Think Today’s Music Sucks? Read This–And Then Carefully Reflect on It.

This excerpt is from a much longer article in The Lava Lizard.  You might find yourself nodding in agreement or coming up with some kind of counter-argument.

[T]he primary reasons for the current state of the music industry are the lack of artist development, the dominance of visual artists and more talented acts deliberately dumbing down their music. As the landscape changes, labels will follow the trends that produce the largest revenue sources, even if it continues to lead us down the wrong path to a world of mediocrity. That is the nature of business.

Possibly.  But I’d also like to point out that people have always whined about how much the music of the day sucks balls since rock was born in the 1950s. 

I remember similar wails of woe:

–The early-to-mid 70s when one of the biggest songs in the world was “You’re Having My Baby” by Paul Anka and Odia Coates.

–The late 70s when the world was awash in disco nonsense.

–The middle-to-late 80s when the biggest-selling artists in the world were Huey Lewis and Whitney Houston.

–The middle-to-late 90s when we suffocated under Britney Spears, Spice Girls, NSync, Backstreet Boys et al.

In other words, there’s always been that layer of mass-apppeal popular music that’s only slightly less horrible than late-stage syphillis.  Today’s crap is no worse or less prevelant that yesterday’s crap.  

.  We’ll never live in a world where the masses embrace what you, me or anyone else considers to be “good” music.  There may be millions us “proper” music fans but there are BILLIONS of people who are mostly ambivilent to music and only care (a) if it has a good beat; (b) they can sing along; and (c) that it’s whatever else is listening to (they need the reassurance and validation for their choices.)

So stop complaining about how much you think today’s music sucks.  Best spend your time and energies looking for, savouring and sharing stuff that you like.  

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

6 thoughts on “Think Today’s Music Sucks? Read This–And Then Carefully Reflect on It.

  • July 17, 2013 at 2:46 pm
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    Agreed. There is so much awesome music today in Canada alone. I switch on CBC Radio 3 and hear talented artist after talented artist throughout the day. The nature of art is growth and change. How is it possible for music to die? Really. There are tons of great bands in your own town. Get out there. Listen to new music – you're gonna love it!

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  • July 17, 2013 at 2:58 pm
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    I would also add that it's the billion people that are the reason record chains and the music business as a whole are in decline. We reminisce about the glory days of going to our favourite record store and chatting with the oh so wise shop owner who would turn us on to something amazing. Yeah on a given day there were maybe two people like that showing up at the shop, the other 300-500 sales were by people who wanted that great Winey Houston/N'Sync/Britney song and had to buy the CD from the jerk at the counter who took their money with a look of disgust at their choice. It's no wonder when Napster came along,(and the leagal sites that followed,iTunes,and now streaming sites like Spotify and Rdio) these people would gobble up everything they wanted or only bought the single. Why wouldn't they? Technology has made it much more convenient for these people and all of us really, to get what they want and not even leave the house. So in the end our memories of the great Record Shops of yore, you have that stuck up bitch who likes Debbie Gibson to thank for it.

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  • July 17, 2013 at 4:09 pm
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    I completely disagree… if we're talking about "rock" music, there is definitely no where near the output that there was in the 90s – especially in Canada. Even the soft rock artists of the 90's (Matchbox20, GooGooDolls, Gin Blossoms, Counting Crows) rocked more than than most "indie" crap that gets passed off as modern rock. Seriously, someone needs to throw out the keyboards and buy these kids some distortion pedals…

    That said, I spend most of my "new music discovery" time focused on the folk / songwriter scene – definitely more vibrant than the rock scene these days.

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  • July 17, 2013 at 4:11 pm
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    I completely disagree… if we're talking about "rock" music, there is definitely no where near the output that there was in the 90s – especially in Canada. Even the soft rock artists of the 90's (Matchbox20, GooGooDolls, Gin Blossoms, Counting Crows) rocked more than than most "indie" crap that gets passed off as modern rock. Seriously, someone needs to throw out the keyboards and buy these kids some distortion pedals…

    That said, I spend most of my "new music discovery" time focused on the folk / songwriter scene – definitely more vibrant than the rock scene these days.

    Reply
  • July 18, 2013 at 1:01 am
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    CFNY (now the Edge 102.1) used to countdown the top 86 albums of 1986, top 87 of 87 and when we got into the 90's it was the top 102 of 1994 ect… There were some seriously great artists like Peter Gabriel coming in at 80 something….today they countdown the top 25 albums of the year. That says more than I ever could about the sad state of music today. There are done good bands/albums but they're few and far between.

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  • July 18, 2013 at 3:08 am
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    I agree with searching for and savouring the music you like. The people that whine about how there is no more good music would rather have their music handed to them. There's no law saying you can go back in time to find music either. On the otherside of the coin, although regional scenes are thriving, commercial music is ubiquitous, and nauseatingly so. If it isn't formulaic visually oriented pop, it's performerless music like EDM and dubstep. I also find it disconcerting that chirpy folk-oriented rock like Mumford & Sons is the dominant force. Rock'n roll will never die. Locally there are rock bands a plenty. Commercially there are still The Foo Fighters, etc. But unfortunately the roles are reversed…instead of rock stars, we have corporate sponsored musicians.

    Reply

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