Whatstep? Music Through the Eyes of the Unhip


Music is awesome for lots of reasons. Music is great to see live, it can put you in a good mood, you can bond with people over mutual musical interests. In adolescence, music defines social circles and influences fashion. As we get older, listening to music we like when we were younger can take us back to those days. Also as we get older, new music can baffle us, slowly transforming people into those old fogies who just don’t understand what “kids these days listen to!” Music is like a litmus test of how in-tune with your generation you are, and of how in-touch you are with mainstream culture and your peers. In terms of music, I am about fifteen years older than my peers and very, very un-hip. 

"And I really love that other band, Skittlrex!"

Now, I should probably note I’ve never exactly been “hip” or a “cool kid.” But as a teenager, I at least knew what the new music trends were, and I enjoyed them for the most part, when I wasn’t listening to Nine Inch Nails practically non-stop my freshman year or lots of classic rock in my hippie stage during my junior and senior years. In community college, I was really into alt/indie music, and had a lot of peers who were as well. Now, I rarely know what other people my age listen too, and I can only guess it’s a lot of Lady Gaga or Katy Perry. I honestly have no idea, and I don’t know when the transformation from in-touch to out-of-touch began. I think it had happened the first time I heard dub step. I waited for the music to hit a point where it would break down into something coherent, but no such thing ever came. I listened to what sounded like already-bad techno music playing in the background of a  really loud 90s internet dial-up connection, with bass so heavy, it made my brain throb. It was explained to me that it was “great drug music,” which I guess means it makes you want to leave the reality that created that sound so badly, you’re willing to alter your consciousness in any way possible to escape it’s fax machine-sounding grasp. I didn’t know what to think the first time, but my reaction was similar to the youtube videos of Kramer listening to dubstep. The transformation went from there.

This sums it up pretty well...

My next experience that made me realize how out of touch I was with new music scenes was when I was training for the DJ spot I currently have on kssu. The memory haunts me to this day, and I re-live it every time I read anything about Deadmau5: The DJ I was shadowing, miss Laura Love, was training me on how to input the playlist into the excel spreadsheet. I saw the name Deadmau5 and exclaimed, “Dead mouse five, huh? I’ve never heard of them, what are they like?” And with that, my cover as a cool person was forever blown!

The last thing that made me realize how out of touch I am is when I realized that other than my husband, who listens to almost nothing put out after 1995, I was probably the last 25 year old to know what LMFAO was. Ignorant it was even a band, I thought it was referring to the text/chat acronym for “laughing my fucking ass off.” Oh, but it’s not, it’s totally a band, made up of a dude named Redfoo and his nephew Skyblu, who is only about 8 months older than me, which just proves that I am a grandma and am much older on the inside than my years indicate.

I try to hide this awful truth from my fellow DJs, but every so often I reveal my musical unhip-ness when I make comments like the one about Deadmau5 mentioned above (and don’t even get me started on Skrillex, who I thought was Skrillrex for the longest time). When I worked in retail, pop music often played for hours nonstop, so I could at least fake it when I went out and know a few of the words. But now that I’m no longer in retail, and I refuse to listen to the pop stations because they’re awful, I’m even more out of touch then ever.

This isn’t all to say that I am complaining about the quality older music or what I currently listen to. I enjoy what I listen to, and lately I’ve been trying to listen to newer music. In the past few months, I’ve started listening to a few of new bands, like Trampled by Turtles and Gotye. Most of it is bluegrass and indie, which isn’t exactly mainstream or a large section of music consumers by any means, but I do feel like I am getting back into being interested in new music, which I haven’t been for awhile. Though I don’t enjoy dubstep or a lot of electronica, I do like how musicians are constantly utilizing technology in new ways to create new music. Other styles of music will incorporate these newer elements, creating another medium for musicians to work with. And who knows? Maybe a new style of music will come out that I will really enjoy, and I won’t feel so old after all!

If you like my articles, you’ll really like my radio show, Technical Difficulties! Tune in every Thursday afternoon at 3pm on kssu.com, Sacramento State’s only student-run radio!

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Comments

  1. As a fellow 20 something year old I know what your are going through. I just go to Pandora and start a station based on a band i like and find new music that way. There is a lot of music out there, and most of it we never hear! Just find what you like and go with it! Most of my favorite bands right now are from Sweden and Norway or the UK. Does it really matter if your “Hip”? Does your music excite and invigorate you? A good rule of thumb I use is if it gives you goose bumps its worth listening to all of what they have made. Good luck not being hip! None of us are!

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