Twelve-Year Old Youtube Commenters: Your Favorite Music Decade Sucked, Too
1990-2005: [Read this whole section in Eddie Vedder's voice, because everybody else was doing it anyway.]
People sometimes wonder why I'm willing to entertain those conspiracy theorists who believe Kurt Cobain was murdered, and my explanation is this: It's plausible to me that the first person who heard Puddle of Mudd perform "She Hates Me," in a desperate attempt to cut off the post-grunge movement before it began, went back in time and murdered him.
They were too late. As a mostly unrepentant Weezer fan I'm glad guitarists in the 1990s rediscovered the heavy, distorted tone that's characterized alternative (read: radio) rock ever since. But when I see you, twelve-year-old YouTube commenter, begging to see more emotion in Today's Music like you see in that Seven Mary Three video you just found, my heart breaks. It breaks like a, like a really loud, sludgy guitar that plays the same note over and over while somebody with blond highlights and a hemp necklace growls about his heart breaking.
This one I can do first hand, twelve-year-old YouTube commenter: We had our Justin Biebers. Watch ten minutes of Spice World, and don't click the thumb-up on the commenter who says, "This movie reminds of the '90s, a time much simpler, more innocent and more fun."
But we also had more of this loud, plodding post-grunge than I could ever give away to the 238 thumbers-up who all think "All Music Should Be Like This Today!!!!", who are ready to tell everyone who will listen that they don't listen to crap like all their classmates do now because they have Collective Soul. For every Pearl Jam--even for every competent, hooky Matchbox 20, there were a million one-minor-hit acts with interchangeable lead singers that made the entire decade unbearable to live through, if you were looking for them.
So don't look for them. Forget about LMFAO, instead of rushing to dislike their new song, and eventually they will be poor and forgotten and all will be right with the world. Try to see 2011 like you see 1999, or 1984, or whichever year looks perfect on your YouTube playlist, twelve-year-old YouTube commenter, and those two or three great contemporary bands you discover will feel that much more unique and important to you. Nearly as unique and important, I'm willing to risk, as Candlebox or The Vapors.