Does the fall of music ever depress you? It does me.
May 3, 2010 at 9:25 PM Post #91 of 198

fjrabon

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Quote:

Originally Posted by GlendaleViper /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I won't belabour the points about pop music being "crap" through the ages - anything good is worth digging for, plain and simple, there is no time barrier.

The real issue is the wider degradation of personal, emotional awareness with respect to philosophy and art appreciation. Without making obtuse claims about current generations being less "aware" as those prior (this takes us down the same road as trying to argue why "classic pop" is better than current pop), as even outside of the mainstream there is a distinct lack of introspection - in quality of thought.

This is not to suggest that creating art of quality demands pretentiousness, or pandering to the intelligentsia. In fact, the most effective art is that which strikes at the most basic of human emotions, that evokes the humanness of humanity.

Nor does this suggest that there are barriers with regard to new forms of art at large. Indeed (and sad to some though it may seem), look to comic books, animation, science-fiction, Heavy Metal and Hip-hop - traditional purveyors of pulp and gratuitous escapism, now more and more becoming hotbeds of intelligent, emotional meditation and social commentary.

Works of art are, necessarily, reflections of the artist's world. It is not a commodity. Without politicizing the thread, media saturation is both cause and effect in a world where commercial interests shift art as a medium for thoughtful expression, to a "product" designed to appeal to the carefully studied behaviours attributable to the CONSUMER. It should be no surprise that an increasingly superficial populace has spawned increasingly superficial artistic expression; mindless entertainment glorifying lifeSTYLE, not LIFE.

Social conditioning, however, does not alter one's humanity. As a species we seem driven to find commonality with one another and the internet is a major driving force toward this end (much as it is concurrently a massive driving force for the "problem" we discuss). Human perspective is increasingly a global perspective and we are exposed to the thoughts and opinions of our peers, regardless of (and perhaps thanks to) cultural differences and borderlines. More and more, people have (largely peer-driven) resources at their fingertips for exploring and sharing the works of others that touch us in some way. This is DIY marketing and it is performed by the individual. Like minds coalesce and share, and it grows in series and deepens with every shared essay, poem, song, image, film, and so on.

Furthermore, there is increasingly a feeling that people are starting to tire of the trite, shallow "art" that the traditional media outlets continue to churn out. To bring things back around to music, assume that "Indie" is not a term used to describe a confined style, but rather a philosophy in music making. "Indie" music at large normally eschews the trends at the charts, both stylistically and often lyrically. And yet, it has always remained just below the surface, neither truly underground nor mainstream. So many people seem bent on defining musical style through "genrefication", but this is irrelevant. "Indie" is as much an ideal as it is a catch-all term, but its enduring relevance is exclusively due to the former. It runs the gamut, from folk, to metal, to rap, to everything-and-the-kitchen-sink collective weirdness; the common string is bravery. Being brave enough to wear your heart on your sleeve, to tackle intensely emotional subject matter or social issues right or wrong. Brave enough to incorporate dated and seemingly archaic style choices (traditional country & western being adopted more and more) while simultaneously challenging established trends. Most importantly, it is the bravery to create from the heart with the HOPE that it will speak to someone else, not BECAUSE of it.

The best art, in all its forms, is pure and without definition. It is passion incarnate. It is tragedy and comedy, domestic and taboo. It is purity of thought mated with passion and skill. It is born of narcissism and attains greatness (and indeed validity) when it finds an audience. It is not a case study. It is not a target demographic. It has never been easy to find.

Dig deep and share.



I'm not entirely sure what you're saying in spots here, and I don't agree with at least some of it, but very well said nonetheless. Great contribution to the discussion, though I'm not entirely sure how to respond.
 
May 3, 2010 at 10:02 PM Post #92 of 198

DrBenway

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Quote:

Originally Posted by fjrabon /img/forum/go_quote.gif
And you're really pushing Mahavishnu Orchestra as near mainstream? Really? Take a poll of a few hundred people who were teens in the 70's and I'd be willing to bet less than 10% even know who they were, let alone bought an album. Same for Return To Forever.


I was a teen in the 70s; I turned 10 in 1970 and 20 in 1980, so my entire time as a teenager was spent during that decade. In high school, I hung out with kids who, like me, were obsessed with music. We all knew the Mahavishnu Orch, Return to Forever, and associated solo artists like Stanley Clarke and Al Dimeola. When punk and new wave hit, I traded 45s with friends who were into the new stuff.

But we were a tiny minority within my high school. Most people would have drawn a blank when asked about the artists I mentioned above. It kills me when I hear the Ramones played on classic shlock stations today. The DJs act like they've been a mainstream act forever. In fact, rock stations not only didn't play punk or new wave in the 70s, they actually made fun of it and the kids who listened to it. If you wanted to hear, say, the Clash, you pretty much had to tune in to college radio.

There were a few stations, such as WNEW-FM in New York, that played bands like Television and Talking Heads in the late 70s, but even WNEW became more and more mainstream as the free-form era in FM radio came to an end.

Quote:

Originally Posted by TheWuss /img/forum/go_quote.gif
funny you say toothless. i met pat boone a few years ago, and he had perfect dentures, and a hollywood tan. kind of creepy.
did anybody hear that metal album he did a few years back?
biggrin.gif



I heard a couple of tracks from his "metal" record. It was a total piss-take; he was making fun of the music by recasting it as middle-of-the-road pop. I saw him on some awards show during that period, and he showed up in full regalia -- black leather, metal studs, the whole nine. What an absolute jerk.

Interestingly, Paul Anka's recording of rock material was done with considerably more respect. I'm no fan of his, but I have to admit that he is a talented musician. When Rock Swings came out, I heard him discussing his cover of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" during a radio interview. He spoke very respectfully of Kurt Cobain, and it was obvious that he liked the song, as a song. Again, not my cup of tea, but at least it wasn't insulting.

Quote:

Originally Posted by fjrabon /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I wasn't saying it was more common, but just as common to hear bad pop. Part of the issue back then was that radio stations were more diverse, so on the same station you'd hear pat boone, something off the sound of music, a beatles song and a motown song. Whereas now all radio is fully genre-ified.


But the diversity was unintentional. In the 60s and 70s, top forty stations played...the top forty. If it was selling, they played it. As much as "serious" music fans derided hit radio, at least it was reasonably democratic in it's selection. So sure, you got a lot of manufactured dreck from the likes of the Osmond Brothers, but it was also possible to occasionally hear artists who were normally confined by their genres. BB King made it into the top 40 with "The Thrill Is Gone." The great Jazz trumpeter Lee Morgan had a hit with "The Sidewinder." And the pop-country singer Lynn Anderson had a monster hit with "I Never Promised You a Rose Garden."
 
May 3, 2010 at 10:14 PM Post #93 of 198

GlendaleViper

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I'm not entirely sure what I was saying either. Chalk it up to trying to form a well-developed piece while bouncing back and forth between work duties.
wink.gif

At any rate, hopefully it does contribute to the discussion, rather than detract from it.
 
May 4, 2010 at 12:09 AM Post #94 of 198

DonCarr

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I am 20, and was brought up with MTV, Chart Show , Top Of The Pops etc
Me and my dad would watch and moan about how crap it was then and we still do now. But it entertains. Some mainstream is good most is not.

For music and not disposable entertainment you are rewarded by exploration .
Perhaps its good we have such a distracted mainstream as music lovers it shelters real music from the clumsy masses and industry machines.

Sometimes you wouldn't want "everybody" in the mainstream raving about your favourite currently un discovered artists/group/song as you would feel they are de valuing your discovery/

Perhaps sometimes having their music to yourself as selfish as it sounds is your own pleasure and something which you have that feels personal to your own identity.

* Please note I am exploring a theory based on my own` honest self anyalisis I have and obviously not a direct statment to yourself*

Anybody else get where I am coming from with this?
 
May 4, 2010 at 2:32 AM Post #95 of 198

vcoheda

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what depresses me is the recording quality of most of the new music - bad.
 
May 4, 2010 at 2:39 AM Post #96 of 198

rawrster

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Well I grew up in the 90's so the answer to the thread title is no. I discover new and better music each time I go to the music forums here and by new I actually mean older music I had no idea existed until going there. I don't listen so much to the stuff that comes out as often as I used to so it doesn't really matter to me.
 
May 4, 2010 at 2:47 AM Post #97 of 198

DrBenway

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Quote:

Originally Posted by DonCarr /img/forum/go_quote.gif
For music and not disposable entertainment you are rewarded by exploration.

Perhaps its good we have such a distracted mainstream as music lovers it shelters real music from the clumsy masses and industry machines.

Sometimes you wouldn't want "everybody" in the mainstream raving about your favourite currently un discovered artists/group/song as you would feel they are de valuing your discovery/

Perhaps sometimes having their music to yourself as selfish as it sounds is your own pleasure and something which you have that feels personal to your own identity.

Anybody else get where I am coming from with this?



I do. There are times when it can feel good to know about a band that most people have never heard of. There are also practical reasons why this can be good. A couple of weeks ago, I saw The Crystal Castles at Irving Plaza, a club here in NYC that probably holds 300-500 people, max.

They were amazing. Alice Glass spent most of the show singing at the top of her lungs while crowd surfing. I was able to get close enough to her to really see the intensity of her facial expressions. She is one of the most intense performers to come along in quite a while, and it was a fantastic show.

I just can't imagine having the same experience in an arena or, worse yet, an outdoor stadium. I swore off arena shows more than 20 years ago, after a horrible experience at an AC/DC show at Madison Square Garden. As far as I'm concerned, if I have to suffer through the horrible sound and idiotic crowd behaviour at an arena show in order to see a band, then I'm too late.

Don't get me wrong. I hope the Castles become hugely popular and make tons of cash playing in giant venues. But I won't be there to see it.
 
May 4, 2010 at 3:45 AM Post #98 of 198

NecroNeo

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Since I have no experiential frame of reference to compare the 60s to the 2000s, being only 22 y.o., I decided to look into the no. 1 singles of each decade. As far as the generation gap vs. popular music actually getting worse, I'll only say 1) that we tend to look at the past with rose-colored glasses and the present won't measure up to that unfair standard, and 2) having listened to a decent amount (read: biased sample) of American and British music from the late 50s until the present, I'd say pop now is worse than ever before.

If you look at decade 1960-1969 on Billboards chart of no. 1's, then check out the list for decade 2000-2009, you'll see evidence of a general trend. 1960-69 had very little collaboration between popular artists. 2000-2009 charts are full of songs credited to artist featuring collaborator! As if we're supposed to be thrilled by the idea that two shoddy "artists" are working together to create "music." But since many of the major players are working with the same producers/engineers, and trying to imitate one another, (all the while pandering to the lowest common denominator in order to achieve mass appeal) the end result is a diluted and vulgar corruption of an art form. It draws on current developments in distantly related (better) genres, but it dumbs them down to the point of inanity.

That being said, the web is making good music available to a vast and growing population of music listeners with a wide range of tastes. This allows a larger number of artists to produce and sell their particular style to a niche group who enjoy that particular music. IOW, there is more great music out there than ever before, it just takes work to discover it. And I'm okay with that.
 
May 4, 2010 at 4:26 AM Post #99 of 198

JohnFerrier

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Quote:

Originally Posted by DavidMahler /img/forum/go_quote.gif

. . . is music genuinely falling in quality very fast.



I enjoy contemporary orchestral music which is certainly not deteriorating in quality. In general, in most genres, there is a lot of good music to find.


Octavio Paz on poetry (as music): " It is the other voice. It lives in the catacombs, but it won't disappear."


.
 
May 4, 2010 at 11:20 AM Post #102 of 198

Shimmer

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No! There is no fall of music. I look forward every week to new albums from my old favorites, or being able to experience something new. What everyone has mentioned about digging for music is very true, and with a bit of experience becomes much quicker and easier. Moreover, musical taste is totally subjective, and a big plus of modern times is the great diversity.. nearly anyone can find what they are looking for.
 
May 4, 2010 at 12:21 PM Post #103 of 198

fjrabon

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Shimmer /img/forum/go_quote.gif
No! There is no fall of music. I look forward every week to new albums from my old favorites, or being able to experience something new. What everyone has mentioned about digging for music is very true, and with a bit of experience becomes much quicker and easier. Moreover, musical taste is totally subjective, and a big plus of modern times is the great diversity.. nearly anyone can find what they are looking for.


To be fair to David, I don't think that his point was that the totality of music is worse (or at least significantly worse) now. I think he has a few separate points that at first he rolled into one, but can be better thought of unpacked.

1) Pop music is worse today than ever
2) Pop music is the only identity of this generation
3) This generation has no "musical direction" that defines it as a culture.

I think point one can be argued, I'm not particularly happy with pop music today, but pop music has never been overly great. I think David's mistake is that he is including stuff like Beethoven, Miles Davis, Willie Nelson, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, etc as the popular music of bygone eras. That's just not true. Those artists all had varying levels of success, but none were ever the popular music of their eras.

I think point 2 is absolutely false. The identity of this generation, I think, is actually it's variety. More than ever before pop music doesn't matter, because nobody is forced to listen to it like they were in the past. If you hated pop music in the 40's, 50's, 60's, etc but you loved music, you were more or less screwed because you were either forced into building a massively expensive record collection, going to the symphony hall whenever you wanted to listen to your music, not listening to music, or suffering through the pop of the time. Today you can build a gigantic music collection relatively cheaply (or free depending on your morals) based on any type of music your little heart can desire. Most people have 60 free music channels on their cable, we have youtube, etc. In a way unlike ever before, nobody is forced into liking certain kinds of music. In the past record execs decided what we liked, but that's no longer the case. This has made pop music nothing but a reflection of what people want to dance to in clubs. If you take it for what it is, then its fine, I think. As club music Lady Gaga is fantastic.

Point 3 is a related point to point 2, and I think it may be true, but it's nothing new that this generation is without direction. I think this points to a sort of bipartite split in the musical identity, it's partially pop, but it's just as much indy. There are essentially two musical responses to the directionlessness of our generation 1) embrace the lack of direction 2) try to create a sort of defining comformity with no real defining aspects. Way 1 is what the indy scene is doing, it's not about anything, but that's what its about. Way 2 is the state of pop music today. It's trying to create a conformity out of nothing, with the possible exception of the one universal, sex. Which is perhaps all David is lamenting, and I guess understated points don't get responses, so maybe that's why he went further and tried to roll it into some overarching "fall of music" which I think is ABSOLUTELY false. If you gave me the choice of the music of this decade v. the music of any other single decade, I'd absolutely take this decade. Sure there was more I didn't like this decade than perhaps any other, but there was also a lot more I did like.
 
May 4, 2010 at 12:21 PM Post #104 of 198

HipHopScribe

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Quote:

Originally Posted by DavidMahler /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Regarding good music always being around......YES i'm aware of this. But what I am saying is that mainstream music is where the Culture unifies and creates a musical identity. If you think Of Montreal or MGMT or Arcade Fire is going to be the way music is remembered throughout the youth generation in 30 years, you're wrong. This generation which is presently between 15 and 25 will be remembered for "come here rude boy boy are you big enough?" and "It's too late to apologize" and "can't read my poker face"............that's not much of a musical identity if you ask me.....and without a musical identity, it doesn't matter how much great music there is being released, if there's no money being invested in it then it's just what it is.....good music, it can't move a culture like it once did.


You can see the future? Not fair, I want magic powers.

How many people in 1969 would have predicted that Velvet Underground would be remembered as one of the musical touchstones of the decade? And they never came near the top 100, forget top 10 like Arcade Fire and MGMT have done.

I think the biggest mistake here is to assume that what tops the charts is necessarily all that is remembered, which has never been the case, and to forget that the internet has so fragmented the market that the Billboard charts are probably less accurate than ever in regards to what people, especially High School and college age, are actually listening to. That's what this period of music is about to me, with a PC and an internet connection, you can have any type of music you want, from any time in recorded music, and anywhere in the world. If that means there's not as much of a unifying movement of music, I don't necessarily view that as a bad thing.

I don't think one can accurately judge this period of music while still sitting in the middle of it. Time and distance gains one a lot of perspective. The vast majority of crap will be forgotten, except on those hit compilations they sell on TV, and the gems will be polished. If you think there are no gems, that all music sucks, I guess that won't work for you. But if you're just upset that the gems aren't topping the charts, time will correct for that.
 
May 4, 2010 at 12:26 PM Post #105 of 198

fjrabon

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Quote:

Originally Posted by HipHopScribe /img/forum/go_quote.gif
You can see the future? Not fair, I want magic powers.

How many people in 1969 would have predicted that Velvet Underground would be remembered as one of the musical touchstones of the decade? And they never came near the top 100, forget top 10 like Arcade Fire and MGMT have done.

I think the biggest mistake here is to assume that what tops the charts is necessarily all that is remembered, which has never been the case, and to forget that the internet has so fragmented the market that the Billboard charts are probably less accurate than ever in regards to what people, especially High School and college age, are actually listening to. That's what this period of music is about to me, with a PC and an internet connection, you can have any type of music you want, from any time in recorded music, and anywhere in the world. If that means there's not as much of a unifying movement of music, I don't necessarily view that as a bad thing.

I don't think one can accurately judge this period of music while still sitting in the middle of it. Time and distance gains one a lot of perspective.



x2

Also, I think David overestimates how much music in the past moved culture. I think music has always been more of a reflection than a moving force. Of course there was some push in both directions, but I think the lack of musical direction is a reflection of the lack of a definable direction in society as a whole. Sure, in the past there was more of a defined direction, but in retrospect did it ever do much? Did the 60's "direction" actually do very much? That generation is actually the one in charge of things today and regardless of your political slant, I don't think you can say the generation that were teens and early 20's in the 60's has accomplished much at all. I think part of the directionlessness of our generation partly comes from seeing, in the end, what a sham the "direction" of the 60's and 70's were.

As to your other point, disco was far and away the most popular music of the 70's, but does anybody view it as what the 70's was remembered for? No, people remember Led Zeppelin, The Dead, The Allman Brothers, The Velvet Underground, etc. Even though only Led Zeppelin was really terribly popular during the time, and not as commercially popular as the BeeGees. So I think it's not only presumptuous of David to say that our generation will be remembered for Usher, it's more than likely wrong.
 

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