As I laid on the couch late last night, soaked in gin and half-asleep, I stumbled upon an infomercial selling a large selection of hit songs from the 60s. Every song that came up during the presentation would be instantly recognizable by anyone even remotely familiar with Western pop culture. You had the Monkees, the Mamas and the Papas, Steppenwolf, Cream, the Psychodickbeat Hippernauts and countless other acts that have been solidified into mainstream rock music. I have to be honest and say I really love all of this music. I found myself unable to turn off the television as one great song after another played. I’ve never bought anything from an infomercial before, but surely in my drunken state the allure of all this great music enticed me. That was, of course, until they showed the price.
It then occurred to me that I was obviously not the target demographic for this infomercial. It was the 30 year older version of myself: still a drunk, a whole lot fatter and perhaps a whole lot lonelier, but maybe a little richer. An older me that pined for days of sweet music and consequence-free fucking on shag carpet (I don’t think I really know what the sixties was really about). An older me that would be happy to spend eight sushi dinners worth of money to relive the feeling of growing up and being part of that long-past decade. When the CD’s finally arrived in the mail, I’d make a night of it, cold-cut sandwiches and plastic bottle tequila shooters. I’d reach my arm around my fat-hairy belly, slip my hand past the worn out elastic of my faded sweat pants, and rub one out as the Beach Boy’s “I Get Around” played over and over again through my cruddy old computer speakers.
I wonder if the post-2000 era of music will be able to produce a hits collection that pleases me 30 years from now. Would it include groups like the New Pornographers, Tame Impala, Outkast and Supergrass? Or would I scoff as artists like Beyonce, LMFAO and Britney Spears scrolled across the screen. Maybe the version of myself from the 60s would dismiss the hits collection I saw on the infomercial as well, thinking all the “better” but less-popular indie bullshit bands of the era were left out. It forces me to think about the bad opinion I have of the baby boomer generation that most likely buys that 60s hit collection in droves, reliving their old memories and thinking the past was greater than it ever possibly could have been. Are they a product of their times or a truly awful generation of selfish pieces of shit like I think they are?
Of course, the question is rhetorical. I have no real love for my own generation, and it would be hard for me to attribute it with much better qualities than what the boomers possess. The 60s music collection is a reminder, however, of a boomer mentality that I don’t see in my own generation, at least not yet. Boomers look at music from the era in such a self-congratulatory and climactic way. Why bother even giving new music a chance when everything great was produced over four decades ago? Sure, we’ll pay $300 to see the Rolling Stones play the same 20 songs we’ve heard hundreds if not thousands of times over the last 50 years. It’s not like the current entitled and lazy generation is making any good new music anyway. We wouldn’t want to giving them a handout.
60s music also represents the we-built-it bullshit of the boomer generation’s mentality. They seem to be a generation completely obsessed with the awesomeness of their own success. They are infinitely proud to have bootstrapped themselves out of the doldrums of 1950’s America into wealth, status and privilege like the world has never seen, all along the way creating music that the world will never be able to match in passion or creativity. Their obsession with this success is what blinds them to the reality of American life. They’re so intoxicated with their own flatulence that they can’t smell the burning garbage and toxic waste piling up on the streets. They’ve made it in this world, and if everyone else just did it like they did everything would be fine. Meanwhile, their children will be the first generation in a long time to live worse than their parents, and yet the boomers fail to see the irony of their own worldview crumbling beneath them.