Musicians, when they’re not trying to indoctrinate us into their weird streaming cult, are inciting violence among our children or provoking the premature sexualisation of teens.
Or are they?
Teen site Rookiemag has been challenging the assumption that rap and rock stars are a bad influence on future generations by enlisting some of the biggest and best names in music to dole out advice for its Ask an Adult video series. Here are some of the best.
As with many famous extroverts or eccentrics, there is a shy and insecure being who’s perfected the art of being vivacious as the public persona. Here, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’s frontwoman offers some sage advice on stage fright, which could be relevant for anyone suffering from a crisis of confidence. (She suggests getting angry, drunk and faking a sense of self-certainty). Most precious are her philosophical thoughts on heartache and the artistic “gift” of being heartbroken.
“Heartbreak is pretty much one of the most romantic things that could happen to you,” she says. “It’s way more romantic than just staying with your boyfriend for another three or four years and breaking up and falling apart … you get the opportunity to feel one of the most intense, soul shaking, to-your-core and most alive feelings that there is as a human being.”
From first kisses (“go ahead and do it!”) to the best method for breaking up with a partner (“blame your parents – that’s a good out”), Adam Horowitz, aka Ad-Rock, is an expert in matters of the heart.
He’s also quick to point out the crucial differences between women and men – “boys are, for the most part, not very observant or altogether smart for that matter” – and is particularly effective when reassuring one viewer about their regular bouts of insecurity: “Everybody feels that way weekly. You’re not alone. When I get down or feel alone or depressed I make music. It makes me happy. Think about the thing that makes you happiest and do that.”
Run the Jewels
Perhaps it’s something to do with the hip-hop crowd, but Run the Jewels have a similar stance to Ad-Rock regarding the gender divide: According to EL-P and Killer Mike “guys are dumb” and “mature slower than girls, so that means we’re confused about our bodies for a lot longer”.
The rappers are also experts on first dates (“don’t go to a movie, go for some food”), age gaps (don’t date someone in their 20s when you are 14), and how to get over an ex: “The easiest way to get over a hurt heart or broken promise or love lost is to find another love.” Which, I presume, is the PG version of telling someone to get over a guy by getting under another one.
If you thought slacker rock was all about wearing caps and acting aloof, then here’s the genre’s holy leader Stephen Malkmus discussing all matters of emotions, such as intra-band crushes – “I think that crushes are virtually impossible to crash so I think you should just act on it because an unrequited crush is also going to put a lot of stress on the band” – and how to navigate the tricky emotional logistics of casual sex. While wearing a cap.
Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich
Perhaps the most revealing of all is producer Nigel Godrich and Radiohead’s Thom Yorke’s sweetly effacing video. I like how Godrich is wise, considered and thorough while Yorke is a little more prone to misbehaviour and unpredictability.
The Ask a Grown Man series also allows two notoriously private men to talk candidly about topics other than Ableton or Spotify. Instead, you get musings on the initial sparks of attraction (“those little electrical impulses – they’re the best bit … one of the nicest things about being alive”) and advice on how to overcome shyness in the face of love.
Yorke said: “If you have a crush on him, if you’re really, really, really, really shy, which is what I was at that age – also, I was at a boys’ school so it was impossible to meet girls anyway – how about just write him a note? Or if you can’t bear it, just throw him against a wall sometime.”
And, on the beauty of physical imperfections (Yorke was born with one eye fixed shut): “When I was your age I was convinced that girls would think it was not very nice at all. I worked in this pub and this old woman used to come in all the time. She was the first person to say: ‘It’s the nicest thing about you.’ She was pissed at the time, but you know, I went with it.” – © Guardian News & Media Ltd, 2015