Where did it all go?
I just listed off a litany of reasons for young people to be pissed off about yet where is the fervor, where is the anger. A little about me I am a music nerd. I'm always up on the newest trends in music seeking out the new good stuff. But more than anything I love punk rock music. It's the best. The greatest thing about punk rock music is that it's vital. That is filled with energy. Whatever that singer is singing about couldn't be more important to him at that moment. That's why if I go back and listen to "California Uber Alles" by the Dead Kennedys it sounds as current today as it did back then. Punk rock is music for when you are pissed off.
Except when I go looking for new punk rock music I'm not finding it. Yeah, there are still plenty of bands bashing out the three chords talking about getting girls and getting drunk. But where is the rage. When I am pissed off I have to go find music from other decades to blast to fulfill my need of righteous anger. Sure the Bush years we're good for some little angry rhetoric music. But these angry political songs where from Bruce Springsteen, or Sheryl Crow. Like them or hate them we can all agree there best skills are not capturing the anger and vitriol of the youth. Sadly one of the last good angry punk rock albums was from the man himself Jello Biafra and the Guatanamo School of Medicine. Here is a singer who is still good and pissed off. But he's in late forties now. C'mon on young kids get it together.
Titus Andronicus is one of my favorite punk rock bands working today. And don't get me wrong they have there anger. Except they're still pissed about the Civil War and the fact that they are from Jersey. I want to see them take aim at the heart of our country. The Black Lips another great punk band except they're too busy getting wasted in bathrooms or being naked onstage. They aren't really ready to attack the problems are facing the youth in this country. Emo became a force in a music for a while there except instead of getting angry about the problems facing them; they just got really sad. Not exactly what I'm looking for when I'm good and pissed off. Sadly the last really good angry political punk rock music I heard was another band out of Jersey called Thursday. Man, how much does Jersey suck that all these political bands keep coming out of it. And even that record is four years old. What else is there Green Day's American Idiot. That album is closer to in ten year reissue that it is to sound current and vital.
Maybe I should stop blaming the bands. Maybe I'm not looking hard enough. But I know that in the 80's and 90's you couldn't walk into a record store without seeing the poster of some local band that is playing good angry punk rock music at some local dive. I walk into the cool music store now and I'm not seeing that poster. What am I seeing bands that almost exist ironically. Which if anything is just a waste of time. Or I see and hear bands who want to be punk rock but just can't take that last step to look uncool up there and just let it rip. So I guess more than blaming the musicians I am going to blame the youth and myself. I'm just old enough to not be a youth and just young enough that I can still go to punk rock shows and not seem like the weird guy against the wall. So by being in this age bracket I feel like I am in a unique position to complain about the state of youth and there music.
With so much going on this world I get the feeling that the youth of today is overwhelmed. They are being pulled a million different ways by a million different things. Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, friends, family, what's actually going on in the world, the lack of any jobs. It's as if they are being overloaded. Also this current generation along with the one before it seem to be afraid of looking uncool. That the worst crime to be committed is to care about something so deeply that you are passionate about it. So they we just sit around and absorb all that's going wrong and just take it. So here's my advice for up and coming bands. Who cares what you look like. Just plug that guitar into that amp, turn the knobs to eleven, and scream into the microphone. And whatever you are screaming about make sure it matters to you and nobody else. And believe me we will all be listening. Because we need it.