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Is today's Music really that bad?

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In reply to an earlier post on Oct 19, 2012 7:39:18 PM PDT
DKPete says:
Everybody is derivative. The Beatles were derivative, Stones, Dylan; you have to start somewhere. It's where you take it that becomes the point.

That said, I see nothing wrong with being derivative as long as you take at what's at disposal and make something good of it. There were many bands from the New Wave era which put out some very good music while sounding like what bands were doing in the sixties but, still, turned it into THEIR sound.

The best example I can think of is XTC. Some of their greatest material has McCartney and Brian Wilson written all over it-bit it's still XTC....and some of the most melodic, original (and, dare I say it, progressive) stuff of the last thirty years.

Posted on Oct 19, 2012 7:52:46 PM PDT
D. Vicks says:
Hopefully,in 10 or 20 years there will be a bunch of new good musicians

who will be talented and not just push a computer button.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 19, 2012 8:00:47 PM PDT
Either that or it will be all computerized or come in a pill.

Posted on Oct 19, 2012 10:12:38 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 19, 2012 10:16:28 PM PDT
Today's music is definitely inferior to anything that came along prior to 1985. Everything has been said in rock (for the most part), jazz (again, for the most part) has become like elevator muzak instead of challenging and exciting like it was in the '40's, '50's and '60's, and I really can't see how anyone who is not African-American and familiar with an urban environment can relate to rap and hip hop. I don't mean to sound racist, but I do believe that it is the one and only form of music that does speak to an almost exclusively black culture. That in itself doesn't make it inferior; it's just that I can't relate to it and therefore find it hard to listen to.

Country music may be the one exception to the downfall of other forms of music, but I haven't heard enough contemporary country artists to really give an informed opinion on that.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 19, 2012 10:29:03 PM PDT
Randy, you got that right about Idol, or now even X Factor or The Voice. Season 1 contestants from the voice sold terrible numbers. Recent news stories are asking if these shows can even produce pop stars anymore like they did with Clarkson or Underwood. Daughtry broke out, but Lambert is doing so so compared to the three, as is Sparks and it goes downhill from there. Your choice in the word discerning is spot on. And sifting through the garbage... Well, first thing that should go there is Autotune.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 20, 2012 3:28:23 AM PDT
DKPete says:
There are plenty of superb young musicians out there as well as vocalists. One thing that has amazed me over the decades is that with each new generation of players, they're becoming quite proficent at their given instrument at much younger ages than in "our time". Young guitarists/drummers who can be no older than 15 or 16 years of age are able to pull off playing which, "back then", you'd expect from a guy in his early twenties.

It's not the lack of good musicans; even moreso than the songs themselves, I blame the generic production values which have made today's recorded music very uninteresting.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 20, 2012 3:49:39 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 20, 2012 10:11:36 AM PDT
E. Dill says:
@B L T:

<<. I had a hard time finding great rock after 73.>>

Gee, I sure didn't. Let's see. In 1973 I was already 27. I'd been listening to rock n roll since I was at least 9. Maybe that has something to do with it. The Beatles surely didn't BEGIN rock with me. It kind of synthesized it. Found a way to take pieces and parts of everything that came before and still make it sound fresh. That's what the best can always do. So, I'm 27 and I'm on a quest to find "great rock" after that "peak year" of 1973. What to do? Have I already developed a narrow sense of what "rock" means to me and how it should sound, or am I expansive in my expectations? I feel a list coming on....

Robert Wyatt/Rock Bottom; Residents/Meet the Residents; Brian Eno/Taking Tiger Mountain; Henry Cow/Unrest; John Cale/Fear; Kraftwerk/Autobahn; Richard Thompson/I Want to See the Bright Lights; King Crimson/Red; Tangerine Dream/Phaedra; Van Morrison/Veedon Fleece; Popul Vuh/Einsjaeger & Siebenjaeger; Joni Mitchell/Court and Spark; Ry Cooder/Paradise and Lunch; Nico/The End; Big Star/Radio City; Lynyrd Skynyrd/Second Helping; Little Feat/Feats Don't Fail Me Now; Steely Dan/Prezel Logic; Brian Eno/Here Come the Warm Jets; Genesis/The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway; Robin Trower/Bridge of Sighs; Blue Oyster Cult/Secret Treaties; Sparks/Kimono My House; Gram Parsons/Grieveous Angel; Randy Newman/Good Ole Boys; Jame Brown/The Payback; Leonard Cohen/New Skin for the Old Ceremony; Stevie Wonder/Fulfillingness' First Finale; Funkadelic - Standing on the Verge of Getting it On; Renaissance /Turn of the Cards; Roxy Music/Country Life; King Crimson/Starless and bible Black; Gong/You; Magma/Kohntarkosz; Tom Waits/The Heart of Saturday Night; Bert Jansch/LA Turnaround; Deep Purple/Burn; Gentle Giant/The Power and the Glory; ELO/Eldorado; Cluster/Zuckerzeit; Gil Scott-Heron-Brian Jackson/Winter in America; Sweet/Desolation Bvd.;Weather Report/Mysterious Traveler; David Bowie/Diamond Dogs; Ann Peebles/I Can't Stand the Rain; King Tubby/Dub from the Roots; Sam Rivers/Crystals; Strawbs/Hero & Heroine; Hound Dog Taylor/Natural Boogie; New York Dolls - Too Much Too Soon; Al Green - Explores your Mind; Raspberries - Starting Over; Linda Ronstadt/Heart Like a Wheel; Eric Clapton/461 Ocean Blvd.; Badfinger/Wish you Were Here; Can/Soon Over Babaluma; Bad Co/st; Aerosmith/Get Your Wings; Mott the Hoople/The Hoople; BTO/Not Fragile; 10cc/Sheet Music; Professor Longhair/Rock n Roll Gumbo; The Who/Odds and Sods; Procol harum/Exotic Birds and Fruit; Steeleye Span/Now We are Six; Fred Frith/Guitar Solos; Caravan/& the New Symphonia; Rufus/Chaka Khan/Rufusized; La Monte Young/The Theater of Eternal Music; Be Bop Deluxe/Axe Victim; Can/Limited Edition; Harry Nilsson/Pussy Cats; George Jones/The Grand Tour.............
ok, randomly:

Metallica/Ride the Lightning; Prince/Purple Rain; Replacements/Let it Be; Minutemen/Double Nickels on a Dime; Cocteau Twins/Treasure; Husker Du/Zen Arcade; The Smiths/st; Meat Puppets/II; Echo & the Bunnymen/Ocean rain; REM/Reckoning; Budd-Eno/The Pearl; The Fall/The Wonderful and Frightening World of; Stevie Ray Vaughn/Couldn't Stand the Weather; Robyn Hitchcock/I Often Dream of Trains; David Sylvian/Brilliant Trees; Bruce Springsteen/Born in the USA; This Mortal Coil/It'll end in Tears/the Pogues/Red Roses for Me; Hoodoo Gurus/Stoneage Romeos; Butthole Surfers/Psychic...Powerless; Marillion/Fugazi; Julian Cope/World Shut Your Mouth; The Dream Syndicate/Medicine Show; Violent Femmes/Hallowed Ground; Pretenders/Learning to Crawl; U2/The Unforgettable Fire; the Go Betweens/Spring Hill Fair; Depeche Mode/Some Great Reward; Sade/Diamond Life; The Waterboys - A Pagan Place; Joe Jackson/Body and Soul; Foetus/Hole; Nick Cave/Bad Seeds/From Her to Eternity; Tones on Tail/Pop; the Gun Club/The LA Story; Laurie Anderson/Mr. Heartbreaker; Television Personalities/the Painted World; Lyres/On fire; Black Flag/My War; Los Lobos/How Will the Wolf Survive/Midnight Oil/red Sails in the Sunset; Thomas Dolby/The Flat Earth; ........

Ok, I'm tired too. How about a Top 10 from 1994 and 2004 (it could easily be a Top 100)....

1994 -
Portishead - Dummy; Jeff Buckley - Grace; Pavement - Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain; NIN - the Downward spiral; Weezer (Blue Album); Nick Cave - Let Love In; Guided by Voices - Bee Thousands; Low - I Could Live in Hope; Manic Street Preachers/The Holy Bible; Blur/Parklife;

Arcade Fire/Funeral; Mastodon/Leviathan; Wilco/A Ghost is Born; Joanna Newsom/The Milk Eyed Mender; Sufjan Stevens/Seven Swans; Iron & Wine - Our Endless Numbered Days; Drive By Truckers/The dirty South; Jesu/st; the Black Keys - Rubber Factory ; Of Montreal - Satanic Panic in the Attic

My lists prove nothing, in and of themselves. It proves only that I respond to different kinds of music (commercial and otherwise) and always find more than my share of it to listen to without breaking a sweat. I still have a belief that many of those who are "tied" to the past are as tied to the time and place as they are the music. Age and circumstance has a lot to do with it. But, honestly, if I HAD to live with only my Beatles and Dylan albums, I'd do ok (can't I throw in a few Beefheart and Residents albums, too?)

Happy listening everyone, whether it be of the 1960's or the 2010's.


In reply to an earlier post on Oct 20, 2012 5:58:05 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 20, 2012 5:58:32 AM PDT
B L T says:
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In reply to an earlier post on Oct 20, 2012 6:54:12 AM PDT
onsenkuma says:
As usual I concur with your thinking. As 'derivative' can sound dismissive, and allowing that 'imitation is the sincerest form of flattery', maybe we can say that great artists benefit from the musical past by standing on the shoulders of giants. The best new music builds on the best elements of what came before, and hopefully adds some novel twists to the mix. XTC was/is a great example of this...

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 20, 2012 7:12:46 AM PDT
onsenkuma, . .. No, IMITATIVE is not flattering. And there's a difference between derivative and imatative.

Posted on Oct 20, 2012 7:18:26 AM PDT
"The music of today just ain't as good as it used to be" . .. Hell, EVERY older generation sayes THAT !

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 20, 2012 7:20:29 AM PDT
onsenkuma says:
'Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery' is an expression, not meant to be taken literally. My point is that new music inevitably builds on foundations created by those who came before. That doesn't necessarily make it 'derivative' in the imitative sense.

Posted on Oct 20, 2012 8:46:34 AM PDT
Dmitri says:
I like INXS. There most popular album of their career was the 1987 release of the CD/album "Kick" with the songs: New Sensation, The Devil Inside, Need You Tonight/Mediate, and Mystify. Their next album was pretty good too which was released in 1990 called "X." Three hits off that album: Suicide Blonde and Disappear and Bitter Tears. I have to admit I like their self titled debut album, Shabooh Shoobah, The Swing, and Listen Like Theives which all came before "Kick" even more. But still Kick and X were good albums.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 20, 2012 8:51:26 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 20, 2012 8:52:58 AM PDT
More proficient, maybe. But most are lacking style and substance, something that makes that stand out or immediately recognizeable. The great guitarists, as well as many average ones, you could recognize who it was immediately, by tone and style, without being told who it was. I don't think the same can be said today.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 20, 2012 10:14:54 AM PDT
DKPete says:, very very well put-more proficient but lacking in style and substance (and, just to add, identity).

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 20, 2012 10:29:41 AM PDT
E. Dill says:
B L T:

<<T take that back. I forgot about the great rock George Jones, Chaka Khan and Al Green were making after 73>>

My bad. You got me there. Regardless of HOW MANY rock records I included, there were a few "others" in there and you, as any good detective, found them. (I simply confused your post with Exile's reply which agreed with the 73 cutoff and said "soul, too", George being "country soul".)

But even limiting myself to only rock, I'd still probably have a problem with you and/or others because we all define rock differently. Every year, they'll be thousands of "best ofs" called for and received by publications and virtually every list includes albums the lister felt were the best of the best that were NOT rock, i.e., country, jazz, reggae, world, soul, electronica, etc. I think the people that dislike that expansive view the most are those that find today's rock mostly NOT of the "hard" variety, i.e., alt rock, indie rock, etc. You know, rock without any "balls".

When rock n roll, as a term, became rock, I thought of it as expanding the universe. To a lot of others, it was narrowing it. Instead of the country twang of rockabilly, we had heavy guitars. Admittedly, that's probably why I took to alt rock so readily. I found a lot of heavy guitar music to be as formulaic as their enthusiasts thought of the alternative/indie stuff.

But you got me there. Technically, my list is invalidated because of George Jones, Chaka Khan and Al Green. I can live with that and I'm sure they can too (is George still alive? Tammy died, right?)


In reply to an earlier post on Oct 20, 2012 10:45:19 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 20, 2012 10:47:15 AM PDT
Dill, if you're going to include George Jones as soul then we are really broadening the pallet. I think most people understand what soul music is when someone says they like soul music. I hardly think George Jones comes to mind, as great a country artist as he is.

For MY tastes, my favorite years for rock and soul occured between 1965-1973...Motown (yes there were many great Motown songs prior), Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, Sly Stone...etc...You can post a million albums from the 70s onward (and Skynyrd is one of my top 5 bands of all time) and I'm sure its all awesome music to you and many others, but for..again..MY tastes, there was a magic that was lost in the years that followed. That doesn't mean what came after was all terrible...hardly the case at all, just different and I don't connect with it as well.

Posted on Oct 20, 2012 10:50:00 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 20, 2012 10:56:13 AM PDT
And just to add, I do own and enjoy some of what you listed. Metallica, DBT, Wilco, Mastodon....yes, its all good..but I still find myself digging deeper into 60s and early 70s rock..I love DBT, Ryan Adams..etc...Cold Roses is brilliant...etc..problem is I don't LOVE a lot of what's on your list like I do the earlier rock..

Different strokes for different if Thomas Dolby turns you on, by all means don't allow me to intrude.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 20, 2012 10:55:19 AM PDT
B L T says:
E. Dill

I was in high school in the late 60's and college in the early 70's. The rock was great during this period of my life and no one will convince me otherwise. There's no right answers when it comes to music. We all look at it from different perspectives, that's all.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 20, 2012 10:57:26 AM PDT
BLT...I was in high school in the 80s and college in the 90s and I agree with you...

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 20, 2012 11:02:36 AM PDT
B L T says:
Exile On My Street,

Agree with me that the late 60's/early 70's rock was the greatest? :)

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 20, 2012 11:17:23 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 20, 2012 11:19:54 AM PDT
LOL, I like a LOT of stuff that came after...Earth Wind and Fire, Ramones, Clash, Blondie, Police, Cars, Maiden, DBT and love it all..BUT..I'm addicted to Sly, early Santana, the Stones, CCR, Jefferson Airplane, Funkadelic...and even the Rascals and Frankie Valli...I love the Nuggets doesn't mean I don't place Rocket to Russia in my top 10 of all time or listen to Tusk fairly often by FM..I just feel music of the late 60s and early 70s had a creative birth and an abundance of truly timeless music made during this period that appeals to me like no other era.

Posted on Oct 20, 2012 11:27:27 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 20, 2012 11:28:19 AM PDT
Man did I leave out the Byrds, Lovin' Spoonful, Mama's and Papa's and the Grass Roots? Just great great stuff....

Posted on Oct 20, 2012 12:08:28 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 20, 2012 12:11:45 PM PDT
@E.Dill: what strikes me about your latest lists is how weak the 1984 albums are compared to the 1974, 1994, and even 2004 lists. For my money, the 80s (especially after '83) was an abysmal decade. I mean, sure, I like "Purple Rain", "Treasure", "Zen Arcade" and "Learning To Crawl" (which I believe had an '83 release date in the UK)...maybe "The Unforgettable Fire" and "Hallowed Ground"...but the rest...meh. After 1983, there's only five or six albums from each year afterwards, until 1991, that I find excite me.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 20, 2012 12:25:45 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 20, 2012 12:27:37 PM PDT
@Exile: "The great guitarists, as well as many average ones, you could recognize who it was immediately, by tone and style, without being told who it was. I don't think the same can be said today."

I can partly agree with this--in general, I think that guitarists tend to be somewhat more generic-sounding than in the past. I think it's partly due to the de-emphasis on the guitar hero. That being said, here's some fine guitarists playing in the new millenium who I would be able to recognize instantly:

Dave Knudson (Minus The Bear)
Sufjan Stevens
Bo Madsen (Mew)
Jonny Greenwood (Radiohead)
Graham Coxon (Blur, solo)
Jack White (people say he's derivative, and he is, but he also has his own sound)
Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree, solo)
Omar Rodriguez-Lopez (Mars Volta)
Bryce Dessner (The National)
Lockett Pundt (Deerhunter)

There are more good guitarists working out there right now but I chose these above for having the most distinctive and identifiable sounds. In spite of what some here might say, it *hasn't* all been done before.
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Discussion in:  Music forum
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Initial post:  Oct 19, 2012
Latest post:  Jul 17, 2013

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