Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Pop music has gone to hell

I'm sitting here, copying more CDs into iTunes. At the moment, I am working on a two-disc set: The Beatles/1967-1970

As iTunes says, their genre is "Pop". Really, they crossed a number of musical lines, so that's not a fair characterization. Even so, they were the 1960s equivalent of a boy band. So think about anyone you like today, and then let's take a look at what this band turned out in a mere three years (or four, if we count from 1/1/67 through 12/31/70). Here's what we find in this range:

Strawberry Fields Forever
Penny Lane
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
With a Little Help from My Friends
Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
A Day in the Life
All You Need is Love
I Am the Walrus
Hello, Goodbye
The Fool on the Hill
Magical Mystery Tour
Lady Madonna
Hey Jude
Back in the USSR
While My Guitar Gently Weeps
Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
Get Back
Don't Let Me Down
The Ballad of John and Yoko
Old Brown Shoe
Here Comes the Sun
Come Together
Octopus's Garden
Let It Be
Across the Universe
The Long and Winding Road

I know that this was a very special group, but that's not all there was to it. Back in their day, bands were comprised of musicians. Wow, what a concept! I'm not sure what many of today's group are comprised of.

I hesitated to even post this. As the years slip by, I don't want to sound like an old man, griping about what the kids listen to nowadays... especially not before I really become an old man! In the end, I decided I'd rather take my chances and speak my mind (unlike my usual shyness). ;)

Really, look at that list. Think there's anyone in the business today who could put out so many songs of quality? Songs that are worth listening to over 30 years later? I can't think of anyone.


Will said...

It's funny, Jess, in both the classical/opera world that I am deeply into and in the Rock (more recently) I am hearing some similar variations on "they don't make them like they used to." The Beatles were intensely creative and like all of the very greatest artists, they began by riding the fashions and then started MAKING the fashions.

I always liked the Rolling Stones, particularly because I know Mick's going to be out there shaking it while they're trying to nail down the lid. I really admire that about him. But they frequently FOLLOWED The Beatles, they didn't set the agenda. If the Beatles did something out on the edge, you know six months later the Stones would do something like it, something that descended from it.

Jess said...

Even the Stones (and I was never a huge fan of theirs, although I like some of their stuff) are entitled to respect for having their own sound. Their work endures. There were many such bands and artists back in the 60s and 70s. Just off the top of my head--the Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Elton John, Billy Joel, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, the Eagles, and the list goes on and on. It's not a matter of whether you (or I) like particular bands. My point is that these groups/people made a lasting impact. Is there anyone of their caliber today? Actually, I'm sure there is, but the recording industry isn't structured to encourage such people. It has so refined it's "hit making" that it keeps the really creative people out.

Will said...

Understand, I love the Stones. Absolutely no disrespect intended. It's just that the Beatles transcended the normal arc of a truly successful career and made it up to that rarefied level where thay were the ones defining and creating the style in a way that other great musicians didn't. I can remember very strongly the excitement that surrounded the release of any new Beatles album--people took off from work or cut classes just to be at the record outlets as early as possible the first day of a record's release. The bands and singers you list were all really great--the Beatles were just in a class by themselves.

Knottyboy said...

Now don't get me wrong, I know what great musicians these guys were/are [for those left] but I have never liked the beetles. Ok now you can kill me. I even know every bloody word to every bloody song since my parents were into them. My partner loves the bajesus out of them. Me...not so much. I'm almost 40 and my taste in music is very jazzy, Erasure, Cure, Smiths, Ella, Billie, Lena and Sarah.

One thing that I will give you on a big silver platter is the love of music. Pure and simple. Its like my form of sports talk... God did you hear those guys last night. Yeah OMG they should stick to studio singing. I know exactly what you mean, no stage presence at all...

Anyway, WOO HOO iPod!!!
go bears woo hoo :)

Greg said...

Everyone that I think of who could comprise a list such as this is from the '80s or earlier: Kate Bush, Elton John, Pink Floyd, Ray Charles. Pop music today is more about celebrity than it is about substance and quality. I guess that's why I don't buy a lot of new music.

Matt_Sweet said...

I fully anticipate that Clay Aiken will go down in history with his visionary sound.

Mmmm... Clay...

Andy said...

Well, not just that, but John Lennon and Paul McCartney could actually *write* music; like, they thought up their own songs. If you handed Britney Spears a pencil and a blank sheet of staff paper, what do you think she'd do with it? Probably write "I [heart] Kevin" all over it. (Or maybe "Ashlee sux.")

I mean, is "Let It Be" not the most amazing song ever?

Dantallion said...

I love a broad cross section of music, and I couldn't agree with you more about bands from that time actually being musicians, and it showing through in their craft. My personal fave is Yes. They've been at it over 37 years, and their STILL releasing albums - real musicians writing real music. Puts a lot of what's out there to shame.

Wayne said...

*blink* *blink*

Pop = Ashlee Simpson?!

*cough* *cough*


The beatles... Hrm... I dunno... I never really become a fan of them... Even in my singing class, I was given some songs to choose from... I picked Elton John over the beatles.....

I dunno... I think it has something to do with their hair style.