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tj1

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Ok it's a very subjective question and I am not sure I know the answer.

The aggregate of great songs from the last 60 years is always likely to sound better than than a snapshot of current output.

But I struggle to name one great song from the last ten years, but maybe I an old fart.

However I think it is now likely there is a great deal less money in pure songwriting than there was twenty years ago before the advent of web based downloads. This could affect the quality.
 

DrKev

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But I struggle to name one great song from the last ten years, but maybe I an old fart.

This. Like me too. I am old fart. But I'm a guitar teacher and my students bring new stuff to me all the time. There are some awesome young artists out there. I don't remember their names much, but that's because I'm an old fart.

And I'm cool with that. I had my "my modern music is coolest" period, it's their turn now. And besides, with old farts come wisdom.
 
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tj1

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And I'm cool with that. I had my "my modern music is coolest" period, it's their turn now. And besides, with old farts come wisdom.

I grew up in the 80's but I remember thinking 60's music was much better. Although I did get with Foo Fighters and G&R I am still more or less stuck in the 70's. Which maybe not coincidentally was when I think there were most riches in music recording
 

beej

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I'll have to dissent. I think there's some awesome music out there. It's just harder to find. (And you have to get over all of the crappy over produced/compressed stuff in heavy rotation.)

I'm continually impressed by bands I'd never heard of.
 

tj1

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Yeah - I think that's the problem - new music is very hard to come across on the radio. I have seen a few great young acts live over the last few years but for whatever reason they were unable to get mainstream 'media' exposure.
 

wannarock8

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I find great new indie music on soundcloud.com all the time. I'm not real inspired by many of the commercial releases I hear these days.

Rick Wakeman of Yes said something in an interview back in the late 1980s that has stuck with me ever since. He said that songs in previous decades were written around a melody. He said in the 80s, you started to have songs written around a beat or a groove rather than the melody being the thing that carries the song.

I think he had a valid point. A lot of music in the last few decades has been written around a groove, or around a "sound", meaning it's mostly about the production. The songs I'm still drawn to are indie pop, folk, as well as progressive and hard rock, that are being written around a melody, or in the case of hard rock, around a great guitar riff.

In my own song writing, I'd compose songs based on cool chord progressions or riffs I came up with, and then the melody would be an afterthought. And I wondered why the finished songs sounded repetitive or uninteresting. And often there's nothing wrong with the chords or the groove, a few tweaks to the melody can turn a bland, repetitive song into one that really catches a listener's ear.
 

shupe13

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It seems to me that the music I listened to in the 70s and 80s (I still listen to), was better in the sense of story telling and musical flow. I'm not saying that there isn't great newer stuff. It's just not the old.
 

Jim C

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I much prefer a pop / rock / R&B song with a memorable melody line which is not nearly as prevalent as it was pre 90's.
I wonder how long this trend will continue.
 

NickNihil

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No.

Every decade/era/generation has its geniuses, innovators, and luminaries. And they have their sets of technological and cultural circumstances that makes the art unique to those times. Musicians are no less talented, creative, soulful, or multifaceted than they were 20, 50, 100, or 1000 years ago. The supposed homogeneity of modern mainstream media is a result of corporate consolidation of media and has nothing to do with artists.
 

funobiciz

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Personally, I don't belong to those who always state that everything was better in the past, including music. It gradually develops as everything in our life. All music is good and it's great there are so many styles that everyone can choose the performer or band they like.
 

jayjayjay

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At the risk of sounding pedantic, I think it depends on what you consider to be today's music vs. yesterday's music.

If you mean popular top-40's music these days, I think you could make a case that _popular_ music today has become uninteresting and simplistic. Keep in mind that record labels, who market pop songs to media channels, are in the business of making money, not art. Prior to, say, around the mid-90's, artists had to actually have a degree of proficiency in their craft - learning an instrument, learning to sing. Artists were discovered by record labels, usually after building up a following and demonstrating that they were bankable. With the rise of streaming services, digital music distribution, and anyone having a platform, you now have an increasingly cutthroat industry with shrinking margins. So, record companies are looking for sure bets, even more now, which means appealing to a lowest common denominator with pop music to gain mass appeal. That means boring, because "interesting" music is almost always more of a risk as it may alienate people, which means less revenue.

So, to put it succinctly, competition has forced modern top-40 hits to become more "safe" = boring.

Let's also bear in mind who we are - if you're posting here, you're probably a musician, so you can appreciate musical complexity and expression. I can tell you from experience with non-musical friends, many people don't parse music in a deep fashion. The record labels know this, and so pander to them.

Now, if you're talking music as a whole universe, then no - I don't think it's better or worse. It evolves. In the classical world (my wife is a professional classical musician), there is new music being composed that is very interesting, just as there is new music that is boring. Even in the pop world, as others observed here, there are very interesting artists and songs being made. Silk Sonic, Black Pumas, Lake Street Dive are a few groups that have caught my ear recently, all with fantastic musicians and interesting writing. But you also probably won't hear then played on pop stations.
 

mwh

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From another ol fart, yep the music & writing "I think" were better back then. From Chuck Berry, the Beatles, Stones, Cream, Hendrix, to Floyd, then Trower, the Doobie Bros, Allman Bros, Johnny Winter, ZZ Top, Deep Purple, Skynyrd, BB King, SRV, AC/DC, Van Halen, etc... I mean yeah there are great bands today too & I like their sound as well but don't know many of their names (sponge is worn out). But about the older stuff, how do you not go about dancing a jig to the great songs from any of those I mentioned? You just can't help it. :giggle:
 
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danielbravo

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This is a topic for old guys, like me.... :cool:
Sometimes I think that the point is that 50 or 40 years ago everything was new, there was a continuous process of creativity, experimentation and all of this created a basis or a standard on how we understand music until now.
Much of this is left behind, but even for the vast majority of us middle-aged to mature adults, this is in our memory, (in a conscious and unconscious way), so that pattern marks what we like or do not like.
It seems that we become and feel more comfortable with what we grew up musically. so there is a certain resistance to the new in terms of empathy.

I particularly like some bands and new artists but eventually I always end up losing interest.
 

pureanalog

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I think after a particular age we just listen to the same stuff over and over again and kind of lose interest in new music.
 

Alternative Space

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Aug 27, 2022
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I agree and I've decided to explore more, out of my own comfort zone. I like "old school" from Eric Clapton to Steely Dan, Bootsy Collins to James Brown. New, interesting stuff is hard to find, so it has inspired me to create more and play more. SoundCloud.com/user-713864875

Alternative Space
Bassist, Composer, Producer
 
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