December 31, 2009 by A.C. Rhodes
your musical highs and lows? Be as loving and brutal as you wish.
Category: Question of the Week
Wish I could participate…but I’ve been in the hillbilly music side of it.
The best and worst was the whole egalitarian nature of the Net. The great thing was that it allowed everyone to have their say, musically and in a muso vein. The terrible thing was that it allowed EVERYONE to have their say, musically and in a muso vein.
Dan Zanes saved my life when I was a new parent. Then Pete Yorn came along and made me feel less middle-aged by reinventing Bruce Springsteen with louder guitars and Dave Grohl drumming. Then Guided By Voices broke up and after ignoring them or finding them annoying for their entire existence, I decided to become obsessed with them.
Lows? I can’t think back further than Lady Gaga, the latest epitome of fascinating and despicable awfulness.
Highs: The fact that there are bands like The Thermals, McLusky/FOTL, Against Me, The Libertines, etc. reshaping punk and keeping things amazing after all these years. Seeing the majority of musicians finally warm up to digital/electronic elements and treat them as an artistic possibilty rather than a crutch. That, at the tail end of 2009, Rage Against the Machine could somehow crush Simon Cowell’s latest flavor of the month for U.K. Christmas No. 1.
Lows: Watching indie rock devolve from something parallel and similar to punk into some embarassing new flavor of adult contemporary. The deaths of Joe Strummer, Joey Ramone and George Harrison.
I’m kinda surprised that no one has mentioned the crash of many music magazines and newspapers as being among the decade’s lows.
Among the highs, I’d point to the success of the fans-supported label ArtistShare, the incredible burst of creativity and innovation in metal, and the growth of online music retailing at every level. And Gibson’s self-tuning guitar was pretty cool, even if it’s something few will ever own.
Highs: Staying clean for another year.
Lows: Free-lance pay.
Oh, you mean music? Yes, as JD Considine mentioned, the loss of so much print media is a low, but it comes with a high: the rise of the Internet as richer source of news and info about music. Now, if we can harness it a bit and get good research and reporting on these sites, and build a workable business model, journalism (music and otherwise) will be in good shape for the future. And it’s happening. Print publications are finally waking up and beginning to work on improving their online products. If they’d only pay better!
Best: Amadou & Mariam, Welcome to Mali
Best by a new band: The XX, The XX.
Biggest dud: Bob Dylan, Christmas in the Heart
Most overrated: Dirty Projectors: Itte Orca
The music of this decade, started on a high note in 2000 to September 10, 2001. Boy bands and girl groups continued that 1990s urban-late night pop flair. Also during that period nostalgia for the music of the ’70s and ’80s was reaching new heights from the late ’90s. To me it seemed this would last all decade. Then 9/11 occured and brought nothing but false happines and dreariness to pop and rock music. I disliked everything that came on the radio. Nelly, P!nk, Kanye West, White Stripes, Nickelback, and all the rest (I am talking about you Jonas Brothers and Hannah Montana!) sounded depressing, to raw and country, and backwards. This dislike for contemporary music, made me soon enjoy my parent’s music of the late ’60s to early ’90s. In that time period I discovered that there was so many kinds of rock music that could match my emotions and give me a feeling of happiness and hope (could P!nk do that, never!). Which, to sum up music of the 2000s, was pretty dull and boring (Never mind Cobain and Courtney, here’s the classics!). Another low point was MTV shifting from music to reality shows (dumb, dumb, dumb) while VH1 still plays music it sporadically showed new episodes of Behind the Music. I mean, there were so many other bands that show should have profiled (Kool & The Gang, Bob Seger, Jackson Browne, Carly Simon, Roxy Music, David Bowie, Jethro Tull, Kansas, Yes, The Kinks, Luther Vandross, the Spinners, Chirstina Aguleria, John Mellencamp, Supertramp, Cheap Trick, and other classic rock bands from the ’70s and ’80s.)
The only high point I can give for this decade is the advent of iTunes. This was a wonderful site to shop for music right at your own home. Overall, this decade in terms of pop music and culture, was so boring. Hope this new decade brings back that classic AOR sound from the ’70s and ’80s. (Cobain is LAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
Although it’s been a trend since forever, it seems like in the ’00s we reached a new mania of approaching sad-sack, melodramatic music as the epitome of music culture, while writing off anything that was happy or silly. Stupid.
I can’t decide if this is remarkably witty and dry satire or remarkably misguided sincerity.
My comment is my honest opinion. Maybe a bit satirical, but the truth of how terrible this decade made music. You don’t have to agree with me. That’s fine. I am just probably expressing, what some others feel about today’s music. I mean this decade also gave us American Idol and Disney rock. These two genres solidified corporate rock. The stars are soulless, interchangeable, boring, and targeted to a marked audience (girls and young boys). Matt, you may think corporate is Styx, Foreigner, Supertramp, Kansas, Heart, Boston, Journey, Meat Loaf, Chicago, Pat Benatar, REO Speedwagon, but the truth is that these bands toured their butts off for recognition and all formed in the garage. Still I am sticking to my opinion of this decade. It could have been better and sounded more late 70s AOR and late 70s/early 80s funk/soul. Just my opinion. You don’t have to agree. I am simply happy if you responded to this.
I have to agree with George on this. Except that I really don’t like any pop music from 1980 on. It has been horrible. I am still finding incredible music made in the 60’s and 70’s. For instance, Cold Blood. The current pop stars are boring all around, music and voices. It’s really a shame.
Thanks for the comment Maria. I do agree with you that some pop music of the 1980s was abominable, but for me good 1980s music was from 1980 to 1987. After ’87 pop music and rock got so terrible. Also (in my honest opinion) I can not stand grunge. You may like it, that’s fine, but for me, I feel it has been responsible for emo, bland teen pop, and other style of the past decade. Reason being is that I can’t stand the grunge guy’s voices and plue I think Nirvana is highly overrated. You don’t have to agree to this, but I am just expressing my opinion. The cloest thing I can get to alt rock is 1970s punk music. Again just throwing my opinion out there. You don’t have to agree or you may that’s just fine.
That’s cool and I respect your opinion. I am not really into grunge either. My favorite rock time is mid 60’s to mid 70’s. It’s incredible music that just isn’t made anymore. Today’s music is so boring! Everyone has their own opinion and that is fine. 😉
Thanks for the comment Maria. I want to know your opinion. Do you like Rush, Styx, Heart, REO Speedwagon, Kansas, Pat Benatar, Supertramp, Foreigner, and Cat Stevens and Ted Nugent?
Travis – The men Who…
Rock and roll is about perspective, proportion and accidental reverance for romance. Timeless music is that which can be handed off to one’s children without fear of rejection as “dated” and “without relevance”.
Like everyone else in Britain I got snuck up on by the lads in Travis. For me, the first assault was “Rain on me” with it’s mournful hook of a chorus… before I knew it was addicted to that one line and didn’t know the next one (don’t you hate it when that happens). Then I saw the video for “Turn” on some late night Irish cable channel show and before I could say”Wha?” I had another straining vocal hook stuck in my mouth. I began to realise that the song “Driftwood” which had used the same exasperatingly sly access to my mind was also by Travis and the interest really began to pick up speed. It’s been, I admit, many a long year since a single band has excited me with a combination of quirk and quality and much longer than that since it was done with a single album… (yeah yeah, I know… it’s C.D. these days).
“So what does it sound like?”, you ask.
Well most of the frames of reference that I personally would give are probably just a little on the obscure side – comfortably lofged between Mort Shuman and Stackridge but in more renowned terms, I suppose it would not be an absolute stretch to see it as a bridge between “Rubber Soul” and “Pet Sounds”. I realise that this statement suggests unreachable pinnacles and risks opinions of the author that are none too kindly, but there ya have it. If you can listen to “Turn” without hearing Lennon then you haven’t heard much Lennon. If “Driftwood” couldn’t fit comfortably as an encore in your brain’s version of Brian Wilson’s reurrected stage show then “Smiley Smile” hasn’t found your ears yet. It’s best defined as pop music with a strong twist of angst, harmonious melody lines, laid atop strong sparse rythm tracks and understated instrumental breaks. There’s little in the way of “flash for flash’s sake”, and lots of stuff that sounds like well rehearsed first takes, rather than the tired eighty fifth attempt.
“The Man Who…” is an easy classic, not even a odds-on favourite, just a straight shoo-in. It’s working it’s way through the tracks with a platinum statue as unerringly as a ghost bent on vengeance. The band walked offstage at the Brit awards with everything but the wallpaper and no-one bitched about it afterwards. There’s an element, frighteningly obvious in all classics, of inevitability… Travis is an unavoidable success, both destined and doomed to a long and illustrious career in Music – not simply pop/rock but all the later strands and tangents that come along…. mock opera, concept album, massive stadium stage shows, drugs, underage girls, political statements and eventual break-ups… but the ride is a ong one and we will all follow it because the music will be so good.. so damnably, irresistably, automatically, EFFORTLESSLY good.
It’s just the chance we took, having never ever planned to fall in love.
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