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Is today's Music really that bad?


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Showing 1-25 of 668 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 19, 2012 1:37:05 AM PDT
D. Vicks says:
After the 80's it seems to go down the tubes.

Posted on Oct 19, 2012 4:54:00 AM PDT
Severin says:
Yes. While I'm sure there must be some 'artists' with real talent it's too easy today to invent a star. It's truly a business career rather than the calling it once was. With the backing of a record company a performer can have his/her vocals synthesized and auto-tuned. Heavy publicity can ensure that the performer is the 'next big thing' or flavor of the week. TV shows like American Idol can bring forth people who can carry a tune and perform but that doesn't make them an artist. Today's music may not be 'bad' but a lot of it does seem soul-less to me.

Posted on Oct 19, 2012 5:11:10 AM PDT
Randy says:
Yes and no.

YES if you are depending on American Idol or iTunes sales rankings to determine what you listen to. These outlets are catering to teenagers and will never produce a satisfying pool of artists for more discerning adults.

No if you are willing to do a little research and find the type of music you like, and the artists who are doing it well. There are literally thousands of places online to stream genre-specific radio, listen to samples, read reviews, etc. Great music is out there, made by artists who truly feel a passion and calling to create music; you just have to be willing to sift through the garbage to find it.

Posted on Oct 19, 2012 5:20:51 AM PDT
S. Stalcup says:
It appeared to go in waves in previous decades. Using Live Aid as a neat divider for the 1980s, once you got rid of Air Supply and those other "Valium and palm trees" evoking AM radio groups, the music before was REALLY interesting and challenging, very diverse, and then after Live Aid everything got very clinical and boring. In come the 1990s and with the first five you had grunge and britpop, and thereafter, grunge got very formulaic and watered down (e.g. Semisonic, Better Than Ezra, Marcy Playground) and that godawful electronica (i.e. Prodigy and Chemical Brothers).

Unfortunately, the past twelve years it seems there has been a drought. Autotuning, glorified karaoke, a teen idol factory not seen since the late 50s/early 60s, and a general disregard for the importance of music resulting from its accessibility post-Napster have dried it all up. Unless you're into:
* The hipster scene (which is very hard to deal with when you realize "This band sounds like INSERT BAND FROM PREVIOUS DECADE" and everyone around you is some skinny jeans and skinny glasses-wearing pretentious twerp with a Victor Buono beard), which treats recordings as physical status symbols to be looked at rather than listened to (and on that note, Wayne Coyne must be laughing uncontrollably).
* Rap, which is now officially in its "Fat Elvis Vegas period."
* No sense in mentioning country. For all intents and purposes, it's as dead as most of the cast of Hee-Haw.
* Metal which is either Northern European D&D fans getting onstage and taking it all live-action or guys with ridiculous facial hair and wardrobes by Adderlass (sp?) backing a woman dressed like Mia Sara in Legend singing opera.
Yes, today's music really is THAT bad.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 19, 2012 6:04:29 AM PDT
Severin says:
Excellent post. Although Napster and Limewire are dead we have You Tube. I'm still surprised on how much is out there from bootleg recordings to whole movies.

Bands of the past did have the advantage of living in their time when so much had yet to be discovered/explored. Dylan took folk and made it electric, the Beatles popularized songwriting and technical advantages, Paul Simon and Peter Gabriel introduced world music to the western world. Now there are more genres than you can count and every new band is a combination of its influences. It's hard to come up with anything truly new and not just another hook.

Posted on Oct 19, 2012 6:20:47 AM PDT
I recall an interview with George Harrison and he was saying something about how amazing it is that you can do so many things with only so many notes. I am not a musician so I may be way off base here. But at some point are there only so many combinations before everything is just repeated? And except to exposure to some World Music from some god-forsaken place I never heard of (LOL) there does not seem to be anything really new. Rap music (and I use the term music loosley) IS probably the newest thing out there and it is certainly not new anymore! I don't even think there are any new instruments of late. Synthisizers seem to create ALL the sounds now. Again I am NOT a musician. I have nothing concrete to go on other than my own ears, information and observations. I would be most anxious to hear some more opinions. I would like to think there is a whole future of of undiscovered new music but I don't know if that's possible anymore.

Posted on Oct 19, 2012 6:25:32 AM PDT
mac says:
Music only gets better. We have everything that has gone before that we love (and so many things we haven't discovered yet), and everyday more music is added to the universal catalog - its win win for music lovers!

Posted on Oct 19, 2012 6:27:15 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 19, 2012 6:30:51 AM PDT
MiBoDoCa says:
Actually the popular music of today is some of the worst of all time. It just s*cks. Today's Country Music of today is a joke as well. However there are many great artists and awesome albums being released every day. In the last month we've been treated to the new Ian Hunter, John Hiatt, and Dwight Yoakam albums all of which are near perfect. The new Jamey Johnson cd shows what country music is all about. There are new bands that show signs of possible greatness like Mumford and Sons, Alabama Shakes etc. so to answer your question, yes and no.

Posted on Oct 19, 2012 6:27:53 AM PDT
I don't think music will ever approach the great decades of the 60's and 70's, but there is a lot of great new music out there. My music catalog is probably half oldie's and half new stuff. Randy is right, if you take the time to search you can find plenty of great new music out there, don't rely on radio or top 40 anymore .

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 19, 2012 6:31:15 AM PDT
Severin says:
I think that's part of the problem, there's too much music that it's devalued. What's left to discover? They've done household instruments, pure electronic music, computer-written music, symphonic rock, all manner of cross-over music and Bjork did an album using her voice as all the instruments. It seems that all that's left is presentation. So much of what Lady Gaga and Katy Perry do is visual, designed to grab the attention rather than make innovative music.

Posted on Oct 19, 2012 7:38:31 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 19, 2012 7:40:35 AM PDT
vivazappa says:
--After the 80's it seems to go down the tubes--

Ummmm after 1979 it went down the tubes...

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 19, 2012 7:44:00 AM PDT
Severin says:
I love The Tubes.

No one would be drawn to today's music if it didn't suck so much.

Posted on Oct 19, 2012 7:45:19 AM PDT
vivazappa says:
The Tubes are on tour playing several tunes from the first three records!!!

Posted on Oct 19, 2012 10:42:53 AM PDT
Chazzzbo says:
Isn't this really more about the ways in which music is presented and disseminated, as opposed to the music itself. The main sources for today's "popular" music are vehicles such as "American Idol", "X Factor" & "Glee". Radio (over the air or even satellite) is so segmented and driven toward lowest common denominator listenership, that anyone desiring to reach outside their comfort zone, needs to do the majority of the heavy lifting. The major labels are a disaster as they continue to try and reap further profits out of decades old stale material, instead of seeking and promoting new talent, or even old talent with new ideas. Commerce supplanted any sense of art a very long time ago.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 19, 2012 11:33:03 AM PDT
Aqualung says:
I've thought the same thing myself......most rock bands have a singer, a drummer, one or two guitartists and a bass player. At what point does rock hit the wall? In a couple years I assume U2 will release a new album. How will the Edge come up with 10-12 new riffs that have not already been done before? Or if he does repeat himself will anyone notice?

Posted on Oct 19, 2012 12:09:51 PM PDT
Ed Dill should be along any minute to list 847 bands of this century he feels are worthwhile.

I suspect fewer young people are willing to practice a guitar, keyboard, bass, or drum kit several hours a day for 5 or 10 years and play live in their own city and state for little or no money.

There is also a very fundamental change in how music is recorded. Pro tools is often involved from the first click track to the final stereo mixdown. 2 inch Ampex tape machines are way more expensive and require a person to physically cut them with a razor blade and synch them. Platinum selling artists will normally admit that computers have not made 2 inch tape obsolete...far from it.

Tube amps, vintage instruments, and analog reverb/delay/echo are things only the most successful (or wealthiest) musicians can own. New ones don't even come close.

Most of all, there has been a trend of compression that vocals and drums have to cut through the soundstage and sit on top of every other sound. If you are at the mall and some trendy clothes store is playing a new song, the music producers want people to notice it from 50 feet away.

The artists I like the best tend to hang onto some of the older ways.

Posted on Oct 19, 2012 12:33:24 PM PDT
C. Batty says:
Music is always better in memory than in the present time, because memory always purges the bad stuff. When we remember the 1990's, do we remember "Walk the Dinosaur" or "The Cars that Go Boom?" When we remember the 1980's to we remember the Samantha Foxx classic "Touch Me?"

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 19, 2012 12:38:11 PM PDT
It is so bad that even Richard Dawson is turning over in his _____ (blank).

Posted on Oct 19, 2012 12:51:34 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 19, 2012 12:52:02 PM PDT
vivazappa says:
First off...new bands need better hair.
Maybe Gregg Allman can give them some tips.

Posted on Oct 19, 2012 1:38:10 PM PDT
In the absence of E.Dill (who should be posting his list of 847 recent artists soon, lol), I gotta stick up for today's music. This thread is kind of a repeat of the "today's music is better than 40 years ago" thread, and my answer is the same. I used to think the past decade was the worst-ever for music until I actually did some digging and found dozens of artists I *loved*. I think it's probably the worst-ever era, if we're talking about the music plugged by the currently popular outlets for discovering and listening to music. As people have said, the presentation of music has changed and mass ways of presenting it (ie all these singing shows) cater to the lowest-common denominator. Radio is just terrifyingly bad now. But dig just the tiniest bit deeper and you might find someone you like, nay, love!

And I'll stick up for the 90s, too. There was plenty of great music in that decade as well, especially the early-mid 90s. The 80s was one of the worst decades for popular music, IMO, although the early 80s was decent.

Posted on Oct 19, 2012 1:47:02 PM PDT
Severin says:
I've tried a lot of the new bands like Franz Ferdinand, Frances the Mule, Keane and Wolfmother and they're okay but not that memorable. The only new band I love is Florence & the Machine. Even bands like Coldplay and Radiohead won't be heard in 30 years.

Posted on Oct 19, 2012 2:02:24 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 19, 2012 2:02:55 PM PDT
@Donald J.Nelson: Frances The Mule? Are you perhaps thinking of "Frances The Mute", the second Mars Volta album?

You have to dig just slightly deeper than that. The only acts I really love out of those you mention are Franz Ferdinand (and then, it's mostly about the the first two albums) and Radiohead (although I don't know and don't really care if people will listen to them in 30 years. Nobody listens to The Small Faces or The Pretty Things anymore and they were brilliant). Coldplay is certainly not who I was thinking of when I made my post, lol. FWIW I would put Florence & The Machine in the "they're okay but not especially memorable" category.

It could be that I give you a list of fifty artists I love from the last twelve years, and you may not care for any of them, however. Although there may be a number of reasons for this. Still, you never know until you dig.

Posted on Oct 19, 2012 2:06:03 PM PDT
Pssst...wanna know a secret? A lot of the old "classic" rock music from the '70s actually sucks. Problem is, classic rot radio has brainwashed people into thinking that crap is/was good. Compared to the likes of Foreigner, Styx, Kansas, Journey, the Doobie Brothers, Bad Company, et al, today's music is just fine.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 19, 2012 2:07:43 PM PDT
Good points, Nelson. Florence is one of the more original artists out there in popular music right now. Also I agree with the people who are stating that there is some very good music out there today if you are willing to dig. The problem is its pretty easily forgotten after a few listens. I guess that's true for most music but what happened to those classic albums that artists used to make? The ones that hold up years and even decades later? Are those days gone for good? Sure, I dig and find many new bands or artists I like...but...rarely do I find one that I love.

Like it or not but Adele's "21" is the closest I've heard to a genuine classic in a long time, at least as popular music is concerned. I'm more of a rock fan myself and find I can mine the 60s and early 70s for albums that are 'new' to me and find tons to like and love. I can mine todays new music and find a few things to like, not much to love.

Posted on Oct 19, 2012 2:23:01 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 19, 2012 2:25:30 PM PDT
@Jim McG: LOL that much is certain.

@Exile: When I say I think there are good artists out there now, I do not mean artists that make an album I kind of like, but then never return to after more than a couple of listens. There are lots of those kinds of artists in every decade, and that would hardly even count as a good artist, by my parameters. I'm talking about artists I've discovered where I play the album over and over and over again until it's burnt a hole in the CD and I know every note by heart.

It's interesting that you mention Adele though--like Donald Nelson's mention of Florence And The Machine, I just don't consider her all that great, in fact IMO she's far more in the "OK but I lose interest after three listens" category that you guys mention. My take on Adele is, if the popular perception of music has come to a point where someone who sings decently without autotune and writes their own material is suddenly considered a genius, we really are in big trouble...I'm not saying she's bad. She's likeable. But the old female belters of the past like Joplin, Slick, Mitchell, Driscoll, Nicks, etc. would kick her azz. Not to mention more recent artists like PJ Harvey, Lin Di (Cold Fairyland) and Joy Williams (The Civil Wars). IMO.
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Discussion in:  Music forum
Participants:  85
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Initial post:  Oct 19, 2012
Latest post:  Jul 17, 2013

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