Critic: Rock Band, Guitar Hero Glorify Parents' Overrated Rock

A music critic at a classy publication recently subjected himself to several dozen hours playing Guitar Hero and Rock Band and now recognises the insidious influence they might have on the youth of America.

After opening his article for The New Republic with a reference to how he and his fellow "smug old children of the '70s" lament the passing influence of the music of their youth, critic David Hajdu discovers a cruel twist. The music games that are so popular on consoles today bring older music to younger audiences, continuing what he considers to be the lamentable tradition of letting an older generation condescend to a younger one that older music is superior music:

For another thing—and this is the main failing of music games, and it is a significant one—they have the insidious effect of glorifying classic rock, a music with an already bloated reputation that is founded on its very bloatedness. In the games' absorption with technical prowess, speed, flash, grandiose show, and fakery, they not only affirm the enduring allure of classic rock to kids and young adults, especially males; they also advance its tyranny. People like me who have kids of video-game-playing age no doubt get many things wrong about these games, and chief among the errors of our age group, I think, is inflated generational pride in the 1970s-style arena rock that Guitar Hero and Rock Band promote to our descendants—kids who might otherwise, and perhaps more appropriately, use their after-school hours to nurture interests in music of their own. The games reassure us that our aftercomers are our heirs. They are male-oriented tools of cultural primogeniture, applications of twenty-first-century technology with a very ancient mission.

The full article will appear in the magazine's December 2 issue.

Pretending [The New Republic]


Comments

    And here's me just thinking it was a game...

    'Advancing the tyranny' of classic 70s rock music on today's youth is definitely a criticism of video games I haven't come across before. Like, huh?

    That is an interesting read. He has a fair few valid points too. Now i expect the comments to be all about hurt and defensive gamers.

      lawl, isn't that what all comments are?

      Agreed. His point is well made. Though I believe this criticism should also be extended to pub cover bands.

    "People like me who have kids of video-game-playing age no doubt get many things wrong"

    Being in the target group he describes, I've seen bad generalizations and then there's this one.

    Name me a good song released this year, I bet you can't without thinking hard.

      Unless you're over 60, that's quite a sad comment.

      Despite this being a troll feeding - I'll name a few.

      "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked" by Cage the Elephant.
      (techincally a 2008 release, but the album is 2009, which contains a few other songs that are quite good.)

      "Clap for the Killers" by "Street Sweeper Sound System" (or indeed just about any of their tracks)

      "Zydrate Anatomy", "Legal Assasin", "21st Century Cure", "Genetic Repo Man", "Chase the Morning" and "Night Surgeon" from the REPO soundtrack (arguably older due to the stage play, but these are new recordings re-done for the theatrical version)

      "Set Fire To the Hive", "Umbra" and "Simple Boy" from Karnivool's "Sound Awake"

    And it makes you a terrorist!

    I'M JACK THOMPSON AND I'M A LAWYER

    But seriously. Current mainstream 'rock' these days is rubbishy anyway, and if you really want to play that crap, buy Band Hero. =/

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