When music has "actual social relevance"



In a Los Angeles Times op-ed, a twenty-seven-year-old tried to reassure older readers that they are not "losing their marbles" or getting Alzheimer's because they sometimes forget a name, a movie plot point, or a detail or two.

Yeah, sure, that's easy for him to say. Oh, but I kid the twentysomething... because I am the person he's talking about (and because my mom and grandmother suffered from Alzheimer's). But seriously older and younger folks, I digress.

The point of my post, should I ever choose to make it, is this paragraph from his "Poor memory? Forget it" piece:

You have memorized the lyrics to hundreds of songs that were released back when music had actual social relevance. You have an accumulation of advanced degrees and tens of thousands of hours of work experience built up over decades. In comparison, my generation, with our supposedly stellar memories, can tell you Justin Timberlake's latest tour dates, and we can even remember the multiple passwords to our HBO Go, Hulu, iTunes and Spotify accounts. But we don't know how to actually do anything.

I don't spend much time comparing generations, but I found it interesting, generous, somewhat touching, and a little jarring that the author (Max Perry, a writer and yoga teacher) acknowledged music as a way to make social and political statements more emphatically "back in the day" vs. what's out there now.

My first impulse was to agree with him, based on all the protest songs back then:

But there has been so much contemporary social and political messaging by so many currently creative musicians, rap artists, and singers since then that I wonder if he overlooked some of them. But hey, it was very cool to get a hat tip and to walk down Memory Lane.

Here's to younger generations, their "actual social relevance", their (our) causes, and how they communicate them: