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December 31, 2003 - commentary
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December 31, 2003

 

                                                     

 

                                       Something a Bit Different

 

 

Normally I spout off and pontificate about political and social issues.  However, when I came home from a hard day at work, I sat myself down, opened a cold one, put on my headphones and began to listen to some music. 

 

I would dare say that there are few of you that would be reading this article that would know that at one time I had played in a Rock and Roll band. Oh yes, I was one of those long haired types, (although I was still pretty conservative in my views), that your folks warned you about.  Ah youth, how it IS truly wasted on the young.

 

However all of the above being said, or in my case revealed, (and for those that DO NOT believe this, just email me and I'll send a photo to prove this), I sat back as I had already mentioned and began to listen to some music, and I have come to the conclusion that today, what passes for music, pretty much stinks. 

 

Yes, there are some, and I repeat, some talented folks out there, but for the most part I find that all the music I hear today pretty much sounds the same.  This is to say that if one were to tell me that so and so played such and such a song one day, and that another band played it the next, heck Id never know the difference. I must say that today's music is pretty much packaged.

 

I have a co-worker, who, like myself, played somewhat professionally, and now has a studio wherein he produces music. And he likewise agrees with me.  Today record companies are not looking for a new sound, but for a sound that sounds like the other person from the other day.

 

So here I am kicking back and listening to old classic rock, classic country, and I have found that part of the problem to the packaging sound is that today's music simply does not paint a picture in the mind.

 

I cite here some interesting examples.

 

If you listen to "The Sounds of Silence" by Simon and Garfunkle (I hope I spelled his name correctly), the opening bars of the music alone begins to paint an image in the mind. It conveys a lonely place, perhaps on a street right after a light rain.  Then when one begins to listen to the lyrics, we find the lyrical poetic genius of Paul Simon, adding to the painting. As an artist would add color here or shadow there, Mr. Simon could create a powerful canvas in the mind.

 

There were many, many other artists that were capable of blending lyrics and melody to create these visions within ones own mind. Some were rockers, others were country western singers. But all had that ability to bring the listener to the place that they themselves had been to.

 

The second thing that I find with todays music is as I said is the point that the music companies look to package a sound.

 

During my time, my era (?), the record companies looked for a different sound.  One could tell the difference from, oh let's say, Jefferson Airplane and Jethro Tull. As soon as you heard a bar or two from either you could immediately identify who was singing and performing.  Each band had a distinctive sound.

 

It seems to me that record companies just look for the bottom line and I wonder how much they are interested in talent, and perhaps it would seem somewhat hypocritical of me to say profits over talent, considering my usual conservative views. But, I have to say, it appears to me that they have also abandoned the listener.

 

I am pretty sure that my folks probably said the same thing, and I will predict that somewhere down the road, my kids, will be saying the same in the future.  I suppose in this case it's all relative.

 

Rich

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