As someone who grew up in the ’60s, the last sentence I ever imagined myself saying was “Kids, I don’t understand your music.”
I must be getting old. Because, kids, I don’t. For the longest time, I hung in there, I rode the wave of punk, then dance music, then grunge and the Seattle Sound.
I admit to turning down the volume, but only because my windshield kept shattering. I’m sure Pearl Jam writes some wonderful songs, and one day, we’ll appreciate them, as soon as the hearing aids kick in.
Still, who wants to seem . . . unhip? Not me. I’m from the Woodstock generation. We think everything is cool, right?
Until Snoop Doggy Dogg — the hottest new artist in years.
Excuse me while I check for wrinkles.
Snoop Doggy Dogg is a rap artist, from Long Beach, Calif., who just broke a record for fastest-selling debut album in history. His “Doggystyle” sold more than 800,000 copies in its first week.
Snoop is also a murder suspect. He was arrested this summer after his bodyguard — his bodyguard? — shot and killed someone while riding in a Jeep. Snoop drove the Jeep. He was charged as an accomplice to murder.
Record sales went through the roof. A video that’s a real dog
Snoop’s hit song is “What’s My Name.” It’s the No. 1 video in the nation. I have watched it a dozen times. Here’s a summation:
Snoop, a skinny guy in a hooded sweatshirt, wakes up in a woman’s room. She says she loves him. He says, “You only love my Doggystyle.” Then her father bangs on the door. Snoop turns into a dog and runs away. He and his dog friends chase dog catchers, and invade a picnic. Then they turn back into rappers. Then everyone dances. The End.
Meanwhile, Snoop shows his romantic side, with lyrics like:
rolling with my bitch
that’s where you might find me,
she want the g with the biggest d—,
and who’s that? He is I and I am he”
Such a smoothie.
Now, I’m not here to give a speech about dirty lyrics. I am simply saying I don’t get it. The fastest-selling debut album of all time? Faster than Elvis, the Beatles, Michael Jackson, Garth Brooks? Snoop Doggy Dogg?
Excuse me while I search for gray hairs.
But wait. My generational confusion does not end with music. TV lost me long ago. Or haven’t you seen “Beavis and Butthead”?
No? Let me sum it up: Two cartoon kids, who look like rejects from an animation contest, sit on the couch watching videos, snorting a laugh that goes “heh. . .heh” and sound like old men with phlegm caught in their throats. Sometimes, Beavis and Butthead talk about things, like blowing up cats. Then they go, “Heh. . .heh. . .this sucks.”
Were the Monkees this hard to get? Stern should keep them private
Of course, when the music and TV of a generation loses you, you can always find solace in literature, right?
Sure. That’s why the No. 1-selling book in America is “Private Parts,” by Howard Stern.
For those not familiar with Stern, who makes a living by saying things on radio that your 6-year-old says in the bathroom, let me once more sum up the product: Dirty word . . . sex story . . . bodily function.
No. 1 in the nation?
Now, some sociological “experts” say all this stuff — Snoop, Beavis, Stern — is the response of a lost generation, the alienated youth of a strange new world.
You know what? That’s what they said about the greasers of the ’50s and the hippies of the ’60s. I don’t buy it. There’s nothing revolutionary going on here. It’s simply about making money off a generation’s stupidity.
The truth is, it’s much easier to write dirty words than to think up creative ones, it’s much easier to thump a bass line than to study classical music, and it’s much easier to have cartoon characters make phlegm noises than to come up with an original script every week.
They put it out. Our kids lap it up. We’ve become a country that goes for shock like addicted rats go to sugar. We hear a disc jockey like Stern call his ex-boss “Pig Vomit” and we label him a “visionary”?
You know what I think? I think it’s a good thing the Soviets fell apart when they did. In 20 years, they could have walked in and taken this country without a fight. Especially if they came during “Beavis and Butthead.”
Do I sound old?
Well. As my generation once said, you can’t trust me. I’m over 30.
Mitch Albom will sign “Fab Five” & “Live Albom III,” Wednesday, 5:30 p.m., Barnes & Noble, Rochester; 7:30 p.m., Book People, West Bloomfield. Also Thursday, 7:30 p.m., Jocundry’s, East Lansing; also Friday, 5:30 p.m., B. Dalton, Livonia Mall, & 7:30 p.m., B. Dalton, Southland Mall.