The Soundtrack Of This Age

When I was a boy, my grandfather would tool around in his car listening to big band music or classical. The former was the music of his youth, while the latter was what he thought sophisticated people liked. He was not wrong about that. In his youth, the kind of music you could dance to was for proles, while the sophisticated people appreciated classical and opera. It was not as clear cut as that, but the early 20th century was a time when people still looked up for guidance and inspiration. That included entertainments.

The thing I always hated hearing from my grandfather was how modern music was terrible and not fit for civilized people. He was a man of his age and class, so he used colorful euphemisms to describe popular music. Even as a kid, I understood that every generation has their soundtrack. Maybe never having known anything but a world where pop culture dominated, this came naturally to me, while my grandfather still recalled an age before everyone had a radio and television. Maybe he knew things I couldn’t know.

Either way, I’ve always just assumed that once I passed my mid-20’s, pop music was no longer for me. Some stuff would be appealing, but most would be aimed at kids and strike me as simplistic and repetitive. There were some good bands in the 90’s that I liked, but most of it was not my thing. By the 2000’s, I was unable to name popular groups or the songs at the top of the charts. Today, I have not heard a single note from any song on the current top-40. On the other hand, I’m sure I’ve heard some version of all of it.

That may be why music sales have collapsed. A 15-year old can go on YouTube or Spotify and find fifty versions of the current pop hits, gong back before their parents were born. They can also find stuff from previous eras that was remarkably well done and performed by people with real talent. Justin Timberlake may be very talented as a singer, but no one is confusing him with Frank Sinatra. It’s simply a lot easier for young people to see that pop music is just manufactured pap from Acme Global Corp.

That’s another thing that may be plaguing pop culture in general and pop music in particular. When I was a teen, your music said something about you because you felt a connection to the band. In the sterile transactional world of today, no one feels an attachment to anything, much less the latest pop group. There’s no sense of obligation to buy or  listen to their latest release. Supporting a type of music or a specific act is no longer a part of kid’s identity. The relationship is now as sterile as society.

That is the funny thing about pop culture in our Progressive paradise. It is a lot like the pop music of totalitarian paradises of the past. The Soviets manufactured their version of Western pop, but it was never popular. Just as we see at the Super Bowl, comrades can be forced marched to an arena and made to cheer, but no one really liked it. There’s a lot of that today, as every pop star has the exact same Progressive politics and uses their act to proselytize on behalf of the faith. That’s not a coincidence. It is by design.

The West does not have a competitor that embraces freedom and liberty, so the past has become the competition. Look at YouTube and you will see that old songs and bands have enormous amounts of traffic. Given that the people who listened to Sinatra in their prime are mostly dead, it must be younger people discovering and enjoying the old stuff from when the West was still in love with itself. I’ve often been surprised to see young people, particularly young men, into music that pre-dates me, but it is not uncommon.

As an aside, I include music clips in my podcast, mostly to break things up, but also to entertain myself with inside jokes. The number one question I get from people is about the music. Every week I get e-mails asking about some clip and the e-mail is always from a younger person. If I use a clip from an old crooner, I get compliments from people of all ages. Nostalgia certainly plays some role, but most of it is people looking for enjoyable music, because the current popular music just don’t work for them.

What’s happening to pop culture is a reflection of our age. We’ve been turned into Pandas by a smothering, soft totalitarianism. The feminization of the culture means we’re ruled by mothers, who refuse to ever let us wander from the nest, physically, spiritually, creatively or intellectually. That has had all sorts of effects, like the drop in sperm counts and the collapse of popular culture. A deracinated people, kept in adult daycare centers and tended to by belligerent spinsters is not going to have a lot to celebrate or live for.

The great philosopher Homer Simpson said, “Why do you need new bands? Everyone knows rock attained perfection in 1974. It’s a scientific fact.”  There’s a lot of truth to that as per capita music sales peaked in the 70’s and began a decline until CD’s forced everyone to repurchase their music. But that peaked in the late 90’s and there has been a precipitous decline ever since. Two factors driving it would be demographics and the fact that our most musical people, blacks and Jews, no longer play instruments.

Pop music is not art, but like art it does hold a mirror up to society. In the heyday of pop music, the society it reflected was one that was optimistic and happy. Today, the society it reflects is the gray, featureless slurry of multiculturalism and the vinegar drinking scolds who impose it on us. It’s not that it is low quality or offensive. It’s that the music is a lot like the modern parking lot. It is row after row of dreary sameness. Like everything in this age, popular music has the soul of the machine that made it.

 

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Tim Newman
Guest

I’m rather glad I play bluegrass and not much else. 🙂

DLS
Guest
DLS

Every so often, my church has a bluegrass band come in to play in place of the normal music. I always feel like Steve Martin in The Jerk, when he starts dancing around like a madman.

black Man
Guest
black Man

I just googled bluegrass..lol

Guzalot
Guest
Guzalot

Google gangstagrass.

Guzalot
Guest
Guzalot

Go to YouTube and do a search for “Gangstagrass”. They’re a band that has successfully merged bluegrass and rap music. It’s surprisingly good stuff.

John Smith
Member

How do talented musicians even hit the market anymore…? It used to be the big record labels used to control the soundstage… but now? What’s the process, and who are the gate keepers?

And if there are no gate keepers, how in blazes is it that we are drowning in rap – crap? Get off my lawn you little chits!!!!

John Smith
Member

Hmmmmm. Are you trying to send me a message, Z? The captcha code I had to enter for that comment above was ‘gFUCK’.
You youngsters are a bunch of foul mouthed little hellions that need your mouths washed out with soap!!!
🙂

Monty James
Guest

A rough rule of thumb I use to decide whether some tune has any worth is to ask myself if people are going to be playing it on a jukebox in a bar fifty years from now.

For “playing it on a jukebox in a bar”, those of you of not so old, substitute ‘having it played in a public space where a bunch of you are gathered, with the expectation that most will tolerate it without raising a fuss.’

Blacks in their eighties listening to “Fuck Tha Police” is going to be hilarious.

DaDZ
Guest
DaDZ

I often think of that kind of thing. In my case, I wonder “will we be cranking Tool in the old folks home?”

Primi Pilus
Guest
Primi Pilus

Art, and pop music, like advertising we see now on cable channels, and predominately in the shows themselves, is now about power. That end, of course, is a major concern of politics — along with money, position, and …. passion. Art is now both a parent and the child of politics. Power is the brass ring for which they reach. So of course Art — pop music / movies / painting / literature et al — becomes flat, utilitarian, and somehow false (though visually stimulating). Those seeking power have bent all to their use, and coopted those delusional souls who… Read more »

Dutch
Guest
Dutch

The same thing has spilled over into any exercise that offers opportunities for creativity. Think of architecture, housing, transportation, computers, phones, and so on. They all socialize us to accept what we are given, and to not criticize anything. Brutalist architecture, and its style allies in the West, are the most egregious examples, IMHO.

wheedle
Guest
wheedle

I blame communism.
http://www.rense.com/general32/americ.htm
“Progressives”,”Socialists”,”Fascists”, ultimately it all leads to communism. And they know how to motivate the population. Blame someone else for their problems.
https://einsamerkrieger.wordpress.com/2013/05/01/drawings-from-the-gulag/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=380&v=BsROaSso_RM

Al from da Nort
Guest
Al from da Nort

Wheedle; Those drawings are absolutely but not surprisingly shocking in their depiction of the human depravity of Russian Communism. Having also watched the Jordan Peterson video, I am stunned and saddened that he resolutely refuses to connect cause to effect. Namely that rejection of God can lead to this sort of depravity by small steps. To begin with, he hides the fact that Alexander Solzhenitsyn became a Christian in the camps and attributed his survival to that. Apparently Peterson is all about Existentialism. While this is better than the Nihilism he rightly excoriates, for most people it’s a thin reed… Read more »

wheedle
Guest
wheedle

Al from da Nort, I believe history repeats itself. Politics inevitably lead to death. You are left with choosing a side that tells you to fight for your side. https://www.redstate.com/diary/reddog53/2010/05/15/politics-is-war-by-other-means/ We all have our own version of Utopia. And we like to think that our government will give us the freedom to do what we want to do. Even communist China has learned to use capitalism to provide their citizens with a sense of freedom. I’m told Marlboro is a popular product for sale. Another point to consider is brought up by Joseph A Tainter in his book “Collapse of… Read more »

Member

It is nothing as to the 120 year old ” water treatment ” of the US thugs in the Philpines.

I sell insurance to proles
Guest
I sell insurance to proles

The conservadads who work for Corp block A, have been listening to Rush on a loop since 85. LOL

Drake
Guest
Drake

My first concert was Rush during the Signals tour. ’82 or 83.

LineInTheSand
Guest
LineInTheSand

Me, Moving Pictures in Seattle

Roscoe
Guest
Roscoe

Farewell To Kings

tsnamm
Guest
tsnamm

Farewell to kings and Hemispheres

Clayton Barnett
Guest

Of your generation Zman, wife & I are 51, she has her Dean Martin on Pandora and I have Hatsune Miku. You might say she hears the past and I a future.

Drake
Guest
Drake

I don’t even know how to explain the excitement of a rock concert in the 80’s to my son. I showed him the Metallica ’89 concert as much to see the crowd as to hear the band.

And you’re right about the loyalty. I was watching the concert video of one of Rush’s last tours. It was like a religious revival for middle-agers.

Much of what I hear from today’s music sounds like a black guy reading a Dr. Seuss book.

Bruno the Arrogant
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Bruno the Arrogant

Rock is basically updated vaudeville. You get the same thing from a Stones concert you get from a minstrel show. Mick Jagger gives you a song, a dance and a few jokes, engages in silly call and response dialogues with the audience, etc. All that’s missing is the blackface. Throw that in, and it’d almost be indistinguishable from Al Jolson, except louder.

Drake
Guest
Drake

Saw Cab Calloway in concert. What a blast.

Bruno the Arrogant
Guest
Bruno the Arrogant

Ha! Yeah, Cab Calloway is great! When I see films of him from the 30s he looks like a prototype of Prince, with the long hair and the leaping about. There’s an old film of him doing Refer Man that’s really a treat. I don’t have a link handy, but if you can track it down you’ll see what I mean about the resemblance.

Bruno the Arrogant
Guest
Bruno the Arrogant
Dr. Dre
Guest
Dr. Dre

Cab Callaway attended our suburban NYC Episcopal church. He was very dignified, always in a suit, which is what all the men wore to church in the 50s and 60s, with white shirts and neckties; the ladies in dresses and hats. I remember Mrs. Callaway as being from Jamaica (not Queens, NY) and having mocha colored skin and auburn hair. Their oldest daughter was Chris Callaway. She was a stunner. Very unusual looking with large, very dark eyes, oval face and slightly freckled mocha colored skin. Her reddish hair was short and curled close to her head. We were in… Read more »

Karl McHungus
Guest
Karl McHungus

what year was that?!

Herodian
Guest
Herodian

Band t-shirts were a very big deal.

Dutch
Guest
Dutch

I listen to FM radio when I am driving around, but don’t listen to music much, otherwise. The stations are all ads and happy talk now, and the DJs have quickly evolved from some old wizened guy leavened by a few younger people, to the sports and beer bro’s, to now a duo with a gal that has a voice like Kathy Griffin and a gay guy. As for the music, for me it has gotten to “whatever’s on, at least it is music (rap and the Beastie Boys are not music)”. Even country has sold out. My Tijuana classical… Read more »

D&D Dave in the Bubble
Guest
D&D Dave in the Bubble

That’s the reason I actually got Sirius renewed on my car. I got the first 6 months free and realized that the same stations (NYC) were playing the same stuff over and over again. The oldies station WCBS, which used to play 50s – 80’s is now mostly 80’s and up with a smattering of 60’s and 70’s. One classic rock station, but too many ads. The small fry stations that sound interesting for 5 minutes are of no use because after 5 minutes of driving the static noise overwhelms the speakers, the result of their low wattage transmitters and… Read more »

Severian
Guest

They’ve even sanitized the past in a lot of cases. For instance, whenever I introduce a class to cultural criticism, I ask them to guess what the number 1 song was in 1969, the very year of Woodstock, the Days of Rage, etc.. I get a lot of guesses about the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, etc., all of which had huge hits that year, BUT — the #1 overall best seller was “Sugar Sugar,” by the Archies. Tom Jones was in the top 10, and Harry Mancini’s Orchestra was in the top 20. That’s real diversity, but nobody knows…

Kodos
Guest
Kodos

For many years of my childhood “popular music” still included Hee Haw, Lawrence Welk, and the Boston Pops. I suppose the audience big enough to justify those broadcasts eventually died off. In a sense “everything” is on tap via YouTube and Spotify, but there was something about broadcast shows that put the spotlight on things and allowed the larger culture to share them. Now everyone can be an expert in obscure stuff, but it’s hard to share passions for obscurities. Another example of the atomization of modern society

Toddy+Cat
Guest
Toddy+Cat

Yes, it’s always important to remember that one of the most popular groups of the late 1960’s was Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. As Severian noted, this has all been airbrushed away by our cultural Commissars. “The West does not have a competitor that embraces freedom and liberty, so the past has become the competition.” Very true. The past has become to our modern managerial state what the US was to the USSR during the Cold War; and our modern totalitarians hate and fear it for the same reason, and respond in the same way – jamming, censorship, social… Read more »

Kodos
Guest
Kodos

Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass?! That sounds like cultural appropriation! 😉

Dutch
Guest
Dutch

“Whipped Cream and Other Delights”. My pre-adolescent self remembers the album cover.

Toddy+Cat
Guest
Toddy+Cat

Oh, yeah….

Primi Pilus
Guest
Primi Pilus

Most young people know nothing about anything older than Madonna and Brittany’s open-mouth stage kiss — and even that’s receding into the gray past. I lead (past tense) many soldiers — from new recruits to older NCOs, and newly minted lieutenants to mid-field-grade officers. Even in that crowd, they had no idea of who we were as a people, and what we had done, in or out of uniform.  In that particular field, associated with their own, they had no idea about the great bomber war in Europe — the numbers and human cost — even with participants still this… Read more »

Dutch
Guest
Dutch

Music is just like movies, magazines, and books. Much of what was popular has been airbrushed away. Go through the top tens of all of these things in times past, and a few things jump out at you. Many are unfamiliar now, much of it is dreck, but it is dreck that was part of the cultural landscape of the day. Many people delude themselves about the present, and also about the past. Here’s a hint. The past was mostly about the white middle class interests, fears, and experience. Airbrushing it away helps hide how warped our current culture actually… Read more »

Severian
Guest

Funny thing is, just a year earlier “Harper Valley PTA” was a massive hit — Jeannie C. Riley was, sez Wiki, the first woman to top the Billboard Hot 100 and the country charts. It sold 6 million singles, and it was about a single mom and her daringly high hemline. It doesn’t sound like a “Sixties” song, but you’d thing such a Grrrrl Power! anthem would be fondly remembered today….

Toddy+Cat
Guest
Toddy+Cat

Even past versions of liberalism are a threat to the modern version. Carl Marx is now just another dead white male, and those “daringly high hemlines” that were all the rage among lefty chicks in the ’60’s are now “signs of sexual objectification and submission to the male gaze” or some such BS. That’s just it; you can’t just be on the left, anymore – you have to keep moving left, ever farther and ever faster. “Red Queen Syndrome” indeed.

Bruno the Arrogant
Guest
Bruno the Arrogant

It seems to me that most of the 20th century was a process of losing our musical vocabulary. Rock lost the harmonic and rhythmic sophistication of jazz, rock is generally played with mostly power chords backing repetitive song structures. Rap in turn lost rock’s melodic sensibilities and lyrical intelligence. We are now reduced to drumming and chanting. Even at that, it’s frequently a machine doing the drumming and chanting. I’m curious as to how much more can be removed and still be anything that could reasonably be called music.

Jimmy the Fish
Guest
Jimmy the Fish

“Hello, I’m Johnny Cash.”

Nunnya Bidnez, jr.
Guest
Nunnya Bidnez, jr.
LFMayor
Guest
LFMayor

The reason the magic beans quit working is because muzak in the 90 s sucked the hind shit tit. (Did gramps use that one?) I mark the end officially as Yo! MTV raps. Once things became a black thing that I didn’t understand, because I was not OG like Mr Robbie VanWinkle, I sort of retreated into my cassette collection. Nirvana worked for about a year, but Seattle sound was just a bunch of unwashed dope fiends preaching about ThaPooor. the whole social justice message thing is the greatest culprit. Even Dave Mustaine got all weird and anti nuke. Another… Read more »

Toddy+Cat
Guest
Toddy+Cat

“Seattle sound was just a bunch of unwashed dope fiends preaching about ThaPooor.”

Fantastic line, and oh so true….

Drake
Guest
Drake

There are son many other distractions for young people. 50 years ago music spoke to people. Now it’s just background noise to a movie or video game.

Read or watch the biographies of the big names from the 70’s. Rock and Blues weren’t diversions – they were crusades and obsessions.

A.B. Prosper
Guest
A.B. Prosper

Big music is an artifact of the mass culture of the industrial age. I’m rather glad its dying though and a far more diverse, individual music scene will be better, IMO

Lower barriers of entry is rarely a bad thing

This doesn’t mean the music of the past was bad, not at all but that does mean a bigger idea space, actual diversity in its positive meaning and a lot more opportunities to avoid Entartete Kunst or enjoy it if that is what you are into

Tax Slave
Guest
Tax Slave

I would like to recommend the biography of Soviet composer Dmitri Shostakovich titled “Testimony” by Solomon Volkov. It came out in the West while the Iron Curtain was still intact and there was debate on this side about its validity. https://www.amazon.com/Testimony-Memoirs-Shostakovich-Solomon-Volkov/dp/087910998X Shostakovich worked in the circles of the Soviet elite in St. Petersburg, was close friends with Marshall Zhukov and even had a personal encounter with the mustachioed tyrant himself. Stalin, who fancied himself a music critic wrote a critique of Shostakovich’s opera Lady Macbeth of Mtensk that was devistating. He thought surely he was destined for the Gulag. The… Read more »

Vic P
Guest
Vic P

I highly, highly recommend a book by Nigel Cliff called “Moscow Nights”. Van Cliburn, a masterful classical pianist from a small Texas town, travels to Moscow during the height of the Cold War and wins a Soviet sponsored international piano competition and becomes a national idol – in Soviet Russia. It’s not just about a classical piano player, it has a lot of Cold War history during the period of time when nuclear war seemed inevitable. Shostakovich plays a minor role in the book also, being one of the judges of the Tchaikovsky Piano Competition. A very good read.

Member

When I really, really need solace, I put on some of Mozart’s chamber music. Works every time.

Al from da Nort
Guest
Al from da Nort

J S Bach too. Incredibly intricate note combinations. Somehow connected to the brain waves sometimes.

thud
Guest

I still have soft spot for The Ramones, Johnny in particular.He was an America loving unashamed righty and later brought a young Marine CJ into the band too, someone of the same political persuasion I believe. They were a band that made this Brit dream of America.

Tully
Guest
Tully

Ugh, The Ramones. Worst. Band. Ever!

thud
Guest

For you perhaps,me and others not so much.For a working class white guy surrounded by motown and disco loving contemporaries it was the perfect music for a difficult time here in the U.K. 4 white guys playing simple fun tunes at breakneck speed….what was there not to love.

Tully
Guest
Tully

For me it’s mostly Joey Ramone’s super annoying singing voice. The lame guitar playing didn’t help either but I’m willing to chalk that up to having higher standards than the average joe due to being a player myself. But mostly Joey Ramone’s dreadful singing.

thud
Guest

As a guitarist then you should appreciate his style was unique and quite difficult to reproduce especially in a concert setting and yes I do play myself but one mans meat etc.

Tully
Guest
Tully

Unique? Maybe. Difficult? Uh, no. No it wasn’t. Maybe reproducing the sound, due to Johnny favoring those crappy Mosrite guitars, but technique, or should I say lack thereof? Not in the slightest for anyone even halfway competent.

thud
Guest

yet somehow he features in all top guitarist polls…..not bad for only halfway competent, I’ve never counted shredding or blazing away at scales as anything other than dull and yes I find that reasonably easy but you don’t rate him and I do but that’s fine room for all I guess, enjoy whatever it is you like.As an aside a label here just re released a single I recorded when 19….now that has some shite playing on it!

Tully
Guest
Tully

Lol!

notsothoreau
Guest
notsothoreau

I saw them live at at club in Portland. They played non stop, with just a brief break to say “1..2…3..4” between songs. It was impressive, although I can’t say I’m a big fan.

DLS
Guest
DLS

I was at a trivia event recently, and was amazed when the 20 somethings at my table knew the oldies better than me. I spent a lot of time in Israel over the last decade, and all the bars are filled with young people listening to music from the 70-90s. I always tell my kids that if you can’t identify at least 3 instruments, it’s not music. They are teenagers and like a lot of the older pop/rock music. Unfortunately, they also like a lot the the current jungle boogie, and I don’t mean Kool and the Gang.

Severian
Guest

I listen to Top 40 radio on my commute, for sociological reasons. I’ve heard every one of those songs in your link. We’re screwed. The goal seems to be to give our entire society Borderline Personality Disorder — everything is either great or terrible in these songs; “emotions” are either cranked-to-eleven or idling-in-neutral. Even throwaway 80s cheese like “Careless Whisper” has an emotional depth to it that makes it sound like it was recorded on Mars. “Guilty feet have got no rhythm.” Ok, if you say so, Grandpa, but…. what is this “guilt” you speak of?

Toddy+Cat
Guest
Toddy+Cat

Yes, a lot of the stuff I dismissed as tripe back in the 70’s and 80’s sounds pretty good now. And some of the stuff that was supposed to be risque back in the 60’s, like Mick Jagger’s song “Let’s Spend the Night Together” sounds almost quaintly romantic these days.

Severian
Guest

One of my favorite old Beach Boys tunes, “Wouldn’t it be Nice?”, is incomprehensible to modern listeners. “You know it’s gonna make it that much better /When we can say goodnight and stay together.” Lolwut?

Anonymous White Male
Guest
Anonymous White Male

“Justin Timberlake may be very talented as a singer, but no one is confusing him with Frank Sinatra.” But, Justin Timberlake is not really a singer, is he? He is really a song-and-dance-man. We can thank MTV for the reemergence of the S & D man. Once music started being marketed with the visual overwhelming the auditory component, the equation changed. Young people needed something to watch in tandem with what they were hearing. Sure, music has always had a visual component. Concerts. Night Clubs. TV shows. The Beatles even had “music videos” like Hard Day’s Night or stylistic interpretations… Read more »

anon
Guest
anon

“Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life” Oscar Wilde

ifrank
Guest
ifrank

Oscar’s life was a work of Art.

Ivar
Guest
Ivar

Donald O’Conner or Justin Timberlake……hmmmmm.

Chazz
Guest
Chazz

Related: Over on Zero Hedge this morning they report on the chapter 11 filing for the largest radio conglomerate in the US.

Drake
Guest
Drake

Good. So many times I’ve been driving home listening to the radio – get far enough away I have to change stations – only to hear the exact same songs again.

George Orwell
Guest
George Orwell

In the future, our entire pop culture will be indistinguishable from an Apple commercial.

black Man
Guest
black Man

Even as recent as the 80s, R&B had great lyrics and spoke about love in a meaningful way. Now all we get are vulgar renditions of a teenager’s fantasies. Thank heavens for streaming services

George Orwell
Guest
George Orwell

How dare you denigrate a fine piece of music like “Smack mah bitch up.”
/sarc

black Man
Guest
black Man

Damn!

Toddy+Cat
Guest
Toddy+Cat

Very true. But Black music went down the blind alleyway of Rap, and it just can’t seem to gets itself out. Even if you like Rap, as a genre, it’s over forty years old, and any genre will pretty much be mined out in that length of time. As to why this is, I have no idea, but it certainly hasn’t helped the American music scene.

notsothoreau
Guest
notsothoreau

One of my mom’s favorite records was Ray Charles’ two country albums (mostly Hank Williams songs). I think the problem these days is no melody. People want to be able to SING a song. You can’t do that with most of the current music. And I still don’t understand why rap is popular, other than you don’t need much talent to do it.

They have done all they can to drain our society of beauty.

Rod1963
Guest
Rod1963

Paul Joseph Watson has a nice youtube video that goes with this.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IP0wuwJBdMI

MikeW
Guest
MikeW

When I turned 40 I discovered the Blues, with it’s many sub-genres and even an occasional laugh:
https://youtu.be/x0BMeRicuPk

Donzie
Guest
Donzie

American pop music of the 1950-70s was a tremendous force for U.S. soft power. The songs reflected a human nature and a drive that was lacking from most non-British pop. It was cool to listen to the American pop. Foreigner educated here became strongly attached to the American music that was popular during there time here. Having spent much of my career in E. Asia I can attest to this power. What a terrible thing to piss this away. As we can see among the newly arrived “youths” of Europe, anybody can do rap, it takes talent to make music.

Spud Boy
Guest
Spud Boy

I can’t stomach Rap and Hip Hop, yet you can’t avoid it if you attend any modern sporting event. At a recent charity tennis event, they insisted on blaring terrible music on every change-over and often between points in a game.

LineInTheSand
Guest
LineInTheSand

I went to a yoga class (for the purpose of hitting on the ladies) and the instructor played rap throughout the class. A yoga class! And I live in a conservative state.

Larry R Kephart
Guest
Larry R Kephart

I’m with you and Bruce Willis’s character in “The last boy scout”

Milo: You think you’re so fucking cool, don’t you? You think you’re so fucking cool. But just once, I would like to hear you scream… in pain…

Joe Hallenbeck: Play some rap music.

james+wilson
Guest
james+wilson

The incubator of genius is provincialism, always has been. Art, literature, music, even politics. Universalism suffocates genius.
A few decades of European Union will undo ten centuries of advance.
The great majority of Aferican genius happened under the watch of segregation. Great Jewish musicians were usually raised in ghettos. What did Paganini experience as a child in 18th century Genoa other than what Genoa offered? On and on.
The great political thinkers of our day are waaaay off the reservation.

Kodos
Guest
Kodos

I’ve been enjoying the comments on this throughout the day. One other thing I think of is that Quincy Jones interview everyone made fun for a few weeks ago did have some smart elements among the craziness. At one point he laments that younger musicians don’t actually study music anymore. Lots of that “corny” stuff from the old days people have been talking about here–Mancini, Herb Alpert, Sinatra, the Beach Boys–had lots of craftsmanship to it. There were smart people who knew about arranging and harmony behind this stuff. Today so much stuff is literally “written” on a computer. They… Read more »

Toddy+Cat
Guest
Toddy+Cat

Quincy is a raving loon, but he still knows his music. Always did.

TomA
Guest
TomA

Meaningful music is often the product of individual genius (or an ensemble of similar exceptional talents). Perhaps the dearth of good music is a manifestation of the absence of genius in modern music. In my view, good music inspires and reinforces creative thinking. Conversely, I have long contended that rap music actively destroys brain cells because it encodes simplistic repetitive mind states.

Member

Rock ‘n’ roll’s been going downhill ever since Buddy Holly died

Karl McHungus
Guest
Karl McHungus

When I was in HS just about all of my money went to buying albums. Now days I pay almost $0 for music; only buy stuff I hear on the local jazz station, that isn’t available online. Have almost 2TB of music now, mostly jazz with a large amount of rock. In my online journeys have encountered so much beautiful and unusual music. An album of Byzantine music made with replica instruments from the era; Balinese temple chants, etc. Have a decent system to play it on too. So I could give two shits about the current state of the… Read more »

ifrank
Guest
ifrank

“That’s another thing that may be plaguing pop culture in general and pop music in particular. When I was a teen, your music said something about you because you felt a connection to the band. In the sterile transactional world of today, no one feels an attachment to anything, There’s no sense of obligation to buy or listen to their latest release. Supporting a type of music or a specific act is no longer a part of kid’s identity. The relationship is now as sterile as society.” The same is true for sports. Why should I root for one professional… Read more »

Anonymous White Male
Guest
Anonymous White Male

Someone once told me that their are an infinite number of possible musical compositions. I thought about this and realized, while it may be mathematically true, there are not an infinite number of GOOD musical compositions.

Ryan
Guest
Ryan

Digital technology has allowed music and music making to proliferate to a level far beyond what was possible in the era in which you truly needed a studio to make a decent song. The result, I think, is that modern music is some of the best music ever made (some of, no one’s ever topping Mozart). The problem is hardly anyone has ever heard any of it. We don’t yet have a good system for making a taxonomy of new music and getting individuals the best of the styles they enjoy. Popular music is the shit pumped out by the… Read more »

Economic Man
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Economic Man

I owe you for introducing me to “Tomorrow Belongs To Me”. Got a good laugh when I looked it up. The version you had at the end of last week’s podcast was good, too. I read an interview years ago with John Lydon, and he mentioned how important it is for musicians to have strong roots. Kind of ironic, given that the Sex Pistols were one of the most manufactured bands of all time, but the idea has some merit. I like EDM, but it’s always amusing to me that an atomized, deracinated people would end up listening to beep-boop… Read more »

Saml Adams
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Saml Adams

Ironically, my assignment at 10 am sharp tomorrow (I’ve blocked my work calendar for 15 minutes) is to obtain 4 tickets for the “Arctic Monkeys” for my 16 year old daughter and her friends when they go on sale Apparently these particular monkeys are the most significant thing to hit alternative rock in the last decade…or something….wish me luck.

Jay Karknee
Guest
Jay Karknee

Interesting post especially since I just subscribed to Sirius. The best 59 bucks I’ve spent in a long time. Oldies, Sinatra, great American songbook, the whole shebang. My favorite is the Opera channel. What a rich, wonderful experience. I have the Opera on while watching MLB pre-season (muted). Given that most operas are about as long as a typical MLB game it’s a great fit. I wish all of us could rediscover the beauty created by our (European) ancestors. What a marvelous patrimony.

Member

Watch this to the end, if you haven’t seen it, or even if you have. It’s fun as hell. I’m a gen-x’er. So, I grew up in that perfect in-between age where the Golden Age movies were still staples year-round, but also as rock was ascending and R&B/hip-hop/pop was getting started. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1F0lBnsnkE The thing Z doesn’t really say, maybe he doesn’t have kids I don’t remember, is that kids today benefit tremendously from the Silents, Boomers and Gen-X’ers in terms of music. We play music that spans hundreds of years, and we have it all at our fingertips. Our KIDS… Read more »

thekrustykurmudgeon
Guest

if record labels wouldn’t sign people who didn’t write there own music – the quality of music would go up.

D&D Dave in the Bubble
Guest
D&D Dave in the Bubble

I have Sirius XM in my car. My playlist when I am alone covers 60’s-80’s with a mellow channel and channels called Classic Vinyl and Classic Rewind. I have one playlist set up for my teen daughter with all the channels of new pop music from today. The other day, I had on my USB plug-in (about 250 songs) when my daughter gets in the car after dance school. The song that comes on is “Magic Carpet Ride” by Steppenwolf. She sits down, we drive off and after about 30 seconds, she is tapping her foot and bouncing her legs… Read more »

SNE
Guest
SNE

I don’t really know if this is quite accurate. The current pop music seems to be dominated by sub-moronic ghetto blacks and hispanics rapping about selling drugs, long as it has been, probably at least a decade now. The number 1 viewed music video on Youtube is Daddy Yankee’s Despacito at an absolutely mind-boggling 4.9 BILLION. Whip Whip/Nae Nae is basically this generation’s Kriss Kross one-hit-wonder song. 1.5 BILLION views. This poison has never been viewed by more people. Worrying about album sales and downloads and all that is a bit beyond the point. This is poison in the well,… Read more »

Member

J.S. Bach appeals to the brain
Pop & Rock to the emotions.
Early Rap to the gut.
It currently is a series of edited farts
One wonders what is next.

Guest
Guest
Guest

There is a gentleman on YouTube who goes by the name EMGColonel. He makes available recordimgs going from about 1899 to the mid fifties. I very much enjoy the early stuff, and it served as a welcome respite from being acquainted with the antisocial endeavours of swarthy swashbucklers and the trivial concerns of decorative women.

Zeroth Tollrants
Guest
Zeroth Tollrants

I can’t tolerate the “I love jazz,” crowd.

That’s a bottom line go-to for me.

sirlancelot
Guest
sirlancelot

Insanely late to the party here but noticed the z-man and I have the same taste in music although probably not too much of a mystery since only have a couple of years on our host.