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melahide

"Todays music vs. "classics"

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Hi,

 

was just wondering if anyone can relate to my "experience". Well.. my Apple Music account is always trying to suggest musicians/groups to me I might like. The last couple of days I listened to a couple of suggestions - mostly were Singer/Songwriters... I have to admit... I don´t listen to the radio, am more or less stuck with music of the 50th, 60th, Folk, Irish Music, Irish Singer/Songwriters, Austrian Singer/Songwriters, Austrian Indie Rock, Beatles, Beach Boys - you name it....

Now, I gave "Apple" a fair chance... No, I´m not gonna say I was "shocked" but I was...devastated... :)... for one hour I listened to a couple of songs, released in the last couple of years... and they all sounded the same. All started off with just a guitar or piano, then they were "builded up" (some more instruments were added) ... most of the singers did not had any character or emotions in their voice... had nothing to say. Most of them used a Voxcoder and stuff like this... the only suggestion from Apple I was happy with was "Mumford & Sons" ... already knew then, attened a concert couple of years ago...

AFter this experience I asked Apple to suggest me some "Folk music" upon my likes and dislikes.. huh.. Bob Dylan, Journeymen, Doc Watson.. .Simon & Garfunkel... so... Apple can do it If they want to...

Even finding a "setlist" for a concert get´s more and more complicated. My Band is playing gigs every now and then, most of the times we do original songs... but we always include some cover songs as well. I´m always the guy saying... "hey, let´s play two unknown songs of the Beach Boys and the Beatles, a Chuck Berry tune, Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, Gershwin, one song by the Hollies... Neil Young.. ... " the "more" modern stuff I find worth playing is  Damian Rice and Glen Hansard (Irish Singer/Songwriters)... and the closest stuff that could be heard on the radio or so was something like "I wish I was a punkrocker" by Sandi Thorm and "Read all about it" by Emeli Sande... at our last concert I was asked about 10 times "can you play something by Adele??"... I don´t really like her music... but she made a cover of a Dylan Song, so we played the Dylan-tune and told the audience, it´s by Adele... HA... audience was happy.

I always think... there are soooo many great songs out there... I mean... "The weight" by "the Band", Dylan, Cash and so on... that´s something people recognice ... and I always ask myself... why should I waste my time on something that´s not good. I mean... if the folk asks for something mind-blowing: Play Good Vibrations. If they ask for something heart-melting... play "She´s leaving home"... if they ask for something to Dance.. play Twist and Shout, Roll over Beethoven... still most of the people know this tunes... well, they would not listen to it voluntarily, but they listen to it in concerts... no wait... there are always some people shouting "play adele "or "play Nothing else matters".... and so on...

So - in my opinion music created today does not stand a chance against the "classics" ... what do you think about it?

 

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I don't listen to much of today's music. I make my own playlists from my physical CDs. The music I listen to doesn't get played on the radio. It doesn't seem that today's music has the heart or sincerity that Damien Rice, Bob Dylan, The Beach Boys, etc. have. 

 

I can't speak from experience but if you're covering a song you really don't care for, don't want to sing, how good is it really going to sound? Just a thought.

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Of course it's a matter of personal preference - and my personal preference is that I've liked a lot of the older music you mentioned in your post, whereas I have no real opinion about Adele... but anyway.  I do like some of today's music, I don't think all the talent has been lost, but what I've noticed is, I can be listening to the radio in a store that's playing modern hits, and like what I'm hearing, but then when I turn the car radio on to listen to the same music more clearly, I'm disappointed.  The songs just don't have the same listening power; they don't grab me anymore.  On the other hand, I can turn on 60's Radio and listen for an hour or more, and I'll be enchanted with almost everything they play.  Perhaps the worst of today's music uses too many effects and electric stuff, when a person with a real instrument, a real voice, and real passion is what's really needed?

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If you put me back in the 60's and had me listen to the radio, sure I would hear what would come to be the classics of today, but I would also hear a lot of not so good stuff that would fade into obscurity.  I think that's where people fall into the "music was so much better back then" trap. The good stuff gives them a sense of nostalgia and the bad stuff is often forgotten. Not everything playing on the radio today will be remembered even 10 years from now,  but the best of this era will remain in rotation. 

 

Every era has good artists, you just have to endure the not so good in search of the best, and in the case of 60's music that was determined a long time ago.

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3 hours ago, LAYLA said:

Of course it's a matter of personal preference - and my personal preference is that I've liked a lot of the older music you mentioned in your post, whereas I have no real opinion about Adele... but anyway.  I do like some of today's music, I don't think all the talent has been lost, but what I've noticed is, I can be listening to the radio in a store that's playing modern hits, and like what I'm hearing, but then when I turn the car radio on to listen to the same music more clearly, I'm disappointed.  The songs just don't have the same listening power; they don't grab me anymore.  On the other hand, I can turn on 60's Radio and listen for an hour or more, and I'll be enchanted with almost everything they play.  Perhaps the worst of today's music uses too many effects and electric stuff, when a person with a real instrument, a real voice, and real passion is what's really needed?

 

When you listen to a 60's radio station, you're mostly hearing the good stuff from the decade, and not all the crap that came out then too - and there was plenty of it. :)

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Yeah, you are right. There was a lot of crap in the 1960s ... even Dylan had an Album with no brilliant tunes.... But I´m not referring to "classics" only... I am well familiar with the albums of many artists of the 60 by owing their whole cataloge on vinyl and even some of the "not so familiar" songs strike my heart more then some songs that are played on the radio these days... and it´s not because I grew up in the 60th, I grew up in the 90th but somehow got "lost", musically.

But when I think about the last ... two decades of music (gosh... I got old) there was not much that became a "hit" that got stuck in my head. I never got close to acts like "Rhianna" or Beyonce or anything like this. I cannot get close with this music. Coldplay was/is good. Green day is still doin fine, but I grew up with them in the 90th so ... it does not count. Katey Perry sold many records and became a big star... but will their songs be "classics" someone will listen to in 20 years? OK ... the "hughest" star in the last couple of years was Adele... she has a brilliant voice, her songs are personal and good. Many people like their music, that´s obviouse... so maybe she can become "classic"... (still, her music is not really my cup of tea) ... :)

For me the "good music" played today are only some Indie-Groups.... but... for example...finding a folk singer or a Singer/Songwriter with something to say is difficult. Maybe there is someone out there and I havn´t found him or her yet :)   

 

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Not sure what your radio station options are in Austria, you might try streaming internet radio stations for some variety.   Seems like you may just be getting the 'pop' music (Adele, Rhianna, etc) rather than the indie rock bands.  There are some good ones out there, but you have to wade through the lousy ones to hear them! 

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4 hours ago, Mike B said:

Not sure what your radio station options are in Austria, you might try streaming internet radio stations for some variety.   Seems like you may just be getting the 'pop' music (Adele, Rhianna, etc) rather than the indie rock bands.  There are some good ones out there, but you have to wade through the lousy ones to hear them! 

 

Yeah, I do listen to indie rock/indie pop. And you are right, they will not be played on the mainstream radio stations in Austria, therefore the country is too small. And "Fm4" - the only radio station in Austria to play only "Indie" and "Alternative" cannot cover it all ... so Apples own "Indie Radio Station" is good

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Whilst I absolutely go along with the notion of people tending to think the old days were better due to selection bias, and that's definitely the overriding factor, there is something else at play here and that's the influence of marketing.  As time goes on, more and more the costs of producing music have disappeared dramatically, being largely replaced with the costs of promoting it which have spread dramatically.  People who want to sell are made increasingly minutely aware of exactly what gets picked to have a marketing machine thrown behind it, which is the main determinor of this kind of measure of 'success'.  The internet threw it all out of sync for a bit, allowing for a lot of windows of opportunity but these are being very busily sealed off today and the sheer sea of options is drowning out stuff that only a few years before might've stood out.  Which brings it all back to the marketing, and it's tighter and more aggressive than it's ever been as the architects of these systems learn those lessons.

So the more people hear the same kinds of things, the more they (somewhat reasonably) determine 'this is the thing they wanna hear' - not meaning the audience of listeners any more, so much as the audience of marketers guessing at (or increasingly, actively determining) what audiences want to hear.  The more homogenous it gets, the more homogenous it increasingly becomes.  Nowadays most of the big pop hits are written by only a very small group of people, and you'll have a ton of stuff trying to be the next big pop hits without necessarily succeeding to (to various degrees of influence).  That very likely has had an actual effect on the homogeny (and by extension, quality) of today's output compared to the output of the past.  Having said that, if you look beyond the charts and the big sellers, there's just as much variety out there as there's ever been.

And yeah, this is still a minor thing compared to the general skew of nostalgia.  I don't tend to do too well with it myself - I tend to stick with what I know a lot more than I should.

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Much of today's "hit" songs are written and produced by a small group of songwriters and musicians, including Max Martin & co., so it shouldn't be surprising that a lot of it sounds the same. And other musicians, in trying to be successful as well, often end up using the same formula. Not saying that they should be blamed, but that's one of the reasons. Another thing is that live instrumentation is missing from a lot of the music that has been made over the last two decades. Many of these songs are just "loud," in fact, the topic of loudness in music (loudness wars) is also blamed for removing the emotional aspect that people often connect with when listening to music.

However, as someone pointed out, there is good and bad music in every generation. It's just that marketing pushes the most popular songs onto the listening public, even if those songs might not necessarily be the best. It comes down to a matter of choice and taste. 

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On 7/7/2017 at 15:29, melahide said:

Hi,

 

was just wondering if anyone can relate to my "experience". Well.. my Apple Music account is always trying to suggest musicians/groups to me I might like. The last couple of days I listened to a couple of suggestions - mostly were Singer/Songwriters... I have to admit... I don´t listen to the radio, am more or less stuck with music of the 50th, 60th, Folk, Irish Music, Irish Singer/Songwriters, Austrian Singer/Songwriters, Austrian Indie Rock, Beatles, Beach Boys - you name it....

Now, I gave "Apple" a fair chance... No, I´m not gonna say I was "shocked" but I was...devastated... :)... for one hour I listened to a couple of songs, released in the last couple of years... and they all sounded the same. All started off with just a guitar or piano, then they were "builded up" (some more instruments were added) ... most of the singers did not had any character or emotions in their voice... had nothing to say. Most of them used a Voxcoder and stuff like this... the only suggestion from Apple I was happy with was "Mumford & Sons" ... already knew then, attened a concert couple of years ago...

AFter this experience I asked Apple to suggest me some "Folk music" upon my likes and dislikes.. huh.. Bob Dylan, Journeymen, Doc Watson.. .Simon & Garfunkel... so... Apple can do it If they want to...

Even finding a "setlist" for a concert get´s more and more complicated. My Band is playing gigs every now and then, most of the times we do original songs... but we always include some cover songs as well. I´m always the guy saying... "hey, let´s play two unknown songs of the Beach Boys and the Beatles, a Chuck Berry tune, Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, Gershwin, one song by the Hollies... Neil Young.. ... " the "more" modern stuff I find worth playing is  Damian Rice and Glen Hansard (Irish Singer/Songwriters)... and the closest stuff that could be heard on the radio or so was something like "I wish I was a punkrocker" by Sandi Thorm and "Read all about it" by Emeli Sande... at our last concert I was asked about 10 times "can you play something by Adele??"... I don´t really like her music... but she made a cover of a Dylan Song, so we played the Dylan-tune and told the audience, it´s by Adele... HA... audience was happy.

I always think... there are soooo many great songs out there... I mean... "The weight" by "the Band", Dylan, Cash and so on... that´s something people recognice ... and I always ask myself... why should I waste my time on something that´s not good. I mean... if the folk asks for something mind-blowing: Play Good Vibrations. If they ask for something heart-melting... play "She´s leaving home"... if they ask for something to Dance.. play Twist and Shout, Roll over Beethoven... still most of the people know this tunes... well, they would not listen to it voluntarily, but they listen to it in concerts... no wait... there are always some people shouting "play adele "or "play Nothing else matters".... and so on...

So - in my opinion music created today does not stand a chance against the "classics" ... what do you think about it?

 

 

 

 

Hi M

 

   I was once in a cover band that did 1/3 originals and finding cover songs that we liked along with what a crowd would like was a challenge...and yet not. Why? There are a gazillion songs out there to choose from. Now, to find the songs that you can pull off within your bands talent level can be a challenge. Since we were at the time a new band on the scene, we opted towards doing maybe 10-12 songs that were current and probably what other bands were doing...then we went off the beaten trail. Funny thing is, you find out that these songs that most other bands havent done or thought of doing are just as satisfying. Other bands that came out to see us started stealing songs off of our set list for their own.lol We used to do "No Matter What" by Badfinger (great song) Ziggy Stardust-Bowie and even Paranoid by Black Sabbath and "Blister in The Sun" by the Violent Femmes. Songs that weren't being played by the local cover bar bands, but suddenly became cool to do again after we did them. Heck, my last trio did "Wonderwall" by Oasis and got a huge response. Even a song like "Closing Time" by Semi-Sonic is obscure, but when we played it, funny, folks knew it enough to sing along with it. lol

 

   As far as finding new songs or as I like to say "new old songs" because there is enough undiscovered great songs of the last 30 years that should be covered by everyone to get this music more exposure, go to a site like CDBaby and explore the artists they have there. And they have alot of artists(new and old indie) in genre's of alot of styles. Even Amazon.com will give suggestions if you say click on the Beatles, they will direct you to other british invasion artists as well as maybe some newer types of post mercy beat era music. Sometimes asking what your friends are listening to can be a source. I like turning friends as well as strangers to hidden gems like The Posies-indie pop rock(cds" Frosting On The Beater" as well as "Dear 23") or folk-pop of the Weepies (cds "Say I Am You" "Happiness") or even early 90s grunge pop of The Flop (cds"Whenever You're Ready" "World of Today") or if you're into retro singer/songwriter, Elliot Smith is right there...an influence on me as well.

 

  Anyways..its great that you're playing originals out there...but if you're looking to fill the set with some covers..dont be too frightened to add a Ramone's song or even Lou Reed in the mix. Take chances!

 

cheers

R-N-R Jim

 

 

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I’ve heard this comparison made time and time again. One thing I’ve come to realize is that it’s not just older folks who think that songs from the past sound ‘better,’ I’ve met millennials and teens who say they prefer listening to songs that their parents enjoyed when they were kids themselves.
Still, I believe there are many good songs being made today, maybe just as much as bad songs were made in the past. The difference I think is that too much of today’s music relies on a hit-making ‘formula,’ resulting in, as you pointed out, a lot of the songs sounding the same. On top of that, marketing and promotion help to push certain types of songs to the top, so they end up being played more often and get most of the attention.
Also, a lot of it is digitized. The cost of producing music using acoustic instruments became prohibitive at some point, and the emergence of ProTools and other music production technologies made it cheaper. However, cheaper hasn’t meant better, so while it’s easier for people to create music, a lot of the output is just too digital. It’s little wonder why some artists have been turning back to using live instruments upon finding ways to reduce cost.

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Give it 20 years and a lot of today's music will be called classics.

(relative) quality + nostalgia = classic

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Hi Melahide,

I think it is just the way the world is now. Back in the day you had to be able to play, to be creative, no sampling nonsense, no made for money bands ( maybe the Monkees, but at least they had some catchy ditty's?) Everything is diluted now. Instant fame without doing the apprenticeship. It's ok, that's what is happening now. Same thing in the movie world, re-makes (Blade Runner though? Come on!) There are rays of hope, few and far between and long may they run.

As for music, I listen to The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Dr Feelgood and Devo. They bring me back to a time when people played and they played well.

Dan 

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On 7/7/2017 at 13:29, melahide said:

in my opinion music created today does not stand a chance against the "classics" ... what do you think about it?

On 11/3/2017 at 17:57, Felicia-Ann said:

it’s not just older folks who think that songs from the past sound ‘better,’

 

You're right - it ain't just older folks who think that way - just people who live within a very very narrow and restricted audio landscape.

 

Consumers are always led by fashion trends and marketing - this is not at all a new thing - but I am always shocked that those who claim to be musicians can be so blind and deaf to what is going on in the real worlds of contemporary music.

 

There is seriously marvellous and richly magnificent recorded music today that Apple will not easily be telling you about.

 

Richard Bona, for example.  Dial up some YouTubery on this dude and THEN try and substantiate absurd and ridiculous claims like "everything is diluted now" or "instant fame without doing the apprenticeship" or that "being able to play" only happened "back in the day".

 

For fuck sake take yourselves outside of the narrow mainstream pop marketplace.

Open your ears.

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It's maybe an age thing. The older you get you surround yourself with things that feel good, safe, things you understand. I'll keep listening to the music I enjoy but I'll keep an ear open for something different!

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