What's Up with Music Anyway?
Here's what I was thinking about today. I was looking over my CD collection and I started to get concerned that I was completely losing touch with 'new' music. But then I decided it's not that I'm losing touch. It's that I'm losing interest. Based on quality. Now I don't wanna go sounding like one of those people who talks about how "music isn't as good as it used to be"--- but I'm thinking (and hoping) music really isn't as good as it used to be-- in actual reality.
It's like this with music. The 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's, and 90's all had distinct evolutions in music. When you think of each of those decades you can pinpoint how music evolved from stage to stage. You can track how music grew. It was exciting. You could see what bands were important. But what's really happening now? I know there are some good bands out there. And have been good bands this decade. But it seems to me that the last "sorta important" album was the Strokes album Is This It? At the time it felt like something new was bubbling up. I loved that album. It felt like something might be starting. But now it seems that rocky spark has fizzled. Maybe it was because it was sort of retro to begin with and how far can you go from retro?
When I listen to older stuff I like like The Smiths, Radiohead, Pixies, Elvis Costello, Prince, Beatles, Beck, The Six Wieners. I know that I'll be listening to albums from those guys on and off for the rest of my life. Because they're good. They keep calling me back. Even something as dingy as Soundgarden can still make it off the shelf once in a blue moon. But I don't really get call backs from more recent stuff. I'll listen to a White Stripes album for a week or so- then it goes back on the shelf forever. It's been a long time since I've heard an album that I can see myself listening to twenty years from now. And just how violently pukey will the majority emo be?
Maybe it's because radio is dead. Or selling albums isn't the goal of the industry. Or I don't have the attention span for albums anymore. I don't think that's it. I really have stayed relatively in touch. I'll log on to pitchforkmedia and steal a song off the net from a recommended band here or there. But it's usually disappointing or obvious... or cocky.. or just... ok yeah... interesting. And the writers on that site seem arrogant.
Granted I know that there's good new stuff out there. It's not that I dislike everything... just almost everything. And I honestly don't think it's my fault. I think stuff has gotten worse. Like what am I supposed to do with a band like Mars Volta? Like them? How many times can I listen to a full Artic Monkeys album? Three times? Maybe two? Maybe once. Or nunce? Has there been a truly 'big and great' album since OK Computer? What is the definitive 00's band? Death Cab for Cutie?
I know all of this is probably a lull and music will reinvent itself at some point. Or maybe great music is just hiding in corners where I'm not looking which is super possible. And yeah maybe this is just an age check on my part. But I just don't see what the next natural progression (or regression) is in music could possibly be. Where's it going? Electronica? Again? Industrial? Again? Retro?... umm again again? Good old rock and roll? I guess.
The other day I was in a bar and The Reflex by Duran Duran came on and I was happy to hear it. Sure it's a ridiculous borderline developmentally disabled song- but something about it still lives on because it drums up stuff in me when I first heard it. And the hook still hooks. Will songs that are hits now have the same effect on teenagers twenty years from now? Is SexyBack going to make some kid smile down the road? Or will that kid roll his/her eyes thinking, 'Uch. What was I thinking?' Admittedly when the Reflex came on I did roll my eyes and think, 'What was I thinking?' too-- but that song still made me smile. And I liked listening to it. It was a fond memory. And on some level-- that junk is just better than junk today. (Ok maybe The Reflex isn't the best example. But whatever! You know what I'm saying. Or not.)
Yeah sure-- maybe this whole post makes me sound like an old man whining about how music was better back then?
But seriously... Wasn't it?
PS. Please help and post something worth listening to ---here.
PPS. There is no band called The Six Wieners.