A letter to Matt about rock music
I am lucky to have been raised on rap music. Due to a happy accident of my upbringing, I was never cool enough to understand Nirvana. I didn’t use drugs or drink alcohol until I was well into my dotage, which prevented me from ever understanding the impulse towards headlong self-destruction that makes rock music a vital proposition. I mean, I fucked around with Dave Matthews Band, but I don’t think that counts. And so I find myself, instead, part of an unlikely generation of intensely nerdy 30-year old white guys whose formative musical experiences included listening to “Supreme Clientele” for the first time.
I call this lucky, because rock music is over. It’s not that rock music is dead, Matt. It’s just done being whatever it is. Telented people will continue to make rock records, and some of them will be really good to listen to. Hell, I enjoy me some Japandroids, and I’m not averse to them Walkmen. But it’s been a long time since someone has made something thrillingly new on a rock record. I still love a lot of new rock music, but I don’t expect it to blow my world apart. Which is just to say: Led Zeppelin isn’t walking through that door. This is sad, because I love the sound of scorching electric guitars as much as anything on this earth. But such is the way of things.
I was worried about rap for a while, but I shouldn’t have been. There are rap records being released these days that are saving some kid’s life, that I am sure of. One of them is Kendrick Lamar’s Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City, about which I have very little intelligent to say, except to note that the extremely high quality of Kendrick’s game goaded top-flight performances from lazy rap moguls Dr. Dre and Jay-Z. Also, Drake and I share an appreciation for sundresses. Enjoy!