Classical, rock, funk, disco, jazz, all seem to us as “older music”. Something we couldn’t bother listening to , something our parents , grandparents or older generations would listen to. Something most people born in the 21st century wouldn’t bother to take a look at, we describe it as boring, old, and lacking a great beat and good lyrics but, how would older generations react to our “new and better” music? I’ve decided to put it to the test and let every generation I can reach listen to a song released in the last 6 months and have them give me their honest opinion.
The song I chose is “Non-stop” (which you can listen to here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XNpGNykVZ6U ) from Drake’s latest album Scorpion. It is song #2 off his album which generated 745.9 million on-demand audio streams in the U.S. in its release week.
First to react is Amy (20), my girlfriend, a college student and a huge Drake fan who likes modern music: “I love the start, the beat is great , it has a very fast tempo , something that would be very good for a workout , very upbeat and motivational. I especially love the lyrics, they can really pump you up and get you going. “This a Rollie, not a stopwatch, sh*t don’t ever stop” (Rollie being a slang for a Rolex watch which is very high end and expensive). The lyric makes you push yourself to the end and gives you that little motivation you might need . It’s very easy to follow Drakes lyrics because rather than his voice blending in with the music, it does the opposite. His voice is the spotlight and the music just compliments his voice and lyrics. This allows you to take in every detail of the song every time that you listen to it, which is why I love it so much.”
Second is an older generation, my mother (46), an amateur piano player, a huge fan of jazz and funk. She particularly loves Stevie Wonder and isn’t the biggest fan of anything modern given the fact that the moment I asked to listen to “Non-stop” she asked me to turn it off.
After listening to the song she said, “It lacks what I’d call real music. I don’t hear instruments, there are no feelings behind this music. Where are the actual sounds? The ones that are not computer generated completely. I want to hear some flute, a trumpet, maybe even some different drums. How can anybody enjoy this? The song starts off too loud and drastic, it sounds as if he isn’t trying to portray anything or tell a story. It is as if he’s just talking to himself about how great he is. There’s no definitive rhythm to follow in my opinion it’s definitely not something I would listen to or try to recreate on my own.”
Now, for a professional opinion, we must consult an ethnomusicologist , someone who researches modern music from different cultures.
Ethan, a young musicologist from New York who focuses on modern music and the effects that it has on its listeners.
“Drake essentially has a cult following when it comes to young generations, he sells out huge arenas all over the country many nights in a row and people can’t get enough of him. In his new album, Drake goes after the people who tried to hurt him and take him out of “the game” although they were unsuccessful.”
“With the track made by Tay Keith, Drake proves to everyone he is still here and is not going anywhere. “Give me my respect” as he says, respect is something that he values and wants as he shows in prior works, he gets it. The Canadian born artist is idolized by many and is setting the trends to what this generation listens to. Yet, even with the help of great producers as No I.D., Boi-1da, DJ Premier, DJ Paul, Tay Keith, T-Minus, Murda Beatz, Cardo and Noel Cadastre, Drake still loves to go back a generation and give his idols respect by sampling their music but giving their music his own twist, even using DJ Squeeky’s, “my head is spinnin’” in this particular track and many more through his album, artists like “N.W.A” , “Nas” and more which you can observe here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kz3_teq-9eg).”
Music doesn’t only end with the sounds themselves. When performing, the artist usually moves with the music and dances. An artist like drake has a choreographer by his side at all times working with him while on tour and making sure he moves the correct way . Tanisha Scott is that person.
“While working with a person like Drake is fun, creating something you know many people will watch and try to recreate is hard. “Non stop” has a very fast tempo to it which makes it even harder to create something that will match the “hype” that will come with it. The fast music will require the capable dancers and artists to move swiftly and match the audience’s movement, who will most likely be jumping up and down with excitement to the sound of the beat, a challenge we are more than willing to take.”
Lastly, we’ll consult Henry (75), from North Carolina, a musicologist who spends most of his research on Ludwig van Beethoven ,
“Honestly, this isn’t my taste. With all due respect to the artist and his listeners, I personally don’t consider this to be music, or really anything that has been produced lately. All I hear is a bunch of beats and bangs. It is too upbeat and there is no real melody or beauty to it. You young kids wouldn’t know what music is even if it hit you in the face. Beethoven, even while deaf for the last third of his life, has made piece that are much more beautiful, timeless and pleasing to the ear than this. My colleagues that are ethnomusicologist would enjoy this so called “music” more that I ever will.”
As time changes, so does the music and our influence on it as a society. We get older and and so will the music we appreciate. It might disappear one day, it might stick around for newer generations. We must learn to appreciate it while we have it and let others experience it in their own way. Go home, go to work and let the people closest to you to listen to it and give you their honest opinion, whether they grew up in this generation or in generations prior. Share your love of music with them and they will share their love of music with you.
- Lior Klimankov