Where is all the angry, raw, edgy music? This is a common discussion in my house. The Who’s headline set at Glastonbury last night reminded us that a whole generation of disenfranchised young people were given a voice, by four teenagers who were sick of being treated like second class citizens…and we are still listening to them now. Their lyrics still carry meaning and a sense of urgency.
Of course, not everyone will agree with me on this as there are many different music movements out there, many being spearheaded by teenagers. My issue here is that many of us do not get to hear this music as it never becomes mainstream…record companies do not appear to be signing these bands and giving them the platforms they need.
Pete Townshend has been vocal about his choice to respond to feeling misunderstood and lacking in control over his life when he was younger. He felt there needed to be a response that demonstrated that youth have something to say. They do matter. 50 years on and we appear to be on a similar situation, with quite a lot of dissatisfaction with life and a real sense of a lack of opportunity for our young people.
Music is a great form for expressing opinion, for creating an outlet for feelings and perhaps most importantly…being heard. Townshend has also stated that he was afraid he would get arrested for being so outspoken about his generation. But he did it anyway.
This is why arts-based projects are so important. Young people are able to gain confidence by learning new skills, such as DJ’ing, producing, acting etc, but are also given permission to tell us how they are feeling. When we are anxious or worried, we are always told that it’s good to talk about your feelings – to get them out of the open and into the conscious part of your mind. So why aren’t we encouraging more young people to do the same?