Follow up: Here’s to us fools that have no meaning

by mikeflanagan1

I’ve seen a lot of responses to my article around the internet, particularly on Steve Klein’s Tumblr. Most of the commenters said they agreed with me, which makes sense because I’d assume there aren’t a whole lot of non-NFG fans who read Steve’s blog (he’s New Found Glory’s rhythm guitarist). One response, however, raised a lot of issues with my piece I think a lot of people have called into question. I may have failed in my execution a bit, and I realize upon rereading it that I may have spent too much time bashing bands I happen not to like and not enough time generalizing my point.

My intention was not to expose to the world what a huge douchebag Pete Wentz is or how unauthentic All Time Low is. These claims are 100% my opinion…this is a blog, after all. You won’t lose credibility with me if you tell me you like Fall Out Boy’s older material, or even their new material if you give me good reasons. That simply means that you found something in Fall Out Boy’s music that I do not recognize. Music is what you get out of it.

The person whose response prompted me to follow up had this point to make:

But if you look to bands like Four Year Strong; Set Your Goals; Fireworks; The Swellers; Hit The Lights, you’ll see that a strong element of punk music still remains in their sound. That pop-punk as a genre is still alive. But it is not up to these bands to maintain the community; it is up to you, to US. And what are we going to do? Just sit here and dismiss it all? Give up? Stop Believing? –

I realize I absolutely could have made my stance clearer. In fact, perhaps I both specified and generalized too much. My focus, in the grand scheme, is not on pop-punk. Pop-punk is the genre on which I grew up, so naturally that’s what I have to go by. In the early 90’s people had grunge. In the 80’s they had something else, the 70’s something else, and so forth. Every generation, every demographic has its own music. There’s a spirit in music that speaks to people and a particular energy that connects to certain demographics, for whatever reason.

What New Found Glory and other pop-punk bands had to say really rang true to me at the time, and I can infer from the huge response that it rang true for a lot of others as well. My point is that the music that is gaining popularity in the same way and to the same demographic that pop-punk did roughly a decade ago is void of any kind of real voice or connection. Nowadays, kids listen to music because it’s part of a style. I don’t mean to criticize it just because I don’t like it (I may have lost site of that), but because I don’t think it holds the same value as popular music of the past. Even the Backstreet Boys had something people could hold onto, even if they were in it for the radio play and money. They were five guys that could all sing, and people could relate to their love songs.

To me, it’s a problem when kids that are the same as as I was when I found beauty in the words “Is it true that you like to sleep alone / or is it what you just tell everyone?” are singing “Take your panties off, ho / take your sweater off too / I’m about to show you what your boyfriend can’t do / I’m a celebrity baby / Brokencyde is my crew / And there ain’t nothing you can do / So fuck you!” and trying to live their adolescent lives accordingly.

Bottom line: I’m sorry I was so hard on Fall Out Boy and All Time Low. They shouldn’t have been my main targets. My point is that the music that is popular with 12, 13, 14-year old kids today lacks any kind of value or substance. The music scene that teeters between underground and mainstream has become riddled with vicious cliches and destructive stigmas, and the music is just an afterthought.

I appreciate all the responses, whether they affirm or deny my idea. That’s what blogging is all about. I’m glad to be a part of this discussion, which is much bigger than me. Like I said in my Introduction, I’m not out to convince people I’m smarter than them. I don’t believe that for a second.


Note: I couldn’t find a way to contact the person who wrote that lengthy response on Tumblr. If you somehow happen to see this, I apologize if you don’t want me to link you, or whatever. Feel free to contact me if you want, for any reason at all. Thanks!