Talkin’ ’bout my generation? ‘Buzz Ballads’ has doomed classic rock

By Eric Naing

I’ve seen practically every commercial for compilation CDs from “Sounds of the Sixties” to “Superstars of Country” but none has affected me more profoundly than a commercial I recently saw for the ’90s rock compilation “Buzz Ballads.” As the songs I had once cherished were paraded out as “retro” on my television, I wondered if I was officially old now and if this was a sign that my generation’s time had finally come.

Considering that I was barely six by the time 1989 rolled around, I can’t really consider myself a child of the ’80s. At that time if it wasn’t a crime-fighting mutant reptile or if it didn’t transform into a laser-shooting robot, I didn’t care. Which is a shame because at least musically, the ’80s were far more prolific than Men Without Hats or Bon Jovi would have you believe. But as I was saying, I came of age in the 1990s and the music of that infamous decade will always be mine.

Roll your eyes if you will, but Oasis’s “Champaign Supernova” and Marcy Playground’s “Sex And Candy” will always hold a special place in the hearts of millions my age. And one day, the time will come when we will force everyone else to appreciate these songs as much as we do.

At the moment, we are all totally at the whim of the baby boomers. Do you think The Rolling Stones are overrated? Do you not get particularly wistful and nostalgic while watching “Forrest Gump”? Do you find “The Brady Bunch” to be boring? Well, too bad.

Whatever music, movies or values the boomers like, we must as well. Our past two presidents are both baby boomers, so are U2’s Bono, George Clooney, Oprah Winfrey and the oh-so-hip Jon Stewart. But change is blowin’ in the wind as an aging, folk-singing former hippie might say.

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    According to a PBS news special, I am a part of the awkwardly named “Generation Next.” We’re age 16 to 25, we’re diverse, we grew up with the Internet, the defining moment of our adolescence was Sept. 11, and we’re taking over at record pace and demanding to be capitalized. Our growing ascension into public life will bring great change and issues such as gay marriage will become less controversial.

    The vice grip that baby boomers have had on our culture is slowing loosening with every passing day (and passing boomer, sadly.) The “Buzz Ballads” CD is just one sign of the boomer apocalypse.

    Barely seven years past 1999 and VH1 has already produced two installments of their “I Love the ’90s” series in what must be a new record for decade-based nostalgia. Remakes of television shows cherished by the youth of the ’50s and ’60s are being replaced by remakes of television shows from my youth. At this very moment, director Michael Bay is turning those aforementioned transforming robots into an explosion-happy summer blockbuster. Sooner or later, Vertical Horizon’s “Everything You Want” and Bush’s “Glycerine” will be regular fixtures on classic rock stations across the country.

    The time of the baby boomers is passing and Generation X is currently (and unfortunately) forcing us to look back upon the 1970s with fondness.

    Well, I’ve had enough. “Buzz Ballads” is not a sign that I’m yesterday’s news; it’s a rallying call for my generation to take its rightful place as the new masters of popular culture. No more shall we be forced to endure references to Monty Python.

    No more shall we be told that all great music comes from the 1960s. From now on, we will reference “The Simpsons” and praise the gospel of Radiohead. The hot pinks and neon greens of the early ’90s will soon be cornerstones of retro fashion.

    It will be at least a decade until someone from my generation has a chance at becoming President, but when that magical day does occur maybe they’ll use Third Eye Blind’s “Jumper” as their campaign song.