flightless hag

A chronicle of the adventures of birdwoman: a lonely, talentless freak who wanders the internet in search of entertainment.

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Location: Philly

I'm a 40-something married white female, survivor of weight watchers, avid reader of pulp. Dogs (not cats), extreme right (handed, not politics), ENTJ, alto, wanna-be knitter.

February 11, 2006

Music Diatribe

So the talking head on the radio this morning was spewing about the Grammies. He mentioned that there was “no good music being done now.” His proof was that the best rock album was U2, a band from the early 80’s, the top selling album now is Barry Manilow, and the top grossing touring acts, or 8 out of 10 of them, are all from pre-1990.

Set aside that the people who have the money to go to concerts are 35+, and that it’s very rare for our age group to have a new album to buy from one of our old favorites. Is there really no good “new” music?

The only band he said was “new” was Green Day. So, I’m going to take 1992 and on as his criteria for new.

Based on that, I’m going to list some bands that I think are making good music, some even making great music. And I’ll bet that the 2 people that read this (hi, Mom!) can add at least a few more.

First, the mid-nineties were a lot like the late sixties. You had a lot of bands who “burned out” – Nirvana, Sublime, and Blind Melon all lost their leads. Soundgarden, STP, and Rage Against the Machine all broke up. But I don’t think anyone can look at these bands and not realize each one of them is a “classic”. In fact, the classic rock stations round these parts already play this stuff.

Rock isn’t dead.

There’s Radiohead, who have consistently done well in Britain. They’ve inspired a whole troupe of bands, like Muse and the Decemberists. There’s Coldplay, the Doves, the Shins, the Dandy Warhols, Beck, Tori Amos, PJ Harvey, and all sorts of other “alternative pop” kinds of acts.

Another clunky genre is “alternative rock” with artists like System of a Down, the White Stripes, Incubus, and countless others, who are all multi-album hitters. Into the far reaches of rock, you have bands like Disturbed, Godsmack, Marilyn Manson.

The “classic rock” genre isn’t dead, either. The Darkness, Scissor Sisters, Queens of the Stoneage, Foo Fighters, Jet… all these acts pay homage to the greats of the past with truly rocking songs and even some kickin’ concept albums.

Soft rock is huge, with John Mayer, Jack Johnson, Duncan Sheik, Maroon 5, Goo Goo Dolls, Train, 5 For Fighting, and other mellow folks. And moving into electronic soft rock, there are huge world acts like AfroCelt Sound System, Zero7, Thievery Corporation, Air, Frou Frou, and countless others.

It’s not that there’s no good music being made. It’s that the execs have discovered the people they most want to sell to are 12 year olds. Tweens are not likely to buy good rock. They’re likely to buy pop, some of which is even good, like Kelly Clarkson. And that’s fine. But it’s transient, and in 10 years, no one will remember her. The good music that’s being made is in the “fringe.” It takes a little work to find it, but it’s well worth the effort.




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