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Music Just Isn’t What It Used To Be! Or Is It?

Transistor2Roughly put, if you want to listen to brand-new, top-quality music, you won’t find much of it on commercial radio – that is, the so-called Top 40 songs. Sure, exaggeration promotes understanding, but – apart from a few exceptions here and there – I’m not that far off, am I? Well, at least not if you expect more from your music than mere entertainment.

If you need to feel music on a deeper level, you’ll have to do some research! Music with depth and longevity isn’t as openly visible/audible as it used to be. In the '60s and the '70s the charts were very different from today’s charts. To a large extent, the majority of the commercially successful songwriters were much more ambitious creatively speaking, whether it was the music or the lyrics, and regardless of genre (Bob Dylan, The Beatles, The Byrds, The Beach Boys, The Bee Gees, Marvin Gaye, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Abba, The Eagles, Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne, etc. - the list goes on and on). These artists often had a political message, or possessed a reflective introspection in keeping with the times – and even when the song was “just another love song”, at least it was an eloquently written love song (a great example hereof is Motown). Even the party anthems had a certain emotional depth and warmth to them (Abba’s Dancing Queen, Bee Gees’ Stayin’ Alive, K.C. & The Sunshine Band’s That’s The Way I Like It, etc.) that are sorely lacking in many of today’s club hits.

So, it’s quite understandable that a lot of mature/older people, who listen to the radio these days, mourn the loss of great music as they knew it back then. One sees their comments all over the internet, in reviews on Amazon and the likes, and they’re basically saying “All of today’s music is crap – what happened?” Now, it would be too easy to merely dismiss such negative comments as “coming from a bunch of grumpy old-timers!” It’s important to keep in mind that older age groups discovered their favorite music by listening to the radio in the '60s and the '70s, and that the standard set by the artists of the day was indeed very high, resulting in numerous classics, both singles and albums.

Therefore it’s no wonder that older generations of music lovers have become disillusioned with contemporary radio charts and playlists, concluding that “Today’s music sucks!” That said, it’s too bad that the impression they get from listening to the radio is misleading. If only they knew where to look, they’d realize that there’s still an abundance of excellent music to be found out there. For those who really want to stay updated about contemporary music/the latest album releases, monthly music magazines like Mojo, Uncut and Record Collector are indispensible. I read these magazines faithfully, almost religiously, every month, because their reviews and articles provide priceless information about current music, much of which you won’t hear on the radio – music which digs deeper and aims higher than your average pop music. And there’s plenty of it. And you’ll find it right here, too: on volt-and-volume.com!

Posted by Thomas Thomsen on Monday, December 24, 2012
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