339: Classic

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Revision as of 00:19, 8 January 2014 by Smallberries (talk | contribs) (Explanation)
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Someone get that Pachelbel's Canon kid a recording contract, stat.
Title text: Someone get that Pachelbel's Canon kid a recording contract, stat.


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Cueball has noticed, while listening to/watching Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin, that (at least some of) the music of the Baby Boomer generation is lyrically better than current music.

The title text refers to Pachelbel's Canon and probably Lim Jeong-hyun whose [video][1] was a hit on YouTube.

The implication here is that when young viewers who come across older, established, and even legendary artists that have been posted on youtube.com; they don't really get the concept, and just think of them as any other "youtuber". When they see the high level of artistry, skill and "depth" that these great artists exhibit in relation to the webcam videos posted by young people who are mainly singing in their bedrooms; their limited experience leads them to believe that those "baby boomers" are really bringing their A-game when it comes to creating home made youtube clips. Younger Youtubers will need to improve their efforts if they hope to match the skill of those older posters, and stop getting their asses kicked.

An alternative explanation

The 1960s and 70s were an interesting period for popular music. Many new sub-genres were developed, such as psychedelic rock, heavy metal, punk rock, county (or southern) rock and blues rock. Not only that, the artists from that era tend to remain the outstanding exemplars of these types of music, leaving one with the impression that those artists were rock and roll geniuses and later artists are talentless hacks by comparison.

That is to say, for every outstanding Generation X or Y musician (e.g., Nirvana), there are ten outstanding Baby Boomer musicians (e.g., The Who, The Doors, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Grateful Dead). This is not necessarily true, but it is true that many of the outstanding musicians of the baby boomers' generation remain popular and influential, while few musicians from later eras do.

The title text refers either to Lim Jeong-hyun or a young French guitarist named Mattrach [2], both of whom are widely known for excellent speed-metal versions of Pachelbel's Canon. The implication is that in order to compete artistically with the baby boomers, younger people need to support talented musicians from their own generation.


[Cueball is sitting in front of a turntable, listening to Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin.]
Song: And as we wind on down the road, our shadows taller than our soul
Song: When all is one and one is all, to be a rock and not to rooooll
Song [fading away]: And she's buying a stairway to Heaven
Cueball: Man. The Baby Boomers are kicking our ASSES.
Cueball: We need to get it together, guys.

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Looks very much like a turntable and speaker to me. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

My guess is it's a sarcastic reference to how many songs heavily borrow from Pachelbel's canon in D. In Stairway the clean arpeggiated beginning of the song and the solo around the referenced part of the song, IIRC, as well as Procul Harem's Whiter Shade of Pale are variations on the work, in different keys. The listener knows this but doesn't know Pachelbel's long dead. Just my 2c. If I was certain I'd change the page. If you're convinced please do so. Steve T 11:52, 19 December 2013 (UTC)

The real question is if Randall is a defener(TM) or not. -- 15:48, 19 December 2013 (UTC)

It looks a little like a turntable and speaker to me; if that's what it is supposed to be, I hope that Randall would have made it look more like that. But my only other idea is an iPhone/iPod in a dock, and that argument has a hard time convincing even me. I also think that the title text is a straightforward reference to the talented Lim Jeong-hyun, whom Randall is saying should be supported and encouraged towards greatness. StephenP 21:08, 19 December 2013 (UTC)

I don't think having only one explanation is necessary. The comic really could be interpreted either way; there is no "right" way to interpret it. As long as it's clear that they're two different intepretations, it's better to have all the detail and let the reader decide. Can we remove the incomplete? LogicalOxymoron (talk) 19:21, 12 March 2014 (UTC)

I agree with ^ 01:19, 12 April 2014 (UTC)

I disagree; the two explanations aren't really distinct enough to warrant an alternative, and should be combined into one. The point, as I see it, is that baby boomer music is better in many ways - not just lyrically. It's just not a complicated or ambiguous comic to confuse readers with a second explain. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Changed the bracketed part in the transcript - the guitarist for Led Zeppelin is Jimmy Page, not Robert Plant. Robert Plant is the vocalist though. 02:38, 7 October 2014 (UTC)

Pachelbel Kid

By "Pachelbel kid", isn't he maybe referring to the guy in the famous "Pachelbel Rant" video from 2006?, implying that in the current generation there are also people that show actual musical talent?-- 19:10, 24 November 2015 (UTC)

I have no idea. I rewrote that section because the previous version didn't make any sense, but I haven't linked to that video because I don't know how that fits into the joke and what he's referring to. Was the video spiking in popularity when the comic came out? Is it a well-known meme that an internetter of the mid '00s would have recognised? I don't know so I didn't include that when I edited it, but there's scope for someone to do that if it makes sense. for that to be Randall's joke. 03:09, 14 March 2016 (UTC)
It's almost certainly a very straightforward reference either to funtwo (AKA Lim Jeong-hyun), who performed the song "Pachelbel Rock" in a YouTube video that went viral in 2006-2007, or perhaps to JerryC, the original composer of the song, both of whom were in their 20s in 2007. 21:24, 24 January 2017 (UTC)

Classical music isn't "a type of music"; the term didn't even exist back then. It was invented to differentiate it from music that wasn't written in what was considered the "classical style" with rebuttals and mathematical meter and tonal harmony, etc. Back then you were just playing/writing music, which could be described as an arpeggio, or a sonata, or a symphony, opera, etc. "Classic" may be related, but not directly, and it has nothing to do with the number of famous performers, but the style and mode of music itself. 06:59, 17 May 2016 (UTC)

Jimi Hendrix all the Way! Happy Birthday! -- Int (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

I can't bear to let this go unchallenged: "My guess is it's a sarcastic reference to how many songs heavily borrow from Pachelbel's canon in D. In Stairway the clean arpeggiated beginning of the song and the solo around the referenced part of the song, IIRC, as well as Procul Harem's Whiter Shade of Pale are variations on the work, in different keys." This is, to anyone with musical knowledge, completely and obviously untrue. "Stairway" descends chromatically in A minor, and "Whiter Shade of Pale", while it is obviously based on music of a similar type to Pachelbel's canon (baroque) is universally acknowledged to resemble Bach, and specifically BWV 156. The structure of neither song resembles Pachelbel's Canon. AmbroseChapel (talk) 06:49, 26 September 2017 (UTC)

Jimmy Page, the guitarist in and co-author of the song, isn't a baby-boomer, for what it's worth. 04:10, 5 September 2018 (UTC)