In Defense of Green Day: Why They Deserve to Be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Why You Shouldn't Make Them Feel Bad About It
Okay, so, we can all admit that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is not the most credible establishment in the music world. Actually, arguably every lauded award is not considered credible to the music snobs of the world. But to put people down for being praised and recognized for their contributions to some scene- music, literature, film, etc.- just screams of jealousy and feelings of inferiority. It's like people are compensating for their own insecurities when they mock people for their successes.
Today, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Class of 2015 was announced, and Green Day, Lou Reed, and Joan Jett were among those recognized. That's amazing. These are all acts that pushed barriers, redefined youth culture, and led to formation of so many other artists. The fact that Green Day in particular is being called out, once again, for being sell outs just shows how people quickly forget just how much others contribute to the world they live in.
Green Day was the band to break through the barriers and bring pop punk, albeit not my favorite genre, into the forefront of mainstream America. Whether that's good or bad in your opinion, you have to admire an act that broke through the grunge walls and offered the youth something other than garbled words and rough vocals (not that I don't love some grunge). They also introduced the punk scene to the youth of the time. Again, whether or not you think that is good is not the point; you don't realize how many bands would not have existed had it not been for Green Day. My Chemical Romance, Good Charlotte, 5 Seconds of Summer, All Time Low, Blink 182, Fall Out Boy, Aiden- those are just a few that were inspired by and who reaped the benefits of Green Day's meteoric rise to fame.
They broke down doors, smashed them in with their simple four chords and snotty lyrics. Somehow, they packaged rebellion in a way that it became a commodity that the public ate up. So many people were inspired by their brash ideas and nonconformist mentality that, they too, went out and questioned the status quo. In itself, that's enough to warrant some recognition.
They introduced the youth to a whole new world of music. They are a gateway band. Through them you can learn about the Kinks, the Clash, Operation Ivy, Bouncing Souls, Rancid, Bad Brains, etc. They may sometimes have had more of a pop edge (I'm thinking of 1997's Nimrod), but their list of influences had kids running to the CD and cassette racks of their local music stores just to build their musical vernacular. They revitalized old bands and brought them to the forefront of a new generation's mind.
Then you have the fact that they aren't just a band for one generation; they, like The Rolling Stones, have redefined themselves over and over to appeal to different generations. I mean, just going to one of their shows shows you the age range of their demographic. I remember seeing them on the American Idiot Tour when I was fourteen; there were people there at least ten years older than me and some even ten years younger than me, hands clutching on their parents' hands as they watched the band that inspired their parents. They're such a unifying act, such a band that has crossed generations and has been the voice of discontent within a nation that somehow outsmarted the men in charge and got radio play- they deserve that Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nod.
I get it. No one has respect for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame anymore but, I just want to ask this one question: why is it that when people are recognized for their talents that others get upset? Why can't we just be happy that people are being recognized for something good? It's some sick, twisted part of humanity that, I think, has perpetuated this idea that once you are recognized for your work, you are no longer credible. That idea is no more apparent than it is in the music industry where people are put down for having Grammy Nominations, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nods, BBC Awards, etc. There's something sad about that and something incredibly underachieving. If you ask me, I would love all the awards and revel in the fact that my talent is being recognized (granted, the Grammys are really losing credibility; I mean, Ariana Grande? Come on, people). But it's like people are afraid of failure and instead of trying and reaching for those awards, they settle for mediocrity and heckle those who do achieve. It's a condition of our times, an acceptance of the lackluster, and it's so incredibly disheartening and makes you wonder when it became okay to not shoot for the stars but to accept earthbound feet.
I think that people should be proud that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is recognizing such progressive acts that, in their time, redefined music and youth culture; people should embrace the idea that maybe, just maybe, their art and their music is finally being recognized as legitimate.
Or maybe that's the problem; maybe people love wallowing on the outskirts and, once they are acknowledged as something credible, they lose all love for it. If that's the case, then why are you trying to reach an audience?