Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Music Sucks These Days

I just wanted to throw that out there. I can't really imagine there's too many people who are going to disagree with me on that one, since music really does pretty much suck. I mean, it kind of sucks how much sucks. I wish music didn't suck today, but it does.

So, then the question becomes: who we can blame? Supposedly we're entering this awesome digital age when anyone can post their music and the masses will find the awesome stuff and support it and help make others aware of it. You know, that whole Web 2.0 shtick and the concept of word-of-mouth advertising. Sure, it sounds good on paper.

But it doesn't work.

Or at least it doesn't yet, but I'm not holding my breath either. Just like most of the other Web 2.0 stuff, I'm not motivated to go through and find the stuff that's worth finding, because it's a tiny fraction of the stuff that's out there. I mean, take my blog as an example. It's one of millions and there's nothing about it that makes it any more worth reading than most others, and it's significantly less worth reading that some others. At least, I write in full sentences, I guess. So, why would or should anyone find it? Answer: they wouldn't, nor should they.

Even worse, most of the stuff that the masses find and actually support is terrible. It's the exact same lowest common denominator stuff that plagues the worst of pop music today. Only a lot stupider and with a lower budget.

In the end, I still want to discover music through the radio or some other equally simple method. I like having someone picking the music for me and playing it and then telling me what it is. That works. It's a tried and true method. But, it has stopped working, because the radio stations can't seem to find anything new that's worth playing either.

I remember being in high school and listening to the radio. I still remember the first time I heard "Fell in Love with a Girl" by The White Stripes. I remember thinking that this bad was obviously incredibly interesting and intelligent and loving the idea that they went for such an incredibly garage band sound. Similarly, I remember hearing "Heavy Metal Drummer" by Wilco and and realizing I had just heard one of the most important things I would ever hear on the radio. I desperately needed to hear what else was on that album.

I remember similar experiences with The Strokes doing "Last Nite" and, going farther back, The Offspring's "The Kids Aren't Alright" and even Counting Crow's "Mr. Jones". All these songs just hit me like a ton of bricks when I first heard them on the radio. I knew, then and there, that I was listening to bands doing something really exciting.

Even more exciting to me was that these were all bands on major labels. Even as the rest of the populace was having to sit through the teen pop craze, I was still getting to experience excellent new music. Now, though, there is no excellent new music coming out of the major labels (no, emo doesn't count). They're still putting out the pop music I don't want to hear, but they're not supplying the rest of us with worthwhile music, and so we're not hearing it on the radio.

This seems crazy, but it feels like as much as 75% of the music I hear on the alternative stations is either from four or more years ago or it's from a band that broke out that long ago. That's about how long the drought has been on worthwhile new music, and I'm really starting to feel it.

I know the alternative music stations proudly proclaim their allegiance to new music, but there is no new music worth supporting as far as I can tell. I distinctly remember hearing a DJ being super excited about this upcoming song, only to then introduce it as "the first track off the Foo Fighter's new album, and it should please Foo Fighters fans because it sounds just like the Foo Fighters". Seriously, that's what they have as new music.

I mean, I guess playing Spoon, Modest Mouse, Muse and Interpol makes you alternative, but they don't count as new music. Not even their new stuff. I already know their music is good (well, at least Spoon and Interpol...). I want to hear something special, from someone I haven't heard before. But it doesn't exist as far as I can tell, because they certainly aren't playing it.

In conclusion, I just want to say what my favorite song/album from last year was. The song was Mrs. McGrath, as performed by Bruce Springsteen on his album We Shall Overcome. This song is something like, 500 years old! I'm serious. That was the best goddamn song of last year.

On a side note, I'm part Irish and that song is just about as Irish as you can get, so I might be a little biased. I wouldn't be surprised if it was in my blood to love the song, or something.

Anyways, that's the state of things. A song from time beyond memory, as performed by an artist that was popular in the eighties, was better than anything else that came out last year. And, to my knowledge, you couldn't hear it on the radio, either.

Well, maybe I'm just getting old. That is all.


No comments: