- Mar 6, 2009
You guys/gals and your "weirdo" lists!!!! I did not know all of these existed...
I spent most of yesterday listening to some tracks via YouTube. Some I didn't care about, too obscure, too boring for me personally (I'm more of a pop/punk/hardcore/merengue/salsa guy) but some I loved (like Swans... might end up getting some releases!).
I have found that some of the best, or in many cases the best music, is to be found beyond the mainstream. When I was a young teen I listened to everything on the radio, but especially the "classic rock of the time". Then I started to listen to bands such as Talking heads, Elvis Costello, and the Ramones. Back in the mid to late 70's these were not played on the radio except for certain college rock stations and even then not that often. I should add that I found out about many of these bands from reading the old NYC Village Voice year end lists at my local library, this is at a time when those lists were actually good. I quickly moved on to early British punk, becoming a big Clash fan in my college years. I still remember listening to London Calling just days after its release and being blown away. Scrapping some more I found the indie music scene with independent labels putting out a treasure trove of excellent music, bands such as Joy Division, Cabaret Voltaire, and early Gang of Four. Luckily there was an import record store, where the owner often played the records for you before purchasing. I saved my part time money, being a poor college student at the time, to find all these gems. Many of these groups are now considered classics and included in many best of the decade type lists, including those put out by Rolling Stone magazine, a magazine that the 70's and early 80's was more interested in pushing the main stream classic rock of the time then in promoting interesting or exciting music.
The lesson that I, and many people from my generation, took away from that time was that the best music can and is often found outside the mainstream. Rock radio will give everyone what is the most popular, but usually not the best music, the gems are often to be found under the surface of commercial music. Just takes a bit of digging. And that is why these best of the year lists are so important for those of us that are not happy with most commercial music.
And if you call me a musical snob, I will completely agree.