Anyone who complains that music is stupid nowadays is completely correct, but pop music has always been pretty stupid, and that's kind of the point of it? To be fun and sorta dumb? That said, here's my (extremely factual) argument for why early pop/rock music in the 1950s and 60s was actually even dumber than the dumb pop music of today:

1 There used to be WAY too many specific dances


The Twist, The Mashed Potato, The Swim, The Frug, The Waterbug, The Blablooie -- I made up those last two, but the point is, every friggin' week in the 50s and 60s, music was attempting to invent a goofy new dance craze with a specific set of corresponding moves.

 

Also, the song itself was always declaring that the hot new dance was "sweeping the nation." How the hell could you possibly know that, song? The dance is literally being invented BY your song. You can't also sing about how popular it is AS it's coming into existence.

 

Nowadays, even when a song is dumb as hell, at least you can dance to it without following a strict set of bullet points. We still get the occasional 'Gangnam Style', but anyone actually doing the dances in public usually gets more ridiculed than admired. This is progress.

 

2 Every 50s60s vocal group had a bass guy who sang like a doofus

Who made the rule that every deep-voiced guy in 50s/60s pop music
has to sing like a friggin' Frankenstein Monster? There's always a main guy singing all nice and normally about his darlin', then some weird-ass bass dude just suddenly cuts in with his big doofy mouth singing like, "YOU'RE A GIRL!" "YOU'VE GOT ARMS!" like the band is letting their Of Mice and Men manchild friend wander around the studio to keep him from unwittingly snapping peoples' necks.

 

Why did bass dudes get such a raw deal? Surely some of them had good regular voices? Why were they required to sing like a recently-tricked Looney Tunes sidekick?

 

3 Early rock music was constantly explaining what rock music is


Like, 60% of early rock songs are
about rock and roll. Or they at least include a verse explaining what rock n' roll is. I like to imagine this was because super-uptight 1950s dads (who were all wearing skinny ties with thick glasses and smoking in NASA control rooms) were BAFFLED when they heard guitars and had to be reassured by an in-song disclaimer explaining what was happening on their radios.

 

Something along the lines of, "We got a new sound and it's really hot! It's swingin' and a-jumpin' and we call it rock! Now we're rockin' and a rollin', in this rock n' roll sonnnnngggg! OOOOOWWWWWWWW!!!!" Then a list of footnotes where listeners could do further research on the genre.

 

NOTE: This phenomenon was repeated in the early days of rap, when every song had to re-explain what rap was. "What you hear is not a test, I'm rapping to the beat!" (Cut to: People just PANICKING left and right, yelling "WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?? IS THIS ANOTHER ONE OF THOSE TESTS???)



4 The characters were always WAY too young


Ever been listening to some nice oldie and they're talking about two young people locking eyes and falling in love by the jukebox, then the chorus is like, "Oh yeah, she's my sweet little twelve year ollllddddddd! OWWWWWW!!!!" and you instantly feel skeevy for just hearing it? I realize people got married a lot younger back then (because of religion and constant Soviet nuclear paranoia), and the record-buyers were young, but it's weird to hear grown-men rock stars singing thirsty lovin' songs from the point of view of like, horny pubescent children.

 

Also, Chuck Berry has a song called "Sweet Little Sixteen" and was once arrested for transporting an undeage girl across the border for 'immoral purposes'. Maybe play it safe and just stop mentioning very specific ages in songs?



5 They were always bossing some DJ around


50s/60s songs, why are you constantly telling the DJ what to do?
"Heyyy Mister DJ Man, burn all those dumbass records and dig THESE rhythm and bluuuessss!!!!" Hey singing dude, I know YOU enjoy the rock music that you yourself are making, but that's not really a salient enough argument to convince a radio DJ to change the station's entire format in the middle of a song.

 

Maybe the station you're ripping on just IS a classical station? Maybe the DJ is a classical music MFA who's devoted his entire life to record collecting and pours his heart and soul into every broadcast? And they've done tons of market research and there isn't enough room to compete with the city's other giant Top-40 stations? Maybe consider THAT for a second before you rockingly shit on his ultimate passion?

 

Songs now do still frequently reference the DJ, but usually it's just a simple request to "turn it up," not an angry rockin' plea to abruptly change their record-selecting approach. Plus even if your thesis statement is accurate, rock guys, the DJ isn't playing your song to begin with, so they aren't hearing the argument you're making. You're just appealing to people who are already rock fans. Basically, you're being Twitter.



6 You couldnt honestly talk about sex


This is more of a "The 1950s" problem in general, but there's something intellectually dishonest about horny-ass teenagers gathering in malt shops and dance halls and car repair shops in the hopes of copping some feels up on Lover's Lane (this exact sentence is all anyone did in the 50s) to the soundtrack of a rock singer pretending to be a nice young man who's over the moon to hold hands with a nice gal, and MAYBE get a smooch, if the song is exceptionally progressive. But other than that, anything remotely sexual is buried in stuff that's not even innuendo like "looking at the moon together" and shit.

 

Some might argue that pop music's current explicitness is actually a negative (and when the lyrics are stuff that no actual decent human would say like "you the hottest ho in this place" then yeah, that's shitty), but at the very least, songs are generally honest about us all wanting to fuck each other all the time. That's what music's always* been about, we're just finally allowed to be honest about it.

 

* Yes, always. Since the beginning of time. Handel's "Messiah"? Mozart's "Requiem"? Both secretly about fucking. You name it.



7 There was way too much specific information about cars


Something like 80% of the rock songs from the 50s (precise scientific estimate) devote between 1 and 3 entire verses to describe the car they're driving, or aspiring to drive, or that their dad's recently confiscated from them. Granted, the rise of pop music in the 50s and 60s was strongly tied to connecting with young people over car radios, but it's still a little weird when rock singers just launch into mid-song descriptions of a Chevy engine's fuel injection capabilities (to say nothing of how hard it is to rhyme words with "capabilities").

 

Songs nowadaways know we don't have time to get bogged down in automotive details when we're bustin' loose on the ol' D-floor. The only thing we have the patience to hear described in uncomfortable detail is giant butts. The way Aristotle INTENDED when he invented music.

 

8 When you didnt know what else to do, you could just scream then a sax solo plays


Just kidding, this is actually by far the best part of every 50s song and should be brought back into music IMMEDIATELY.