Wednesday, November 18, 2009
The complete and utter decline in music:
Watched that hot new show, Glee. Guess what, the end had a chorus singing the song Lean on Me
Wow! Fresh, and only 37 years old
Kudos to the grunge and rap "artists" of the last two decades that eschewed melody, harmony, and rhythm.
After New Wave
died out in the late 80's there was this huge void, which, only now, seems to be getting filled with real music.
Rap fans: Sorry, it's poetry/spoken-word. Yes, they threw in a back beat at some point, but it lacks harmonic texture.
Grunge fans: That stuff ages so fast. You still like Nirvana?
Finally, as long as I'm opining. What's the big deal about U2? Is it the lyrics? Or Bono's celebrity aura? It certainly isn't the music, which has virtually no character.
I'll be watching this space to see just what the big deal about U2 is, because I have no idea. For a bunch of professional musicians, I find their actual musicianship amateurish, the music derivative (of itself, no less!), and the lyrics high-school level banal.
As for the rest of the post, well, all music outside of what I grew up with sucks. I think that's a blanket statement that pretty much fits almost every American.
Look at me, Q, I'm standing on your lawn!
I bought U2's The Unforgettable Fire when it came out in 1984. The sound quality was atrocious. It had a few good songs on it, but it was the first and last U2 album I have ever purchased.
I don't know how Bono gets his head through doorways. Here's what he said about The Unforgettable Fire when it was released:
"We knew the world was ready to receive the heirs to The Who. All we had to do was to keep doing what we were doing and we would become the biggest band since Led Zeppelin, without a doubt...We felt we had more dimension than just the next big anything, we had something unique to offer."
Ego trip much?
Anon #1 is correct. I still like most of the music I grew up with (I was a Frank Zappa addict), and I gotta say it: I feel sorry for kids today, listening to the inane pap that passes for modern music. Sonic Youth is about as close as I'll come to it,and even they're considered geezers. I started listening to jazz twenty years ago, and I haven't looked back. How many kids today do you suppose will ever be caught dead listening to Kind of Blue or A Love Supreme?
LOL @ Anon 5:28 AM
Maybe it was the relief of something on the radio other than rap, hip-hop and pop rock - and disco was still rampant - but yeah I still like Nirvana and their grunge ilk. Dude - what about their unplugged album? And I still occassionally play
1992's "Singles" soundtrack. That album still rocks my world.
1992 - God I'm getting old.
Oh, I forgot to add - not all New Wave ages well - i.e. the "Knack" & the "Cars"; or does your sharona still have a thing for the night life baby?
Edge's guitar sound is fairly original to my ears and has a wailing, droning quality that works well with Bono's singing. Not my favorites but I do like "It's a Beautiful Day."
Some of the brightest young people I have met over the years since the 1990s have listened to...progressive rock, the much derided music style that began with psychedelic music in the late 1960s and matured from there.
Progressive rock, in its infancy in the early 1970s (there are now new prog bands springing up in so many places including the US) was called pretentious by rock critics. The rock critics fell into two main categories: One category were the musical morons like Robert Hilburn of the LA Times, or else they were like Robert Christgau, at the Village Voice, who was a combination of Maude Findlay racism and spewed leftover Trotskyite nonsense which posited that anything not classical with an orchestra had to be stupid...and preferably performed by black people who shucked and jived. Christgau promoted the 1970s disco-soul band, the O'Jays, to take one example. The O'Jays were a Stepen Fetchit group who dressed like clowns and made "music" that conformed to the type of stereotype that would make slave owners like Rhett Butler smile and sing along...Yet, Christgau called King Crimson one of the 10 worst rock bands of all time.
Music was eventually turned into a commodity no different than the bread on a grocery shelf by the time MTV and Madonna came along, and the processing of music and the intertwining of corporate advertising with any artistry became more deeply entrenched. The process had begun with program directors at corporate owned radio stations who wanted the music in less than four minute increments and sounding like the commercials they aired, then record companies followed suit in who they signed for their record labels, and then the Grammys and rock critics did the rest by endorsing the products that were played on the radio; kind of like having a gourmet contest where McDonalds and Burger King alternated the awards they received each year. Overall, a trifecta of corporate capitalism triumphant with the Mandarin intellectuals played by, again, stupid or dishonest rock critics who wrote about these bread sellers as if they were artists in the mold of Miles Davis, Gershwin or Mozart.
Nonetheless, with shades of Joe's Garage, a Frank Zappa concept album, progressive rock has found a renaissance of sorts around the world through the internet, where there are no commercials at the stations my son and his friends listen to.
As for U2 and Springsteen, I love their politics for the most part. But I have little use for their music. And cRap? Please. Misogynist, a call for anti-social behavior and devoid of melody is how one may reasonably describe cRap. It's just the new version of the O'Jays except in its glorification of crime in a way that again confirms the worst stereotypes for black men trying to at least get by without getting shot by a police officer in America.
Oh well. My ten cents on this. Have at it!
You must like that pretty music I've heard tell about.
U2 is all about big stadium anthems. They are/were at their best in a huge concert setting. Live Aid for instance.
I think that the best current progressive rock band is Phish. They have Zappa-like musicianship and compositional skills without the bitter sarcasm that always turned Zappa off to me. The downside to Phish are their often scattershot lyrics, although you do get used to them after a while and they have their own charm.