I meant to blog about this earlier in the week, but the trip to New York distracted me a bit. Better late than never, though . . . .
Anyway, this week marks the fifteenth anniversary of the release of Nirvana's Nevermind, which, supposedly, is a record that changed music forever. To commemorate, MTV News ran an article where they asked various current artists about Nirvana, and whether they thought any modern bands would have the same effect. (Seriously, though, the list of artists is pretty lame. Panic! At the Disco, Fall Out Boy, and O.K. Go are somewhat defensible, but really, couldn't they try just a teensy bit harder?)
I was in my junior year of high school when the album came out, and yeah, I loved it. It really was -- still is, actually -- a great album, and so different from just about everything that was out there at the time. And yeah, it influenced a lot of music that came afterwards. But I think that the people who say that it was this monumental revolutionary new thing, completely different from everything that came before, are a little full of it. I think music was changing, and Nirvana was a symptom -- not the ultimate cause.
That's like those people who look at Bill Haley & His Comets as the origin of modern Rock n' Roll but fail to see the bigger picture out there -- all of the other sources and influences that merged together over the course of a number of years. Or currently, it's like blaming the whole boy band thing on the Backstreet Boys or the current state of pop music entirely on Britney Spears. Yeah, they're a part of it, but they're only doing what they're doing because some music industry guy somewhere decided that what they happened to be doing was going to be the next big thing.
It's the whole creationism versus evolution debate, just in music.
Some music may be revolutionary, but as an art form, it is constantly evolving, constantly changing. That's why they don't play chamber music at bars. Seriously.
I mean, that's why you occasionally laughed at your parents' choices and why most people cringe at the thought of having to sit through an opera or the ballet. (My mother loves Johnny Mathis and has a scary collection of Engelbert Humperdinck 8-Tracks.) That's why your parents yelled at you to turn the volume down, and refused to play that song in the car. (Or how my mother absolutely adored the Motley Crue posters in my bedroom when I was a teen.)
And that's why your theoretical future children will probably hate your CD collection. (But not my live U2 collection. No one could possibly hate that.)