Monday, December 9, 2013

What 70s Music Has Over Modern Music

Since everything new is dross, let's take a trip back to the seventiiiiiieeeees! and ponderscuss (ponder and discuss) differences between broadcast live music then and now.

I emphasize live, broadcast music specifically because it's a barometer for what is marketable, profitable, modern, and getting people's attention on the merit of its artistic credibility. Now that's a combination that's not just assembled every day.

In the seventies, having your band perform live on broadcast television is what got you noticed and increased record and concert sales. Think of what it did for The Beatles a decade prior–bands in the seventies were riding that wave. Aren't they still? What is displayed on our modern version of 70s television, a combination of cable tv (negligible in comparison) and our vast interweb with its growing options of listening to and watching live and studio-recorded muzik, is different by a long shot.

And that's natural, right? Let's not get nostalgic here. Personally, I find great enjoyment in constantly seeking out new, awesome music. What is new is what is to be sought, in my opinion, but! the past is not to be discarded. It's integral to understanding why we have what we have now, why we are where we are.

Check out this band called Focus.

This was posted on r/Music by u/capt_jazz. Thank u/. I propose new Reddit slang:
    "thank u/" = "thank you, Reddit user"

Now, back to Focus. I like how the vocalist gets all kinds of silly with it, pulling out strange sounds. His organ is like Jon Stewart's desk.

The guitarist is really good. His introductory riffs and solos sound like a precursor to the 80s Metallica I love so much. The rhythm section as a whole vibes together well, with competent bass and drums.

This is just a song I like by Jethro Tull, entitled "Locomotive Breath." You can thank my father for this. And, while we're at it, this:

You dig that four-person vocal harmony? Really beautiful stuff. You can hear the Alman Brothers influence in that non-glassesed guitar player, which is kind of annoying to me, but at least he's really talented. I think the Dan dropped him by the time they released their greatest album, in my opinion, The Royal Scam.

Now let's zoom our gaze outward, like rising up off the earth to see the entire landscape around you. These bands, and by natural progression 70s rock as a genre, is almost invisible to young people today. This is the Baby Boomer stuff that's now becoming the style of the elderly. It's one small corner of the entire spectrum. I feel it's my duty today to bring some emphasis back to these styles. There are many to choose from, and indeed our music today will be a blip in the spectrum of music to come.

...suddenly I'm getting lost in the hopelessness of all this. If music does nothing but evolve, why study the past? ... I suppose I'm just a dorky historian. But lo! There are two distinct advantages to be had in this line of past-concentration. First, you have to know what to avoid; learn from the mistakes of others. But second, is that this older music contains a key something our modern music lacks—a life, a color, a vibrancy, which comes from natural instrumentation and real talent, unadorned by over-production and sound effects.

This seventies stuff is natural, pure. No auto-tune, no fake beats, nothing programmed, all organic. Music, played on instruments. Now consider Justin Bieber's "Baby." Consider the lip-synching scandals broadcast on SNL, or the live broadcast of BeyoncĂ© lip-synching the National Anthem.

Where the heck did music go these days if we can't even trust Beyoncé to practice hard enough to give an honest rendition of one of our nation's most cherished musical numbers at a racially-monumentally important event, and to lie about it in front of the entire viewing world?

What's the point of lip-synching, anyway? To make it flawless? In my opinion, flaws are not to be excluded from one's music. They're as organic as life itself. No mistakes = no humanity.

Consider what's popular in rock music today. St. Vincent is pretty popular, but her music always annoys me. I'm more of a Chelsea Wolfe man.

Question: What would a modern band, maintaining a focus on organic instrumentation, have to do to make it in today's biz?

The answer is, has always been, obvious—hard work and daily practice. Make videos of yourself playing. Record demos. Buy equipment and clothes that make you look and sound good. Get shows. The bottom line is the same: Pay to Play. A combination of monetary and physical investment is all that is required. And who has time for that? Isn't there work to do? Aren't we the 99%? The gap between the wealthy and the poor continues to grow, as Marx predicted.

So now, the most popular music is performed (and not necessarily written) by those with too much time on their hands, those with nothing to complain about. The wealthy. And do the wealthy ever make music that really turns us on our heads? Hasn't the best music always come from those who suffer, those on the fringes, those with perspective?

A modern musical conundrum:
Seeing as there's almost no way to make money at it, where are we with music these days? It's less and less profitable as time goes on, yet people continue to churn it out, to make ever newer and newer music, because we love music, don't we? Humans need it. Music gives us beauty, real emotion, unobtainable thru simple vocalizations or unpracticed schlubbs or recording studio trickery.

Since the best music comes from those who suffer for their craft, and I'm sure this can be proven somehow, musicians could align together, like the heroes in Atlas Shrugged, and refuse let the world hear their music, could abandon the world, until the world is so sick of its own bullshit that it comes crying back to us, begging for a taste of these exciting new sounds we're all pioneering in the underground.

The dream is yet alive.