The Canon


X-cuse me

A difference I've noticed between Boomers and Gen X is that Boomer music is canonized. No Boomer is take seriously if they say, "I hate Aretha Franklin" or "Bob Dylan's a hack." The key acts of their era are universally regarded as great, and some whackjobs and religious fundies aside, almost universally beloved by the age group.

Gen X doesn't have that. Nirvana is the closest, but certainly at the time I remember my college RA saying they wouldn't last because they only played three chords.

Who else? Nine Inch Nails? Despite Trent Reznor now being an acclaimed soundtrack artist as well, I can think of at least one person I know who essentially blames his music and attitude for everything bad about the '90s. Metallica? Half their own fanbase only likes their first three albums, or maybe four. Lots of people hate the Red Hot Chili Peppers, for their personal conduct as well as their music. Beastie Boys? I personally do not care for them. Peral Jam seem inoffensive now, but Eddie Vedder used to draw heat as well.

Moving over to rap, well, I think we in the '90s cut a lot more slack to some of those lyrics than folks would today. Kinda hard to imagine Dre performing "Bitches Ain't Shit" today with no blowback. Same with Ice Cube and "Black Korea." Snoop Dogg perhaps escapes, since his most famous songs are about his name and his weed.

There is arguably a canon of '80s stars. Prince. Michael Jackson. Madonna. Weird Al. But it's still not as big as Boomer canon.


  1. An issue with 90s music longevity is it was the era of everyone clearly listening to an artist while pretending to hate them. Spice Girls selling millions of records, selling out arenas, getting a movue, yet no one would admit to being a fan. We were absolute wierdos about it.

    1. my friend Ben was an overt fan. But I had to go to the UK to buy him a T-shirt that would (barely) fit his male bod.


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