The old people are telling us that "the grid" sucks. (The grid refers to recordings done where each beat must line up perfectly on some line on the screen. Another word for this is "quantize" which is popular in MIDI dominated genres like techno.) While I think there are examples of effective music to a quantized grid (particularly in the dance genre) overall, I have to agree with the old people.
It's not so much whether the grid is good or bad. It's a mentality issue. I think that people who sit around wondering if there drums are matching up to some line are wasting their time in many cases. They could be making more interesting or more fun ruckus.
There is an easy way of conveying what the old people are trying to get across:
The Sound Of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel
Listen to it. You'll have to rethink your recording somewhat. I'm not sure if you can cut right to the bone of a human being any better than that. I'm not exactly a huge Simon and Garfunkel fan. You'll catch me listening to Nine Inch Nails The Downward Spiral long before I'm listening to a Simon and Garfunkel album. In fact, I don't know the name of a single Simon and Garfunkel album.
When I hear The Sound Of Silence, I think of people who I've loved who are long gone. I think of my eventual departure. Right now (after listening) I'm wondering if I should be writing this little blog or if I should be running down the street naked. In other words, this song makes me think that I should improve my life. I think of loved ones now who will eventually depart.
In other words, this song effects me! It's an absolute home run. You can't write a better song....just different. This recording is absolutely perfect.
What this recording isn't.
What this recording is:
In an era where people are buying less music than ever before, we can blame downloading or the fact that kids have too many distractions. I think if us music recording people would focus on the listener and not whether little lines on the screen matched up with our drums, we'd end up in a better musical place.