Goldang kids and their hippety-hop music.. Hey! Get offa my lawn!Posted: May 19, 2014
When you are about 35 years old, something terrible happens to music. – Steve Race, BBC disc jockey
Music mostly sucks now. Music mostly sucked back then, too.
The music in past decades sucked just as bad as the music of today, if all you did was listen to the radio (and I say this as a radio guy). It was a different time. Access to material was limited. Growing up in the Twin Cities in the 60’s we had five TV channels and a handful of AM music radio stations, and everyone listened to the same thing. If there had been 500 channels and the Internet back in the 50’s and 60’s, with multiple genres and niches, how much of that music would stand the test of time? Probably not as much: because, unlike then, only a percentage of people would have sought it out and heard it.
Mainstream radio is, and always has been, corporate-driven. It is the fast food of the music industry: highly processed, safe, designed to appeal to the masses, but long-term consumption can rot you from the inside. Spam is not comparable to a T-bone steak.
The good stuff is always in the background. What was once alternative has morphed into the mainstream. That’s fine, that’s inevitable, I suppose. Five to ten years from now you will hear about today’s good stuff because it will have become more mainstream, but by then it won’t be as good as it is now.
The difference now is we have time and options to sift out the chaff, leaving the kernels. Every era has light and fluffy tunes, but also music of substance. The 60’s had “Like A Rolling Stone” and “Revolver,” but also “Do The Freddie” and “Snoopy vs. The Red Baron.” The 70’s had “London Calling” and “This Year’s Model,” but also “Disco Duck” and “Fly Robin Fly.” As time passes we forget the crappy music that took up most of the airwaves, and focus instead on the relatively few gems that come out during any given time.
(Inspired and fueled by an awesome conversation today at Democratic Underground. Props to all the contributors.)