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Crookston Times - Crookston, MN
  • Christopherson Column: Young music aficionado teases me, then breaks my heart

  • As of last Saturday, I believe I’m officially in my mid-40s now, so is that why I find myself looking at my kids seemingly more than ever these days with bewilderment written all over my face, as I ask, yet again, “Are you serious?”
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  •     As of last Saturday, I believe I’m officially in my mid-40s now, so is that why I find myself looking at my kids seemingly more than ever these days with bewilderment written all over my face, as I ask, yet again, “Are you serious?”   
        We’ll get back to the reason behind the latest instance in which I uttered those three words momentarily. But for now, I’m simply wondering if this apparent transformation I am undergoing is a product of my age. Are there people reading this column right now in their 50s, 60s and beyond nodding slowly, as they recall the moment when they started to wonder if they simply didn’t “get it” any longer, or became overcome with feelings of overwhelming dread as they convinced themselves that the world around them was crumbling and that the younger generation would be leading society’s plunge into the abyss?   
        Which brings us back to my latest “Are you serious?” moment, brought on by a rapper named DJ Snake and his collaborator, “crunk” rapper, Lil John. Don’t know what “crunk” is? Don’t waste a minute Googling the word to find out, because you’ll never get those 60 seconds back. Let’s just say it’s a genre of rap that seems to be defined as terrible rap music, only infinitely worse.   
        DJ Snake and Lil John came up with a song called “Turn Down for What.” The song consists of Lil John screaming “Turn down for what!” around 134 times. In addition, according to an online search for the lyrics of this little musical ditty, at many points in the song the words “ball and out” and “let the body shots” are also shouted.   
        And our youngest son thinks it’s right up there artistically with Pink Floyd’s timeless concept album, “The Wall.” There are many songs that will make him yell from the back seat of the truck, “No, wait! That’s a good song!” when I’m repeatedly hitting the “seek” button on the radio, and “Turn Down for What” is, tragically, one of them.    
        Now, I feel like in order to be fair to our son, I must note that he is a true music lover, and that some of my proudest moments are when he starts singing along to some song from the 1970s that I’ve dug for decades, or some newer, alternative rock song that I dig now. He seems to know every word, drum beat and guitar riff to countless songs that I, too, am intimately familiar with, which proves to me yet again that he is indeed a chip off my block.   
    Page 2 of 3 -     But his affection for “Turn Down for What” makes me not want to let him live in our house anymore. I seriously think he should go and stay with a friend for a while, or maybe just spend a few nights in the shed with the lawnmower and the bird seed.   
        If there were a list that includes, for the purposes of the point I’m trying to make, 10 billion of the worst things in the history of the universe, the song “Turn Down for What” would be firmly entrenched at  #9,999,999,999. So what putrid thing could possibly check in at the 10 billionth slot, you might be wondering? It’s none other than the music video for “Turn Down for What.”   
        My temptation, rather than try to explain what happens in the video, is to tell you to see it for yourself on YouTube. But I don’t know if I’m able to willingly subject you to such torture. I’d rather stand in the corner of a cinder block room and giggle while you’re being waterboarded by Sarah Palin.   
        So, rather than watch something that will permanently crush your soul and dash all of your future hopes and dreams, I’ll tell you that the video involves a young man and a young woman who kind of go bananas, and an older woman – maybe a mother character – who follows suit. They end up at a wild house party, where male and female body parts, some unnaturally oversized, are rubbed and grinded on people. I also think some hidden mechanical mechanisms are used to make the body parts bounce and wiggle back and forth. It’s right up there with “Citizen Kane”...on opposite day.   
        There, I did it. I actually just wrote the previous paragraph. I’ve written around 2,000 columns in my day, which probably adds up to around 500,000 paragraphs. But typing the one you just read has not only scarred me emotionally for all eternity, I think my brain is responding to the sin I’ve just committed by causing my body to feel actual, physical pain.   
        So, at age 44, am I officially an old fogey? Am I just not hip to what the kids are grooving to these days?   
        I think not. I simply think “Turn Down for What” is that bad, as I cling to the hope that the song officially marks the point at which the bar has been set on the lowest possible rung, and that we can now only rise from this abysmal depth of despair.
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