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How Pop Music Stopped


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So I'm at a leading Stockholm rock club. Now normally when I travel to Europe, I don't go to rock clubs. Aside from classical, I look for techno or other indigenous and current stuff. But this was the Brooklyn Festival. I was drawn like a moth to a flame.

 

So what did they play while we were waiting for the band to take the stage? (OK, to be sure, the band was the Hold Steady: a reactionary band with a rear-guard style. But still.)

 

The Beatles: "Come Together"

The Faces: "Ooh La La"

Bruce Springsteen: "Born to Run"

Talking Heads: "Girlfriend Is Better"

LCD Sound System: "All My Friends" (OK. THAT's contemporary. But it sounds like New Order.)

Thin Lizzy: "The Boys Are Back in Town"

 

I mean, what does it tell you when the fanciest restaurant in town, in the Grand Fucking Hotel, played cooler music than this rock club?

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I thought we had a thread on this, but perhaps I expressed my view that pop music came to a standstill a few years ago in the middle of a longer thread.   Anyway, further anecdotal evidence. I was

there is no past and present any more.

Fair enough. I thought it was more recent. It sounds like it could have been released last week, which tends to support the point.

What's the average age of a person dining in an expensive BBQ place in the EV? Read the NYT piece to find out who The Clash is playing for

 

 

Mitch Corber, 63, a poet... Minnie Berman, 54, a supervisor at a psychiatric day treatment program ... Kathy Corey, 47, a paralegal for an insurance company.

 

 

But maybe someone wants to write instead how The Knife were nothing new and how they aren't responsible for an entire microgenre or three. :D

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Yeah, still none of those Electro Canadians would exist without them.

 

It's interesting how perception trails reality - walking up 2nd Ave. - Boukies, Calliope, Mighty Quinn, all full of people mostly in their 40s and over... why would you expect current music?

 

eta: orik, of course

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This thread is really parody. Look at the popular music festivals today. Not even the same as 10 years ago. But of course, there's a drum machine, maybe vocals and a high hate... like saying anything with a drum is the same because drums were in African music15000 years ago.

 

"I heard 'so and so' walking down 276 ave" and..?

 

The tehcnologly to make and distribute music has advanced so rapidly it's silly to say things have "stopped" as if that could ever happen.

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This thread is really parody. Look at the popular music festivals today. Not even the same as 10 years ago. But of course, there's a drum machine, maybe vocals and a high hate... like saying anything with a drum is the same because drums were in African music15000 years ago.

 

"I heard 'so and so' walking down 276 ave" and..?

 

The tehcnologly to make and distribute music has advanced so rapidly it's silly to say things have "stopped" as if that could ever happen.

The way we consume music has also changed immensely. Which is probably what this thread is really about.

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I love the Knife. They're nothing that new.

 

Right, that's why when asked about their influences, the eight or so Knife-inspired bands on the pitchfork top 100 for 2012, as well as reviewers of their work, cite Kraftwerk as a primary influence, saying "Nothing has happened since then, really, it's all electronic music so of course it's all the same... it's like Lil B is the same as Run DMC, you know?"

 

The combined argument:

 

1. A specific generation (coincidentally, ours, totally coincidentally) is responsible for the *only* major change in pop music. Our change was not related to changes in the technologies of production, marketing, or consumption, it was a fundamental change that can not be repeated.

 

2. Young people habitually listen to old music and often make music that refers to old music, therefore new music is the same as old music.

 

3. What's being played in casual bars and restaurants in downtown Manhattan, a town with a median age of 47, some money, half a child, half a dog, a third of a house upstate, and half a car, is reflective of current tastes both mainstream and fringe.

 

Is pretty weak, imo, and continues to ignore the change in the process governing not just the production and consumption, but mostly the evolution of music that's been taking place over the past decade+

 

An argument that pop music remains bound to the same formula and that the only thing we're observing are parametric changes is a valid one, but I don't really think you can claim the pre-1960s music followed a different formula.

 

I don't think I can argue against the idea that the greatest generation was involved in moving these parameters much faster than anyone has done since, both because I don't have data going back far enough, and because I don't think it matters as it doesn't mean the basic formula has changed even back then.

 

http://www.nature.com/srep/2012/120726/srep00521/full/srep00521.html

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Weak? It's unrecognizable:

 

1. A specific generation (coincidentally, ours, totally coincidentally) is responsible for the *only* major change in pop music. Our change was not related to changes in the technologies of production, marketing, or consumption, it was a fundamental change that can not be repeated.

 

You're kidding. Elvis Presley was our generation? Popular music transformed itself repeatedly for sixty or more years prior to (roughly) 1990.

 

 

2. Young people habitually listen to old music and often make music that refers to old music, therefore new music is the same as old music.

 

Young people habitually listen to old music, as they never did prior to (roughly) 1990. It's partly explained by the ready availability of...everything. But that's not enough to explain the extraordinary popularity of forty-year old tunes. The distance, time-wise, between Black Sabbath's Paranoid and today is the same as the distance, time-wise, between Rudy Vallee and the Sex Pistols.

 

It's really remarkabvle. (The "therefore" above is redundant.)

 

 

3. What's being played in casual bars and restaurants in downtown Manhattan, a town with a median age of 47, some money, half a child, half a dog, a third of a house upstate, and half a car, is reflective of current tastes both mainstream and fringe.

 

What about what's being played in bars in Brooklyn with a median age of 27? That's where I'm drawing my examples.

 

And where are they playing the cutting edge stuff?

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If the rate of change of the technical attributes of music seems fairly constant (see plots in the article I linked to), then it's hard to say music changed more between 1965 and 1985 then between 1985 and 2005, unless it was changing in some way that can't be quantified. I'm open to hearing what that way is.

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What about what's being played in bars in Brooklyn with a median age of 27? That's where I'm drawing my examples.

 

And where are they playing the cutting edge stuff?

 

Nowhere, I guess. Producing all that music seems like a waste with everyone listening to stuff from 40 years ago:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billboard_Year-End_Hot_100_singles_of_1972

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If the rate of change of the technical attributes of music seems fairly constant (see plots in the article I linked to), then it's hard to say music changed more between 1965 and 1985 then between 1985 and 2005, unless it was changing in some way that can't be quantified. I'm open to hearing what that way is.

 

I don't think the issue is 1965 to 1985.

 

I think the issue is 1945 to 1965. Not to mention 1925 to 1965.

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Ok, so you're talking about an entirely different issue from Wilfrid.

 

 

 

Popular music transformed itself repeatedly for sixty or more years prior to (roughly) 1990.

Young people habitually listen to old music, as they never did prior to (roughly) 1990.

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