Sunday, December 06, 2009

A Season to Remember

With a few exceptions, and some exceptional ones at that, I have come to view the current crop of music stars as a replacement team in a strike year. Not saying they don't have some talent, not saying they didn't pay some kind of dues or at least made a few monthly payments on some dues once, way back when they were ten or something.

I look around and I listen around and I'm pretty sure we can do better. I have not seriously listened to mainstream Pop, Country or Rock radio in years, at least not in the manner that I used to listen to those formats. I keep up with what's out there - to a point - but I really have lost the desire to put in the effort.

Growing up in rural Wisconsin, I had my head glued to a Panasonic clock radio (with the rolodex-like flipping numerals) using a mono earphone from Radio Shack (The Nation-wide Supermarket of Sound) to listen to WLS out of Chicago and Lake Delton's WNNO. My preteen years had Acker Bilk, Frank Sinatra, Perry Como and Buck Owens blasting out of various transistor radios compliments of Juneau County's own WRJC. There's a song I remember hearing a lot that had a choir or chorus singing it using nonsense syllables like "Shobby Shoooba..." in some jazzy mode. I remember "Music To Watch Girls By" and "A Boy Named Sue". Everybody liked Johnny Cash back then - you, your parents, your friends, your older brother, everybody except yucky girls. In high school, some station in the Fox River Valley had a DJ that used "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" as the them music for his album rock show. I had to run a pretty long wire speaker wire as a makeshift antennae to catch that station.

I have an emotional attachment to music that makes me incredibly easy to manipulate. I am an addict for good music. I want to believe. I have a wide open heart and if whatever you're playing moves me, I like it and I buy it. And then I champion it and give it as gifts and talk about it and blog about it and force them to listen to it through my computer speakers and am left to wonder why they aren't blown away by it. I'm more apt to write them off as temporarily tasteless cretins than abandon music I like.

These days the artists that I really enjoy tend to be obscure, under-the-radar types playing Rock, Electronica, Power Pop, and Americana/Roots Rock. Nothing that the majors are selling is appealing to me, and that's a fairly recent and disturbing trend. Not even having the fun of pleading a guilty pleasure lately. So, Team Popular Music, forgive me for not rooting for you, not buying the program, not eating the hot dogs or drinking the Kool-Aid, and not wanting to put your names on the back of the jerseys.


Blogger Lynn said...

I would have to agree with you on this. I am so dissapointed every time I turn on the radio in my car now. And I am so thankful that someone invented the IPOD. It's the old "If God wanted us to listen to the radio, why would He have given us the mp3 player?"

Now, I am in my middle 50's, so I grew up on the best music in the history of man - the 70's (including getting to enjoy the music of the 40's, 50's and 60's). I have developed an eclectic taste in music over the years that includes nearly every genre except rap (I'm an old white guy), but still can't find anything on the radio that I want to stick with.

The funny thing to me is the number of kids in their teens that prefer my generation's of music than their own.

There are some great musicians out there because I buy music every week, but it's just not making it to the radio.

7/12/09 10:15  
Blogger Brent said...

Hey tom here is a Frank Zappa interview that will most likely believe.

7/12/09 22:03  
Blogger Say Hey DK said...

Amen brother, you're preaching to the choir here.

Like Lynn, I'm a mid 40's "old white guy" and for me, techno/electronica now does for me what rock & roll did for me in the 70's. I also like some of the bands playing "garage rock". I think in general the vast majority of new music will be forgotten within a decade of its debut.

I'm not sure if is because that rock & roll started in the 50's and then blossomed in the 60's & 70's and is now past its apex as a genre. Who knows, maybe it will be reborn again in the next decade?

11/12/09 17:46  

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