Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Random thoughts for the day

I've suddenly noticed that I don't have anything from the 80's posted to the blog, with the exception of one Suzanne Vega clip and one Sonic Youth clip that actually dates to '91 but was from an album they released in '88. Then I strain my memory and remember why... in the '80's, "hard rock" stations were filled with hair metal and dinosaur acts ("classic rock"), while pop stations were filled with electronica noodlings and voices with so much reverb and EQ added to them they might as well have been shouted (or whispered) from the bottom of a well. I mean, Frankie Goes To Hollywood. Tears for Fears. Really. And then the great Bryan Adams (snark intended ;) ushered in what would be the pop music of the 1990's and beyond, i.e., bland homogenized shit that wouldn't scare the mothers and small children or random people off the street.

Not to say that there wasn't some subversive stuff going on. Dire Straits poked fun at the whole 80's music scene with "Money for Nothing", for example, snarkily subverting the whole paradigm by using it to poke fun at itself. And the mid to late 80's saw a New Folk resurgence that led to artists like Suzanne Vega and Tracy Chapman. And of course the late 80's led to "alternative" music as people like Sonic Youth came around and started bubbling around in the underground. But by and large, I view the 80's as a "lost decade" for music, and the 90's as a reinvention and resurgence of what music is all about.

Then filesharing came along and the record companies lost their mind in the '00's and we're in one of those periods where the industry refuses to take chances once again and mediocrity once more rules the airwaves... sigh! Do any of you have an album that you bought recently because you heard it on the radio? With me, the last thing I bought because I heard it on the radio was Serj Tankian's recent album Elect the Dead, where I heard "Empty Walls" on the radio, said "waitaminit, I didn't know SOAD had a new album out!", and ran off to find out WTF it was I'd just heard. But that was a year ago, people. A year. One album out of the dozens I've bought over the past year was bought because I heard it on the radio. That's the state of today's music biz, folks. Let's just hope the next decade brings some re-invention of the business that will make it relevant again, because it did serve a purpose, at one time.

-- Badtux the Music Penguin


  1. The 80s sucked rotten eggs when it came to new music. That's not a feeling, it's a fact. I didn't give a damn about new music again until some band named Nirvana made its presence known in the early 90s.

    And that grunge scene seems to have been rock 'n roll's last hurrah. Nothing outside of what I already know seems to interest me anymore...

  2. I lost interest in pop music some time around 1965.


    JzB the my instrument isn't in much pop trombonist

  3. You are so right, the 80's was a wasteland for music. Could part of the reason be that the country was moving to the right with the Election of RR, and we know conservative music sucks so bad. Or could it be that Reagan brought in the "Greed is Good" mantra so the pop producers like Don Kirshner felt justified in producing lousy formula music. It wasn't all bad, but was definitely designed to make money. And as we all know.. Money Changes Everything.

  4. My earliest awareness of musical revolution - Led Zeplin & Cream. CSN & Y laid down some awesome social protest re Kent State and Chicago. 'In a land that's known as freedom, how can such a thing be fair...' I thought disco was an obscenity. As far as music goes, I'm living in the past. When the wife is out, I may find some 'Rare Earth' and crank up the volume til the house shakes.

    Rock on!

  5. Geez, you guys are making me feel OLD. Last album I bought -- which was vinyl, showing just how long ago it was -- was by a Canadian a capella quartet called The Nylons, based on their vocal arrangement of "Goodbye."

  6. BTW, I heard the song on an AM station... back when AM was something other than a right-wing noise machine.


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