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Is today's Music really that bad?


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In reply to an earlier post on Oct 21, 2012 8:39:18 AM PDT
barbW says:
"yes actually after the 80's music began to become worse"

The young consumers of music had grown up with disco (perhaps 70s soft rock or folk rock) and had heard the anti-musical punk rock attitude. Where were the commercially-minded composers and performers to go during the period of glam rock and hair bands? Grunge and boy bands seem pretty predictable as we look back.

The level of sophistication of the young people with discretionary income has been key in the most popular categories, since the late 1930s.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 21, 2012 8:48:42 AM PDT
Visa says:
I dont think punk or grunge music is good,i listen to 80's music then few from 90's and that's it.80's music is still good but not as the 50's 60's or 70's

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 21, 2012 12:35:50 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 21, 2012 12:39:28 PM PDT
E. Dill says:
werranth413:

<<Do you think rap is the predictable reaction to the dead end we've come to? >>

That reminds me of the old joke with the Lone Ranger and Tonto. He says to Tonto, the Indians are coming after us, what should we do?" to which Tonto replies, "What you mean WE, white man?"

What you mean WE, rock/pop mocker? You'd be better served to discuss the "dead end" classical music seemed to reach at the end of the 1800's. Like with rock/pop, it really wasn't a dead end, just thought to be by those who wanted THEIR choice to be the ONLY choice that mattered.

Hell, you were probably saying the same crap about the black music that was popular BEFORE rap was ever heard of. Oh, I see. You were talking only about BLACK jazz masters.

ed.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 21, 2012 2:24:15 PM PDT
Stephen

Why not include music from some god-forsaken place into your listening? In a sense, that's what the 'underground' performers did, and that's why the music exploded. I can't help but think a little Vieux Farka Toure, Imagined Village, Tinariwen or Hoven Droven would expand the pallet of tones for further exploration.

Posted on Oct 21, 2012 3:29:26 PM PDT
Musicologist says:
Yes.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 21, 2012 4:49:46 PM PDT
barbW says:
People in the know say, all the note sequences have been mostly used up - in the simple musical forms. Composers and performers don't want the court costs.

Posted on Oct 21, 2012 5:08:06 PM PDT
E. Dill says:
<<Is today's music really that bad?>

Nah. I think I've come to the conclusion that it's today's listeners that are bad, not the music. They keep trying to convince us that Lady GaGa and Justin Bieber are worse than Bobby Sherman and The Archies.

ed.

Posted on Oct 21, 2012 5:19:43 PM PDT
@E.Dill: Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga *are* worse than Bobby Sherman and The Archies. I will take "Sugar Sugar" over "Born This Way" any day of the week!! LOL

I don't think I recognized any of the more obscure artists you listed for 1985...I'll try and sample a few. Thanks! BTW "Hounds Of Love" is my #1 pick for '85; although you called the album stellar, I think I like it more than you do...I would certainly pick it over some of the albums/artists you indicated would make your top ten for that year. But Kate Bush is my favorite female musician of all time. As for "Meat Is Murder", it was a relatively weak album for The Smiths, but since 1985 was such slim pickings it easily made the list. Tom Waits I have hugely mixed feelings about. The Replacements I think are a bit overrated, although "Let It Be" did just scrape in at #10 on my list for 1984.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 21, 2012 5:28:20 PM PDT
barbW says:
" I will take "Sugar Sugar" over "Born This Way" any day of the week!!"

You don't say why.. Is it the nastiness?

Posted on Oct 21, 2012 5:39:59 PM PDT
@werranth413: the nastiness of which song? I don't consider either song especially "nasty".

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 21, 2012 6:02:43 PM PDT
Why do Classical music enthusiasts continue to buy new cycles? Why bother rehashing the various works composed over the past 300 years which have already been recorded over and over again? Certainly cadenza offers variation in rendering of some works, but aren't most of these works straightforward in their composition?

Is it possible that there is something fresh in new rendition? A new take on old tune, if you will? Are there important subtle changes enjoyed by discerning ears? Does a new composer, symphony, or artist offer a new and interesting take on the piece?

Posted on Oct 21, 2012 6:09:51 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 21, 2012 6:10:37 PM PDT
I'm finding new Jazz artists and releases constantly. One of the latest goodies that I'm enjoying:

Monosuite

Sure, there are bits and pieces from various Classical and Jazz pieces that I've heard in the past, but they have been combined in a way that is very fresh and exciting. I would hope that the same applies to Rock and Pop

Posted on Oct 21, 2012 6:23:57 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 21, 2012 6:24:47 PM PDT
A couple more recent releases.

John Surman's 2012 album Saltash Bells. This method of combining solo track recordings by means of studio production isn't new for Surman, but the new release is a great spin on an old formula.

Currently one of my favorite artists, Norwegian sax player, Trygve Seim released Purcor in 2010. A duo with pianist Andreas Utnem. I haven't heard anything like it in the past without generalizing and dumbing down.

Posted on Oct 21, 2012 6:26:10 PM PDT
One of the things I do in complying my play lists is to find multiple versions by different performers. Listen to Clapton's 'Crossroads/Traveling Riverside' and Robert Johnson's versions of those same songs. If you can't learn something from the differences you aren't much of a musician.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 21, 2012 6:26:51 PM PDT
Hinch says:
I don't think anyone is saying there wasn't poor quality music in the past. At least songs like 'Sugar, Sugar' were listenable compared with some of today's music. I think when people say today's music isn't as good as in the past, they're mostly using what's played on the radio as a reference. I hear satellite all day at work. It's set to change channels every half hr, so we get a variety. I rarely hear anything new that makes me think 'gee! I'm gonna have to go tomorrow and buy that'. I'm sure there may be good music out there if we search, but it isn't on the radio as it was in the past. That tells me music in general isn't as good. I'm also sure there was a lot of great music I missed in the past because I didn't search much further than the radio. One other point is, there was a lot of music (variety shows) on broadcast tv up until sometime in the 8Os, so I was exposed to quite a bit of music of various genres from television.

Posted on Oct 21, 2012 6:42:23 PM PDT
Hinch says:
In the 6Os if you listened to top 4O radio you would hear The Beatles and Stones, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder, Tommy Roe and Bobby Rydel, Lawrence Welk and Roger Williams, Roger Miller and Johnny Cash, Nat King Cole and Dean Martin all within a couple of hrs, so we were hearing a very wide variety. Now everything is separated onto different radio stations, spreading the best music thinner.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 21, 2012 6:44:10 PM PDT
Mark,
No doubt about it. One little example, a Jazz fusion number, Mushroom Head, given Alternative Rock feel.

Can - circa 1970
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fAv0-TAE1UE

Jesus and Mary Chain - circa 1986
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JcbV6Rksa9A

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 21, 2012 6:46:50 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 21, 2012 6:47:35 PM PDT
barbW says:
For the performer, it's crucial to keep up with what's being tried (within the bounds of good taste, and "good taste" is also a point of contention and disagreement). All the works are within a range that's worthy of the time and effort, so that's not an issue.

As for CM listeners, I've had this debate in the CM forum for a while now. I can understand that people have their favorite players, but what good is a new purchase if it's the same documenting of a piece, difficult to differentiate from the other 'traditional' recorded documentations? IOW, why do they gripe about the approach or the eccentricities of one artist or another? Don't we want the whole spectrum of interpretation?

Sometimes there's a very new and interesting take. I like that when it happens, I seek it out, but I'm not a collector on a limited budget.. so I guess they have slightly different goals than me. It's the same with blues and folk collectors (the same songs), I think there's an element of obsession in collecting and they revel in it.

Some performers say they don't need any interpretations, they only want the score so that they're not negatively influenced. I'm not one of them.

This brings up a controversial point. If you think of a perfect score by Mozart coming to him very quickly, faster than he could write it down, it seems like the piece was ALREADY out there somewhere (in the sky or in Nature). He just recognized it from its symmetry and its resolving integers and its architecture (form). If this is how you think about music then the score is always more relevant and inspiring than someone's interpretation - it's available to all of us who study, and it's an endless exploration.

Posted on Oct 21, 2012 6:46:51 PM PDT
@Hinch: "I'm sure there may be good music out there if we search, but it isn't on the radio as it was in the past. That tells me music in general isn't as good."

Not necessarily. Radio has changed a lot since the heyday of FM radio. It's radio that's gotten worse--although I do like satellite radio (I'm not sure what stations they're switching to at your work, though...) I don't think there's really any correlation between what's played on radio, and what's good out there, although I think a lot of other people might believe this, and like you said that is why we get a lot of "music today sucks" posts. These days we are in a situation where most of what is played on radio (and TV) is garbage, and yet there's still plenty of awesome music out there to discover.

Also, it's interesting to check the age groups of the people making these claims. It really is almost a cliche, that the older generation always disparages the current music scene. I've noticed that there does seem to be a close-mindedness towards new music that sets in sometime in one's early 40s. People here who grew up (late teens/early 20s) in the 60s, can't seem to take much music past the early 80s. People who grew up in the 70s, can't take it much past the early 90s. And people who grew up in the 80s generally bemoan the last six or seven years or so.

These are of course only general observations and there are many exceptions to this rule--I've seen people here (like E.Dill and others) who are entering their senior years and yet still love hearing tons of new music, and I've also heard younger kids in their teens/20s saying that today's music sux and that only 60s/70s music is good. But these are exceptions which tend to prove the rule. I'll bet you the majority of people on this thread or others claiming that "today's music sucks" are over the age of 45. You could probably play them a lot of today's acclaimed indie/underground acts, not generally heard on the radio, and they would *still* say "ho-hum". But I always have to wonder, since it seems to be so across-the-board with the older generation, whether that's not just a trait of getting older...thinking one is still open-minded about new music, when you're really not. I'm 37 now, so I suspect I've only got about five years left before "oldgrumpyitis" hits me, and I start claiming that all good music ended in the year 2017, LOL!

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 21, 2012 6:52:09 PM PDT
@Hinch: "Now everything is separated onto different radio stations, spreading the best music thinner."

Again, this only applies to the experience of listening to music on the radio, not the actual amount of good music that's being made right now. If satellite radio and all of its hundreds of specialized stations existed in the 60s, wouldn't that have also "spread the best music thinner"?

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 21, 2012 6:59:25 PM PDT
Hinch says:
When I started becoming bored with new music in the eighties, I began to listen to jazz, which took me back to earlier decades, even before I was born. I discovered music of the thirties and forties and artists such as Billie Holiday. That also applies to other genres like folk, blues and country. There is also a lot of great music from the fifties through the seventies I missed and discovered later. I always say, 'old music is new music if you've never heard it'. There is plenty of great music out there.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 21, 2012 7:15:25 PM PDT
Hinch says:
That was my point. We were hearing the best of many genres on one station. Even the best of what I hear on the radio now doesnt make me want to hear it again. While I'm sure there must be good music out there, I'm not sure why it doesn't get played on the radio. No doubt new music is popular with some but I even hear young people say music of the 6Os and 7Os was better. Historically that hasn't been the case. Young people have always rejected the music of their parents and grandparents. Who is radio trying to appeal to now?

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 21, 2012 7:16:51 PM PDT
"This brings up a controversial point. If you think of a perfect score by Mozart coming to him very quickly, faster than he could write it down, it seems like the piece was ALREADY out there somewhere (in the sky or in Nature). He just recognized it from its symmetry and its resolving integers and its architecture (form)."

Isn't it true that Mozart was in many respects a product of his time (like any artist) and that he was surpassed in his genius by those who were less constrained? As you pointed out in the other discussion, "music should get better with time." Views change. Assuming nature a constant, hasn't the *perception* of nature changed and the means of expressing? In this day, would Mozart compose differently? Would he record the sound of nature using electronic means and incorporate that into his music?

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 21, 2012 7:19:36 PM PDT
B L T says:
Under the Influence,

I have both of those albums and others by John Surman and Tyrgve Seim.

I've found several international jazz artists over the last few years that I enjoy listening to. I'd be more than happy to post a list names if your interested.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 21, 2012 7:25:02 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 21, 2012 7:26:04 PM PDT
@Hinch: *some* younger people dislike today's music, but the vast majority not only like it, they actively prefer it (as awful as we might think a lot of it is) to the classic rock of the 60s and 70s (if they know that music at all). Historically it's *always* been the case that you get a certain percentage of people who don't like the music of their generation. I don't think that number of people is any greater now than it was in the 1960s itself.

"While I'm sure there must be good music out there, I'm not sure why it doesn't get played on the radio."

There are many reasons for this, but one of them is like I said in my other post--radio is different now than it was in the heyday of FM when DJs could play what they wanted. These days, a DJ's job is on the line if their ratings dip even slightly (I know a DJ who was just telling me this not more than three weeks ago), so they are forced to adhere to strict formatting rules. And these formatting rules pander to lowest-common-denominator taste. In turn, playing that stuff on the air ends up shaping mass-popular taste.
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Discussion in:  Music forum
Participants:  85
Total posts:  668
Initial post:  Oct 19, 2012
Latest post:  Jul 17, 2013

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