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Is today's Music really that bad?

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Showing 26-50 of 668 posts in this discussion
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 19, 2012 2:55:13 PM PDT
Topper, my post was more a generalization and not aimed at any one particular person. I never said that Adele could compare to Joplin, or Slick or whomever...Adele has got a long way to go to get there and she probably won't. I was speaking in terms of her album "21" solely which, to me, is more than just a good singer without autotune who writes her own material. This is not the type of CD I would normally purchase but I did and feel she came away with an emotional performance that is a rarity in pop music today and the songs are all uniformly strong. I don't think or expect her to be Stevie Nicks part two but there is no question she came up with a strong album of stripped down fantastic material that has resonated with a ton of listeners.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 19, 2012 3:02:32 PM PDT
E. Dill says:
Mr. Critic:

<<847 albums of the century he feels are worthwhile>>

Come on now. That is NOT my reputation at all. I can surely come up with 300 released this year that are worthwhile. I'm guessing that the "too much of a good thing" is something to think about, if you are, by nature, a negative thinker who's also nostalgic for the "good old days".

I found that to be the case with my 897 (that's the number) albums listed by a radio station based on listeners votes. They are from the rock era although some jazz and country is sprinkled through. After going thru most of them, I realized that if you listen to too MANY good to great albums, you lose the ability to discern. And why should you? Why should I limit myself to ONE greatest album for a year or a decade or a century. How about finding one great one every day. I found two today that may not be great but they sure rang my bell....

Deerhoof - Breakup Song
Cold Specks - I Predict a Graceful Expulsion

The first one is a mix of great pop and experimental noise pop...surely not everyone's cup of tea. The other is essentially a great new (ok, newly discovered) Canadian songstress. I've only got about a 1000 of them I love already, so it was time for someone new.

There's nothing wrong with staying in the 60's or 70's or whatever.....hell, my favorite classical music obsessiveobsessor (werranth) won't leave the 1800's. It all went downhill after that. I mean, to her, John Adams was the 2nd President..NOT a modern classicist and John Zorn can't decide on abstract jazz, abstract classical or abstract klezmer music. Besides, how can you respect anyone who releases 4 or 5 albums in the same year?


Posted on Oct 19, 2012 3:25:36 PM PDT
DKPete says:
Is it that the music is "so bad" or is it that the nature of the times we're living in making it appear that way? There's a lot of garbge out there; especially on the commercial front...but, to be honest, wasn't that always the case?

I'm very big on sitting back and listening to top twenty countdowns of the sixties and seventies. The biggest thing these countdowns had going for them was variety-but were the SONGS themselves all as "great" as they sounded to us at THAT time? Yes, there were a lot of brilliant songwriters around, but there were a lot of pretty bad ones as well.

I think the biggest thing about music in "those days" is that it served as a focal point for "everyone". But that's more of a cultural thing than a musical one. Today's music doesn't have that power; but we have to question, how much of that is the actual music's fault and how much of it is simply a reflection of the mind-sets we're living amongst?

When we (I'm assuming most of us, around here) were kids, one of the most important things was which of our friends had the coolest stereo systems. Today it's about who has the coolest cell phone. To me, in terms of music and the value of music, that says quite a lot.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 19, 2012 3:29:57 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 19, 2012 3:37:57 PM PDT

There are many young people that I see in record stores or in everyday life that are interested in the older music. I think that says volumes about today's music. I also agree that when I listen to the old countdowns from the 60s and 70s...especially the 70s, there WAS a LOT of junk. Over 90% of music will always be junk, but the last 5 or 10% of those eras has held up remarkably well.

Sure, much of it can be nostalgia...But my era was the 80's, however I find I listen to tons more music from the 60's-early70's, with the 60's being my overall favorite decade.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 19, 2012 3:51:24 PM PDT
DKPete says:
Interesting...and you're in your forties, right?

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 19, 2012 3:57:03 PM PDT
Totally agree with you. I hate when I hear people complaining about there being "no good music anymore." There is TONS of good music out there - you just have to wade through the s*** to find it!

Posted on Oct 19, 2012 4:36:01 PM PDT
B L T says:
In the late 60's and early 70's you could walk into a record/head shop blindfolded, grab a dozen albums from the rock section, and odds were at least half of them were good, the other half great.

There's good music out there today, but it seems like I have to wade through a lot of crap and auger down deep to find it. Broadening my horizon to include genres I previously wouldn't consider OR revisiting genres I used to have an interest in helps.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 19, 2012 4:39:49 PM PDT
Yes, my favorite yrs in music parallel yours...'65-'72 or '73. I do like a mix of things that came in later decades, as well as some newer stuff but 60's pop, soul and rock in those years is the best music I've heard.

Posted on Oct 19, 2012 4:49:32 PM PDT
NiggerPlease says:
There is only a finite amount of musical instuments and musical notes. It stands to reason that eventually people run out of ideas.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 19, 2012 4:55:30 PM PDT
B L T says:
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In reply to an earlier post on Oct 19, 2012 5:37:49 PM PDT
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In reply to an earlier post on Oct 19, 2012 5:42:07 PM PDT
@DKPete: I think you make a very good point. And although I kind of slagged on Adele just now, I have to admit that she has managed the (these days) *very* difficult feat of making an album with near-universal appeal that became the kind of cultural "focal point" you talk about. "21" is also credited for having practically saved the music industry last year. But her kind of album has become very, very rare these days, and I think it does have to do with a cultural shift in mindset when it comes to music, that you talk about.

Posted on Oct 19, 2012 5:44:29 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 19, 2012 5:46:31 PM PDT
@Exile: I've always said that the golden age of rock was 1965-1973. 1973 is definitely a cutoff point. I'm not saying there wasn't some great rock made in the mid-70s (including some previews of what was to come), but it starts to drop off significantly then, and you can kind of "feel" a shift in attitude and creativity take place then. I think things picked back up with New Wave around 1978 or so, though, although it was different from what had come before.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 19, 2012 5:56:25 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 19, 2012 5:57:15 PM PDT

If I had to pick a my 2nd favorite era, I would choose probably '78-'83..maybe a little earlier, as The Ramones, Clash, Cars, Blondie, The Pretenders and a few other new wave bands were making some solid rock back then. I even enjoy a lot of top 40 from that era...guilty pleasure of mine.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 19, 2012 5:58:46 PM PDT
Severin says:
Michael, you're right, "Frances the Mute." I must have gotten it confused with the old Donald O'Connor movies where he had a talking mule named Frances, this was before "Mr. Ed" hit the small screen.

Posted on Oct 19, 2012 6:01:44 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 19, 2012 6:11:39 PM PDT
Micaloneus says:
Bad? More like boring for me.
Generally speaking, new artists are painfully too derivative to excite me.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 19, 2012 6:05:23 PM PDT
Severin says:
Yes when disco music became omnipresent in the '70s and rap started to rear its ugly head. I really thought it would have died out by now. I liked the New Wave groups but only a few punk groups, Siouxsie & the Banshees, XTC, The Cure and the Ramones. The first three of those evolved but the Ramones held firm. Bands like Heart and Starship sold their souls for record sales in the '80s. The synth bands were okay but their music isn't lasting. Dance music seems to be back with a vengeance.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 19, 2012 6:07:29 PM PDT
@Exile: 1978-83 was definitely "an era". And, I agree that it is clear that the cutoff year for that era is 1983. I also think that 1991-95 was a very good era for rock, with the clear cutoff being 1995.

Posted on Oct 19, 2012 6:19:43 PM PDT
@Donald J.Nelson: I agree, the New Wave bands were generally better than the hardcore punk acts, with a few exceptions. And even those punk acts I liked (The Clash, Siouxsie, Wire) were better when they expanded beyond their strict punk roots.

From 1977/8-83 I think that The Clash, Elvis Costello, The Talking Heads, Blondie, Patti Smith, U2, The Jam, The Cars, Devo, Fleetwood Mac, Siouxsie And The Banshees, The Police, The Cure, Wire, The Dead Kennedys, Ian Dury, PiL, The Pretenders, The Motels, The Plasmatics, Joy Division, Kate Bush, Peter Gabriel, Nick Lowe, Prince, and Michael Jackson made some outstanding music. Even The Human League, Modern English, and Flock Of Seagulls weren't that bad!

That was definitely a graduating class one could be proud of.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 19, 2012 6:21:29 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 19, 2012 6:23:22 PM PDT
That '91-'95 era was the last true rock explosion, although with each new era I enjoyed fewer and fewer bands. From that era I enjoyed STP and the Pumpkins and even some Mazzy Star.

I disagree that its all been done before, as one poster stated, because we thought that in 1990 as well. Its just not done on the same level anymore and artists today seem to have less individuality as before..something that set each band apart in style, sound and look...Too often today it just seems they were all produced on an assembly line. Look how different Roxy Music looked and sounded in the 70s. There still hasn't been anyone like that.

Older bands just seemed more adept at their instruments, understood music and what made it good...not much of that left.

Posted on Oct 19, 2012 6:36:43 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 19, 2012 6:45:04 PM PDT
@Exile: The 1991-95 era was definitely the last great rock explosion; I still attest that there's tons of good rock music still being made (if you look), but it doesn't come in "explosions" or "waves" anymore like it did before. The last such "wave" I can think of was the garage-revival of 2001-04 (Strokes, White Stripes, Vines etc) and it was *much* smaller and petered out much quicker than earlier waves. I think a lot of this has to do with what we've been saying about the very different ways music is bought, distributed and disseminated; the internet age, downloading, ipods and general fragmentation of culture has definitely been a double-edged sword. There are things I *love* about the new technology, but it has created completely different paradigms than before. One of the things which has disappeared is this idea of musical waves, or the idea that any one band/artist can have a singular importance to pop culture.

It's interesting you mention The Smashing Pumpkins and Mazzy Star, as they are two of my favorite acts from the early-mid 90s era. I also liked Pearl Jam, PJ Harvey, Stereolab, Tori Amos, Soundgarden, Blur, Suede, Slowdive, Alice In Chains, Pulp, REM, Spiritualized, Lush, The Flaming Lips, Kyuss, Porcupine Tree, Anekdoten, The Red House Painters, Echolyn, Yo La Tengo, Porno For Pyros and The Red Hot Chili Peppers. I thought there was plenty of great rock at that time, as much as in the 78-83 wave; however, I never cared much for Nirvana or Oasis!

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 19, 2012 6:57:05 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 19, 2012 7:04:40 PM PDT
Michael makes a great point as most punk music is "anti-music" in the sense that many musicians were not playing their instruments very well as a spit in the face to established bands such as Pink Floyd and Genesis. Rock was building and building in the 1970's and the punk movement that got in there was a lot more style than substance and as it had many followers some of us old-timers couldn't jump onboard and get the safety pins out for the required uniform they wore.

Disco, was a dance music thing that in a very worse version still lives on today in other forms. Whatever the "New Wave" was I shall never know but The Police, The Clash, The Ramones, The Cure onwards to R.E.M. and U2, Men At Work, The Plimsouls, The Long Ryders, The Replacements and The Dream Syndicate closed down the 1970's and started up the early 1980's in fine style and there was great music still being made.

Posted on Oct 19, 2012 7:14:07 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 19, 2012 7:17:32 PM PDT
@Philip S Wolf: I think punk was important, but more as a mission statement than as an actual enjoyable musical genre. The point of the genre--to strip things down, keep it exciting, and keep it edgy--was better absorbed by the New Wave acts, who took those principles but were also able to write decent melodies, play their instruments, apply a little polish, etc.

There's no doubt in my mind that rock music needed the kick in the pants that punk and new wave provided in the late '70s, but unfortunately the whole "keep it simple" ethos became its own dogma and ended up infesting almost all popular music like a plague for decades afterwards. Any time an artist tried to come up with something arty, complex or virtuosic they were blasted by the critics and couldn't sell any records, which led fewer and fewer artists to want to do so. Of course, experimental genres like psychedelia and prog-rock have had small retro-revivals over the years, but overall the punk ethos is still considered The Bible of most modern rock. It was good for then, but now we're drowning in over-simplicity and need a *real* revival of greater complexity and virtuosity in music! In a way, I think that the popularity of Muse--who aren't even all *that* complex compared to their 70s forebears--has been a healthy outlet for a portion of the public who yearn for music with a bit more dramatic scope than they've been given in mainstream rock lately. Now if only some excellent prog acts like Big Big Train could be given the same attention...

Posted on Oct 19, 2012 7:22:09 PM PDT
The Who and The Kinks had the entire punk thing down in 1965 and those bands could play a bunch.
And as I saw The Who and The Kinks in concert in 1976 they stiil had the energy for old guys of thirty years of age. The guys that started the Punk bands were almost as old as the musicians that the mocked so it was a bit of a scandal to grab up as much loot as they could while they were still young and oh so ugly/pretty. They had a great two year run.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 19, 2012 7:23:56 PM PDT
Good points in your first paragraph and how can I forget Alice in Chains? Damn good band!

I was laughing at your Oasis and Nirvana comment as those are two bands I have never owned or purchased a single piece of music from. I do give Nirvana credit for Smells Like Teen Spirit and garnering attention for these new up and coming bands but I was never a fan. Oasis was just lame!
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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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