We all know this guy.
You're having a conversation and eventually the topic shifts to music. Everyone starts naming off their favorite artists: Taylor Swift, Blackbear, Ed Sheeran, whoever. Everyone is bonding over shared interests and favorite tunes. Then this guy chimes in with something along the lines of:
"I only listen to classic rock. Music today is crap."
He's probably wearing a Pink Floyd t-shirt, a flannel, and some baggy jeans to compliment his superior music taste, and there's about a 90% chance he loosely knows how to play guitar and piano. The conversation is killed, people feel judged, and this guy is giving everyone a smug look as if he holds the key to a world of music seldom explored by his generation.
I'm not trying to bash classic rock, or anyone who enjoys listening to it for that matter. I'm a sucker for some Creedence Clearwater Revival or Led Zeppelin myself, but good music did not start and end with them.
In fact, I'd say some of the best music is being created right now, most specifically in the jazz-rap hybrid genre that is becoming increasingly more popular with the new generation.
To hear the "good" music of this generation, you have to open your mind and really listen to the artists that are pushing artistic boundaries.
One of my favorite artists, Masego, is a saxophone player embarking on a mission to create an official genre called "trap-jazz", incorporating the sounds and form of jazz instrumentation alongside the spoken word and rhythmic action of modern rap. Likewise, as a music major and jazz musician myself I have had ample opportunities to talk to professionals in music theory, history, and analysis, and time and time again I hear praise for Kendrick Lamar's album To Pimp A Butterfly by people with Doctorates relating to music analysis. His clever lyricism and roaring funk and jazz additions in the background have earned him endless approval from the country's top musicologists.
Alongside the construction of great new music, even in the top 100 pop charts there is something to be said about the perfect execution of songs by the likes of Beyoncѐ, Ariana Grande, Daniel Caesar, or Brendan Urie. Vocalists like these have extensive training and are truly admiral musicians that should not be swept under the rug simply for the genre they fit. If you really want to listen to great musical execution, there is no shortage of skill even in the mainstream pop genre that many disregard for its often surface-level content.
So Kevin, if you're reading this playing your 80s alternative rock spotify playlist in the background, consider branching out. Put your phone on shuffle and consider a genre you've never given a chance before. Most of all, please don't criticize people for their taste in music as it is an ultimately subjective idea. Thank you.