Opinion: Trapp’s take on old and new tunes


While an eyeroll is a default response to my parents’ constant criticisms of my generation, our clothes, interests and overall outlook on the world, there is one specific area where I can agree with them. Gen Z has some of the worst music in comparison to any other generation. While my parents grew up with some of the most legendary artists and bands – Queen, Elton John, LED Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, Van Halen, etc. – I grew up listening to a blend of unintelligible noise and auto-tune. As if a lack of a “deeper meaning” or any sort of poetry in music wasn’t enough, my generation also marked the end of legitimate musicians in the music industry. For the past two decades, the music industry has seen a surplus of singers/rappers and a noticeable lack of instrumental musicians. The blame could fall on the convenience of technology, forcing the drive for electronically created music, or it could fall upon the laziness that is now being put into music. 



Although hip-hop/rap is the dominant genre of music for Gen Z, very few rap songs have come even remotely close to the works of early ‘90s hip hop. Now, I know that ‘90s music is a gray area for which generation it “belongs” to, but I’m making the argument that 30-year-old Gen Xs most likely listened to ‘90s music more than 1-year-old Gen Zs. Getting back on track, the works of Tupac, Wu-Tang Clan and The Notorious B.I.G. are clearly superior to the, simply put, dumpster fires we call rappers today. 6ix9ine, DaBaby and NBA YoungBoy are all running jokes in my family. The punchline? Perhaps some of the worst music my parents have ever heard. The auto-tune and lack of creativity within lyrics are some of the many factors that modern day rappers have stained the genre of hip hop with. My parents have made the argument that almost every rap song today sounds exactly the same and it’s difficult to argue with them. It is safe to assume that every other line in modern rap is a gloat of wealth, blatant misogyny, threat of violence, or unintelligible noise. This “music” is nothing compared to the artistry created in songs like “Keep Ya Head Up” by Tupac. This specific song was a piece written to bring awareness to the abuses black women faced in society. Other songs in ‘90s rap were infamous for their messages towards racial struggles or the political climate.



There is no arguing. Gen X grew up with the best rock music the world has yet to see. The lyrics, music and messages within some of the most legendary rock bands knock any other generation out of the competition. Bands like The Who, Queen, Aerosmith, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Nirvana, Rolling Stones and so many other rock legends are the reason I say my parents had better music. These bands are the reason people love “the classics.” They are the most influential, lyrically genius and catchiest bands that have grazed the music industry. I will say that, next to alternative music, rock music is some of the highest quality music Gen Z experiences, however, this is only because so many rock bands are based off of the ‘60-’90s rock. For example, Tame Impala, Cage the Elephant, Smashing Pumpkins, etc. These bands, the most popular and highest quality rock bands of the Gen Z timeline, are all infamous for their inspiration from ‘60-’90s rock/blues.



The indie music Gen Z listens to is the closest in comparison to the indie music Gen X listens to. However close the competition is, I can say with full confidence that Gen X takes the win in this genre as well. My favorite indie bands are all from my parents’ generation. Joy Division, Pixies, Dinosaur Jr, Jane’s Addiction, etc. These bands are the headline of indie music and set the general guideline for modern day alternative/indie music. Like rock, most indie bands today find inspiration from past generations. Band of Horses, the Neighborhood and the 1975, my personal favorites, come close to the win in this genre, but because the inspiration comes from a previous generation, I give the victory within indie music quality to Gen X. 


To conclude, my mother would most likely tell me to say something positive about today’s music. Something along the lines of how “all music is different and enjoyable in its own way, and because music taste is based on opinion, it is theoretically impossible to compare music and claim the ranking as factual.” It’s nice to think that all music deserves praise, but there’s a reason the Grammys don’t hand out participation trophies. It is clear that my generation’s music is a complete nightmare if it’s musical inspiration is not derived from previous generations. In complete and utter summary, our music is bad.