When I first read David Bauder’s Long Lost Listener Has to Relearn Top 40 (SF Gate, August 7, 2006), I was pretty dismayed about how sad and out-of-touch the guy sounded. I also thought that this was so hopeless that it would just fade away. Now that AP is syndicating this all of the place, it can’t be ignored.
At first, it’s hard to gainsay someone who admits to being over 40 and not understanding the top 40- that’s just part and parcel of the music industry. You figure that publications like to reassure their adult audience that they shouldn’t feel bad if they don’t happen to know all the hits of the day (one day their kids will have the problem). But when the same person says “I’m a music journalist and even I don’t understand what’s going on,” that’s a problem- in the article, he even brags that he’s a voting member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It would be much more honest to say “Even though I’m a music journalist covering the scene, I’ve been pretty slack with keeping up with what’s going on now.” At least, he tried to catch up for the moment but you kind of wonder if he’ll ever get the inkling to do it again.
Worse still, this is the kind of nonsense that will reinforce some middle age readers/listeners to keep being afraid of modern music and not take a chance with it, much the same way Nick Hornby used to pawn the same B.S. in editorials (i.e. “Rock of Ages” (New York Times, May 21, 2004)). I mean, if you’re gonna push an age-old fearful lie about modern music, better to stick with something like this: Study says teens who listen to raunchy songs have sex earlier. Makes you want to smoke a cigarette now, doesn’t it…?