What I want you to know. Which is everything.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Are Styx the new Beatles?

Recently, on another guy's blog there was a discuss about the band Styx and how they are coming out with a new cover of Beatle's songs. The original post is not overtly anti or pro either band. If anything it seemed to me the author was kind of making fun of the fact that Styx would do something like this since they are so obviously out of the loop. But then all of the responses (or at least the majority) seemed to be bashing the Beatles and praising Styx. I realized that the musical standards by which my generation who were teenagers in the 90s cut our musical teeth were all but dead. This is a sad realization. I knew that there were dark times in the late 90s with the return of bubble-gum and pop-rock, along with the psuedo-hard-coreness of mindless deep rock in the form of bands like Linkin Park and Stained, among others. But I always hoped that the pendulum would swing back and we would be engulfed in true meaningful music that was prevailent in the 90s and 60s. In some ways we are reverting back. For instance, we are now embracing the coolness of the 80s with kids wearing Members Only jackets to school and sporting Madonnaesque mismatching garb. This doesn't bother me, except that it seems to be accompanying the Reaganist political and social conservatism of the same generation. We are very much about "me" once again. I suppose that I am wishing for the good ole days too soon and that it will come in time. But more than anything I want progression. Sure I was an STP and Smashing Pumpkins fan. I wore torn denim and flannel and made sure that nothing in my wardrobe was too bright or colorful. I did that. But, I don't want that back. Please, no. I just want somthing meaningful. I want people to be socially conscious and care about things like poverty and social change. People love to hate politics, it seems, but I hate to love politics. I mean that I wish I didn't find myself being pulled into caring so much or to feeling so strongly one way or another, but I do, and I can get pretty passionate about it all, if I allow myself. And music played a major part of this for me. I suppose I'm being unfair, and that there is more socially consciousness out there than I'm letting on. Most conservatives would probably raise their eyebrows and shout, "What are you talking about? These liberal artist types are everywhere!" And to some degree they're right. But what is out there just seems so hollow. It isn't making the same kind of impact that it made in me some time ago. The measure I think can be said lies somewhat with teens and college students. I just don't see that the students that I teach are very concerned with anything outside their own bubble. During the election of 2004 the younger ones had the loudest voice spouting off sound bites that came straight from their parents. This is, I suppose, to be expected of such young people. But the seniors, the ones who vote, the ones who can make a difference seem completely uninterested and apathetic. Perhaps I have the wrong seniors. Perhaps the classes that I teach are not the ones where these students are going to expound their views and passions. I teach primarily lower level courses in theatre. So this could have something or everything to do with it. I just remember having conversations with friends about the differences in Clinton and Dole, and why there is no way we were voting for Dole (I missed being able to vote in that election by a few months). When I asked the seniors in my classes what their opinoins were on the subject, they generally didn't have one. I guess they didn't feel they had to discuss the issue unless it was government class.

I tend to wonder. As the me generation's college students' (the Alex Keatons) children are graduating high school is there something to say for the idea that these conservatively influenced children are the pendulum that I'm talking about and it won't be until my generation's kid's are of upper-adolesent and college age that social conscience and justice will once again take the place of money obsession and looking out for number one? Or am I way off, and I'm just looking at things through my own very tainted glass, and really there isn't any difference between mine and other's generations. It seems we are all the same on many levels.

But, come on. Styx were hacks compared to the Beatles.


greggorant said...

hey man,
you covered a lot of stuff in that entry. i'm honored that you are reading my blog though.
i do believe the beatles were very influential - much more so than styx could ever be, even at their very best and in their wildest dreams.
music is a very subjective area and it always makes for funny and interesting comments.
i think part of the key to this is that as we age, we see everything around us changing when in fact we are changing. recorded music is exactly the same as it was when it was recorded. my reaction to it changes as i change.
oh whatever, this is a ramble.
thanks for participating.

Brandon Scott said...

Your comment on my blog was awesome and made me feel like a complete fossil! HA. No way that Smothers is related to you. Geez. Later on that. Thanks for commenting. I'd love to know more about what you're doing. Blessings, bro. GSP rules.

misstephanie said...

i think you hit it right on the nail about kids not caring. i understand totally about what you said about politics... it seems sometimes as though i'm the only one (besides the total nerds) who are concerned about who gets in the white house, or what bills are passed, but then sometimes i feel like i don't need to be concerned with that, but with the bigger picture, the greater good for this world.. o well, very well written.

Chad said...

Styx? I'm not sure the should even be mentioned in the same breath as the Beatles.

And yes, I'm growing rather tired of equating Christianity with political conservatism. The last I read Jesus wasn't the most political man to walk this earth. He was more concerned with mercy, justice, caring for those who couldn't care for themselves, loving the marginalized and oppressed.

Kevdog said...

I may be in a small percentage of my demographic (college kids), but most of my friends and the people I talk to care a lot about anything from music to politics. I think there are apathetic people in every generation and every time period.

But I really empathize with the people that are apathetic because look at the last election. We were picking between two rich white men that were members of the skull and bones and had rich white friends. And they both wanted to increase the size of the federal government.

Styx is great. The Beatles are in a league of their own.

Kyle said...

I agree with KevDog. I do think that there is someone in every generation, or many people, who don't care, and while I can see how they wouldn't want to get involved, I look at the student demonstrations from the 60s who took matters into their own hands and gained a voice because they couldn't be ignored. I made like people my age were any different. We really weren't and aren't. It seems that the last group to really make a difference was in the 60s. Young people, that is. I don't think that it can be used as an excuse, either, that we only have oppressors to choose from. It shouldn't matter. You may think that you are only spitting in the wind, but there are people out there who represent you, no matter who you are. They may not call themselves Democrat or Republican, but they are there.

Chad said...

Vietnam was claiming more young lives per day than any war in our US history. It got personal because you were more likely to know someone or the family of a young man killed. That made it very personal.

Social changes such as racial integration and woman's rights were at the forefront. Those were extremely personal, life impacting forces on large scale. Just talk to someone who went to high school during integration.

We tend to respond most passionately to those things that impact us most directly. College students were protesting in the 60s because they were the ones being drafted. Blacks and women were marching on capital hill because their rights were at stake.

Why don't we respond to global crises in the same manner? Example, AIDS is the single largest plague in the history of humankind, yet I would bet very few of us as individuals contribute financial or with other resources to it.

I'm not sure we've ever been a people that has acted based solely on ideals or what we think is right. It seems we tend to act when our self-interests are at stake. Then we, as individuals respond in large enough numbers to encourage action on a larger scale. (That's what happened in WWII)

Finally, I must admit I'm venturing out into water in which I don't normally swim and may be full of it.