’s through now, and she is open enough to experiment with different genres, although she prefers punk and grunge to all else at this phase. I was into the heavy hitters of the ‘70’s at her age, and just discovering The Clash and Joy Division and other “new wave” bands. Anyway, I asked her how she and her friends listen to music nowadays (being the nosy old music snob curmudgeon I am), and she replied, “Oh, we just put it on shuffle.” No albums, no artwork, no choosing (by mood or other factor), no cataloging. I then asked her what she did when she needed to free up some space to add more music and she looked at me and said, “Delete it.”

Delete it. Just like that. Out of your life within a second, never again to bother your ear holes. I ask you: where’s the fun in that? Where is the commitment, the dedication? When I “broke up” with a band as a kid I felt terrible guilt! We had spent time, together. My God, it was easier to break up with a girlfriend than with an album, and if that sounds weird to you then you’re reading the wrong blog.

I really don’t have a point to this rant other than to bemoan the fact there seems to be absolutely no emotional attachment to music anymore. I’m finding it hard to fathom that those days are gone. My daughter is discovering her own music as well (like Imagine Dragons, Florence and the Machine, etc) as mine, and I am all for that, although I find it hard not to vomit my stupid and very biased opinions all over her. But will my daughter and her friends still be listening to Imagine Dragons when they enter college, or have kids, or grandkids? I doubt it, but maybe. One can hope. I also have to admit that just because my generation’s memories come with very detailed soundtracks doesn’t mean my daughters will, or that that’s a bad thing.

Let it go, granddad, let it go…