Sean smacks down my boomer sentiment and musical tastes in this week's comment (I haven't been as regular with these as I want to be, but them's the breaks). Here's the pull-quote:
As silly and ill-formed as the "review" is, it's a sentiment I share. The Who are not "artists," (they haven't been a real band in about 35 yrs) they're an oldies act with a proper schtick, still peddling Culturally Important Signifiers, like mini-operas, decades after they were worn out. Someone like Jon Pareles should know better, but guess what...he's a boomer himself, so The Who, like most of their ilk, get a free pass (and this is from someone who adores the Who Sell Out). Ditto, Springsteen the Stones, and anyone else you care to name.
What Haider's really stumbling on about is The Rolling Stone Effect: where stars in general, but boomers esp. are slobbered over by critics (witness Kurt Loder's 5-star review for Springsteen's The Rising, and Wenner's 5-star suck up for Jagger's Goddess In The Doorway)eager to keep those rock-is-eternal, the-sixties-are-still-with us myths alive. (Prediction: new Who album--4 stars.) But the Sixties are long gone, and no amount of false-boomer worship is gonna bring em back anytime soon.
He's right about the Rolling Stone rating system and the "giants of rock" hagiography it supports. But I humbly submit that I'm not part of that. Pete Townshend's not an oldies act, if you follow along. He is very much an artist (and as such, has released some god-awful stuff in the last three decades, but also some brilliant sides). The Stones? Springsteen? Yeah, they're masters at leveraging the past, selling to the incredibly power boomer demographic (I'm a last-minute boomer, by the way - just caught the wave). But they also come up with the hooks, and sometimes, they light it up along the way.
Finally, I'm not a Sixties guy - late 70s was the sweet spot for me, musically: the coming of age moment. It was a weird, wonderful time and the arena bands competed with the tiny clubs and destructive punk bands for my dollar. I was picky, too - the hippie shit left me cold. I hated The Dead, long drawn-out jams, drum solos. I loved power chords, short songs, stuff I could play myself. I've broadened since then (no weight jokes please) and could care less about the age of any musician; truth be told, I'm about halfway between Dylan and the Arctic Monkeys, generationally speaking.
And I agree with Sean and with Jason (who has said this before) that "Culturally Important Signifiers" in rock are pretty much dead; indeed, throughout pop music in general. It's just the music, in my ears, at my desk, on the train, or blasting through the speakers across from this old leather chair.
Note: If you care, you can see what I listen to on my office PC here - every track, artist, etc. I enjoy checking this out every now and then, but it doesn't count the iPod, the car, the home stereo.