Millennials have killed guitar music. Killed it dead. There's never been a generation that hasn't been defined by a rock and roll movement, until now.
Maybe if they had got off Snapchat and stopped allowing Simon Cowell to spoonfeed them music culture via Saturday night television, things could have been so different.
But here we are.
I'm part of the forgotten generation. Generation X. The ultimate tune in, drop out, MTV, smoking indoors, pill-popping, lager-obsessed, grunge-head, raving generation.
Millennials have forgotten about us just like they’ve forgotten about guitar music. They coined the phrase "OK Boomer", going straight for our parents' generation. Isn't the fun of generation bashing to bash the ones above you? Can millennials do anything right?
The youngest generation, Generation Z (or "zoomers" as they’re aptly called) don't think so. Young kids mocking millennials on TikTok is the new trend. Do you know what zoomers say about millennials? They say they're obsessed with Harry Potter, coffee and are boring as f*ck.
They're not wrong.
Hold on, I hear you say, as you drink your coffee and pause your Harry Potter film, what's all this millennial bashing got to do with music?
Everything goddammit. Music is a generational thing.
For all the supposed millennial outrage at the world, they have no protest song to march to, no anthem which unites them under one banner. Where's their Redemption Song? Where's their "f*ck you I won't do what you tell me"? Where's their All The Young Dudes? Where's their Give Peace a Chance?
I blame drink and drugs. A lack of them. Substance abuse peaked with Generation X. Millennials can't even party correctly. Partying and music go hand in hand. It's why the rave scene exploded with ecstasy, it's why weed-smoking made stoner rock, it's why hallucinogens spawned the psychedelic '60s. What can Starbucks and selfies spawn, other than corporate pop? You lot got the culture you deserve. That’s right, I’m blaming you.
Am I sounding like an old man shouting at clouds? Well good. If I didn't sound out of step with millennial culture, it would be a worry.
So, what is there left to do in these bleak musical times other than to delve into the past, to reclaim the guitar music of yesteryear, to reframe the phrase "OK Boomer" to mean ok, now I understand what those trailblazing, ex-hippies were talking about.
So I started with The Beatles. I had to start it somewhere, so I started there.
In January this year, I drove to and from work ploughing through their albums; Abbey Road, The White Album, then back further to Revolver and Rubber Soul. I was amazed. It was a deep ocean of talent and melody. By February, I'd slid into Lennon's solo work and then fully immersed myself in the '70s, picking up Dennis Wilson's debut album Pacific Ocean Blue. The potency of 'Friday Night' and 'River Song' blew me away. How did such songs exist without my knowledge? Then I waded in some more, surrounded myself with Americana rock and roll. The guitar struttin' masculine energy of Bad Company, Ted Nugent, and Rush, Spotify allowing me to slide in and out of genres and decades like a musical slut.
I then got hooked on the alternative, psychedelic warmth of Gene Clark's album No Other. If you decide to investigate any of the music in this article, I suggest this is the one you embrace. I played it at home, as my 2 year old played with his toys, hoping I could begin to educate him about music in the same way my father shoved Bob Dylan and Van Morrison into my ears when I was growing up.
But as fun as plundering the musical depths can be, we all default back to our genre, our home, and it wasn't long before I was listening once again to heavy rock and metal, AC/DC once more on rotation.
I've always said, if you don't like AC/DC, then you don't like music.
If you are a millennial, I'd suggest your first antidote to the anodyne music of today is to watch their performance at River Plate stadium in Argentina and tell me it's not your cup of tea - sorry, cup of spiced pumpkin latte.
My first girlfriend bought me their album Highway to Hell in 1995 on CD and I still have it on my shelf, the cover warped and discoloured from Red Stripe being accidentally poured on it as we walked around town getting drunk that sunny June day.
AC/DC have enough of a back catalogue to find something new if you go looking. At the end of 2019 I got hooked on their track 'Are You Ready?', a tour de force of upbeat rock and roll that got me mentally prepared in the mornings for an office job that I hated. It was "f*ck you" crossed with "you can do it" just enough to get me through those corporate doors.
It was in February, I heard their track 'Back in Business'. It's from an older AC/DC album that wasn't well-received, where their sound was more punky, more raucous, rougher. I instantly loved this song. The defiance of the chorus, it's the ultimate come back tune.
"Just tell the boys that I'm gonna be back in business again" singer Jonhson screeches over and over.
It's as if he's singing about guitar music itself, the past close behind. Then, as the world was brought to its knees with the coronavirus pandemic, it was as if he was singing about society, and then it felt like he was singing about me.
Isn't that always the way with the greatest songs? We know they're secretly about us.
It's old school, beer-drinking rock and roll. It's a sabre-rattle of a bygone age roaring back into the present, it's the defiance of guitar music and human tenacity in one throw away, 3 minute rock song.
It's about bouncing back, like a rising Phoenix from the flames, the greatest comeback since Lazarus. It's a technicolour explosion over the beige sea of millennial culture, reaching out to Generation Z and saying "remember who you are, you are us, just younger.”
It's about the human spirit goddamit, it’s a battle cry against everything 2020 has taken away from us and what millennials have killed with their Puritan intolerance.
Or maybe, just maybe, it's some old fashioned guys with guitars from 1985. But, I ask you, does the truth really matter when it comes to art?