They’ll be out soon … promise!
This post is a bit of a rant on an all-to-common theme that keeps recuring with me.
I probably sound like an old fuddy-duddy with the “when I was a young buck…” or “you young whipper snappers have it so….”.
Perhaps it’s the old “crotchety” man emerging in me, but frankly, I don’t give a flying $#&*.
Sonny, Back in My Day…
…okay, I won’t start with that.
I have a voracious appetite for new music. I go through about two or three albums a week. I’ll acquire them, and listen to them at LEAST once through and do repeat listens on a different day or perhaps multiple times during the day … when I’m not busy with other things that is. If I get saturated with the new music, I’ll go through the artists I have in my collection and see if something catches my fancy.
I’ve been unfortunately disappointed in the fact that a good majority of the artists and albums of the past 10 – 15 years in my collection don’t seem to get me excited to listen again.
When Old is New
I was a bit of a DLR snob (only really had VH-I, VH-II and 1984) until a while ago, but never really got around to filling in the holes until a couple of days ago.
It’d be interesting to do some sort of discertation paper on the band to trace the songwriting development and history through the singers / iterations… but I digress.
I picked up Fair Warning, Women and Children First and Diver Down a couple of days ago and…
…I was freakin’ blown away by those albums.
What gives? These are all about 30-year old releases and I can tell that they’ve got nuggets and tastiness that I’m going to be listening and re-listening to for a while to come. I’d heard a few of the tunes from those albums (Unchained, And the Cradle Will Rock… to name a few), but the rest of the songs were totally new to me.
Comparing Apples and Oranges
Bobby Owsinski has a lot of cool insights into the music business and discusses a lot of the changes that have been happening the past decade or so on his Music 3.0 blog. A lot of the differences between today’s and yester-year’s albums come together and are released are a result of the changes in the industry.
However, it doesn’t preclude the fact that today’s albums seem so much more homogenous and … forgetable.
Time will tell whether I actually pull out those newfound Van Halen albums again in a few weeks, a few months or even a few years, but what got me wondering was – what IS it about those albums that actually twigged my interest?
I think it comes down to a few different things:
- the performances are utterly fantastic – there’s an energy, a on-edge”liveness” to the whole sound. It’s like you’re riding along in a car at a speed you’d never drive yourself, but you feel that the one at the controls knows what he is doing.
- the recording is great – there are dynamics! The arrangement is simple, but the sound is full and present.
- There is VARIETY. I think this is the biggest differentiator. When I listened to these albums, I really had a fun time because every new track was actually different from the last! I found myself looking forward to being surprised track-to-track
What heavy metal band would insert a snazy slide-guitar kind of thing (Could This Be Magic? on Women and Children First), some smokey funky processed groove (Push Comes to Shove on Fair Warning), or even some dixie-land thang (Big Bad Bill on Diver Down)?
Muse is probably the only modern band that I can think of that has held my attention like this … and earned steady repeat listens. When listening to their efforts I don’t really know if to put them into pop, prog rock, rock, … soundtrack… all while listening to the same album.
I don’t know if it’s just me with these kinds of observations or odd views, but I don’t see why artists need to make everything sound the SAME? Perhaps some people like this, perhaps artists / record labels are lazy … perhaps I’m getting too old and crotchety.
Please mister/miss artists of the world,
Branch out, Spread your wings, Stretch your legs …
Keep us on the edge of our seats … Surprise us!