Oldz like to think that Kids These Days are completely different from the way oldz were back in the day. When oldz are exposed to new developments in youth culture, they usually get angry and confused, and say things like “[CURRENT BAND] fucking sucks, what’s wrong with kids these days? Ugh. They should listen to [OLD BAND THAT NOBODY UNDER 30 CARES ABOUT], that’s what’s up.” But the truth is that the more things change, the more they stay the same: the stuff kids like today is the same stuff we liked, just with slightly different clothes and haircuts (and flagrant autotune abuse). In fact, there are basically only 5 kinds of music that teens like, and they are THE SAME ONES that us oldz liked when we were teens. I will provide examples, then map the current version of each kind against the version for oldz to illustrate my point.
Reference points 4 oldz: Pantera, Earth Crisis, Integrity, Minor Threat, Throwdown, Hatebreed
Current examples: Suicide Silence, Avenged Sevenfold, Underoath, Terror, The Devil Wears Prada, Winds of Plague, A Day 2 Rmbr
Ever since Agnostic Front invented moshing back in the 1970s, teens have been into any kind of music that makes them want to punch each other while singing along to anthemic choruses about how parents/teachers/cops/authority figures do not understand them. Oftentimes these teens are troubled, although they usually grow out of it in their mid-20s and become moderately successful “normal married ppl with jobs/kids.”
This genre has not really changed all that much over the years, it just keeps getting more and more like shitty metal as time goes on. Back in the mid-90s, moshcore kids discovered Carcass, At The Gates and Iron Maiden, and have continued to shamelessly rape the corpse of melodic death metal ever since [via stealing riffs from Killswitch Engage, Shadows Fall, and Norma Jean]. Also, most of the bands in this genre now are Christian, which is cool if you are into Truth drums and Leviticus.
Scene jamz (dance/pop)
Reference points 4 oldz: Spice Girls, Milli Vanilli, N Sync, Britney Spears, Xtina
Current examples: Millionaires, Family Force 5, Cash Cash, White Tie Affair, Breathe Carolina
Girls love to dance. This will never, ever change. Girls also love to dress up, get drunk, and act slutty/attract male attention, preferably while also dancing. This will also never change, and boys will always want to be wherever girls are acting like that. That is why there will always be a market for dancey pop music.
The other thing you can count on is that insecure, unpopular dicksbags who feel left out when other ppl are having fun will always hate pop. This is because it reminds them that they are unattractive, uptight turds. Back in the day, you could always tell who the cool hardcore kids were because when you got in their car they would be listening to the mnstrm top 40 radio station and singing along to Spice Girls or Blackstreet. The lame ones would force you to listen to some dreadful No Fun Club shit like Refused or Chokehold.
It’s no different now: The popularity of screamo/metalcore bands covering pop songs is because of this, and anybody worth hanging out with can get down to some Millionaires, Lady Gaga, or other disposable pop odes that urge girls to get drunk and act slutty. I mean, if you can’t get behind that, what do you like??
Scenebro hearthrobs (bubblegum pop/teen idols)
Reference points 4 oldz: NKOTB, Elvis Presley, Reggie & The Full Effect, Atom & His Package, Elliott Smith
Current examples: T-Mills, JT LLoyd, J-Bigga, Justin Bieber
In addition to acting slutty and dancing, teenage girls also love non-threatening versions of “bad boys” that are edgy and exciting without the risk of AIDS/rape/jail that comes with an actual bad boy. Of course, the joke’s on them because the more G-rated these tween idols appear to be, the more likely they are to be rapey shitbags, but I digress.
The most notable change in this genre since I was a teen is that technology now allows these bros to promote themselves in new, more frequent/annoying ways. Their fanbase of dumb, slutty teenage girls seem to be the last group of people who still use MySpace for anything other than finding funny pictures of scene fails, so it is understandable that scenebros cling to MySpace with the desperation of anybody else whose livelihood is tied to a rapidly dying technology. (An aside: remember when Fox paid $770 million for MySpace and it seemed like a great deal? LOL)
A lot of these guys actually have some pretty good songs (especially T-Mills), and I’m sure they get tons of ass, so I really can’t hate on them too much. If I was 10 years younger I would probably start my own Fruityloops scenebro solo project, but since I’m old I just settle for post-ironically writing about their music and making fun of their fans.
Anyhow, the point is that the tween idol always has and always will be a fixture of music that teens are into. The costumes change with the times, but the fundamentals are the same: unremarkable-but-catchy songs, crazed teenage fangirls, and angry oldz watching from the sidelines.
Crunkcore (rap & rap/rock)
Reference points 4 oldz: Dr. Dre, Vanilla Ice, Rage Against The Machine, Crazy Town, Beastie Boys, Aerosmith x RUN DMC collabo
Current examples: Brokencyde, Hollywood Undead, DDC, Nitro, Dropping A Popped Locket
Some teens identify with both rap and rock. Although many oldz think that Brokencyde and Hollywood Undead are “the worst bands ever” and that crunkcore is a sign that Kids These Days are 900 times dumber than oldz were when they were teens, it’s really nothing new. Dumb white kids have been combining half-assed metal riffs with embarrassingly bad attempts at rap for decades, and the latest crop of bands actually do it pretty well.
Crunkcore is popular with especially troubled teens who like the sex, drugs, and personal branding of rock, but are also drawn to the violence and gritty realism of rap. Back in my day we called them “wignecks,” because they wore Starter jackets, smoked blunts, and listened to Snoop Dogg like wiggers, but drove giant trucks, chewed tobacco, and hated black people like rednecks– the worst of both worlds, if you will.
As far as I can tell, little has changed, and crunkcore is simply an update to the wigneck steez of the 90s, only the bands are much better than Limp Bizkit and POD. Instead of Starter jackets, they wear Glamour Kills, and T-Pain has taken the place of Snoop Dogg, but it’s still trashy bros making crude songs about getting wasted and banging sluts– and if the Inland Empire was the home of the previous generation of shitty rap/rock, the equally wretched Greenwood, Indiana is the capital of crunkcore (see our previous coverage of Dropping A Popped Locket and Scene Kidz). A little trashy and amateurish, sure, but I’ll take it over fucking indie rock every time.
Disneypunk/Neon pop/WarpedTourCore (pop punk/rock)
Reference points 4 oldz: Green Day, Blink-182, New Found Glory, Dag Nasty, Bad Religion, Descendents, NOFX
Current examples: Fight Fair, Forever The Sickest Kids, The Maine, Friday Night Boys, The Summer Set, City Lights
I hate punk. Punk rockers smell bad, dress like clowns, act like spoiled children in desperate need of a spanking, and punk rock is noisy, tuneless garbage. That’s why I love bands like Blink-182, who took all the energy and immediacy of punk and sugarcoated it with the clean-cut melodies and accessibility of pop. Also, it made all the punx angry when they got popular, and that was funny.
Some oldz like to pretend that older bands like Dag Nasty, NOFX, and Bad Religion are a different, more authentic breed than Blink-182 and New Found Glory, but this is based on the faulty premise that “old = credible/authentic/good.” This logic is easily exposed as laughable by listening to Crass, Television, Christian Death, X, or any of the others zillions of awful, boring “seminal punk bands” from the late 70s and early 80s.
Fortunately, there are more great pop-punk/powerpop bands than ever in 2k10. Hot Topic/Warped Tour/Purevolume are full of great bands who picked up where Blink-182 left off, and thanks to new technology like Pro Tools and autotune, they sound better than ever. I will never get tired of bands who can take a little punk, and add some catchy choruses, big hooks, and great production, so if I had to choose a favorite genre of music, I think it would be Disneypunk.