Home > Uncategorized > Where has all the good music gone?

Where has all the good music gone?

Recently, I’ve had many discussions with friends regarding the state of popular music today. The common opinion seems to be that there is very little new music that is worth hearing anymore.

I listen to a lot of music, and I am in constant search for new music, for my own enjoyment, and also for the purpose of understanding past influences on new and emerging sounds. And I can’t help but notice that the observations are true: it is becoming rare to hear any good quality new music, let alone anything that can be said to be influential or inspiring.
The twentieth century was full of great music – from one decade to the next – and we can point to each time period that gave rise to emerging genres, unique styles, and interesting revivals and hybrids.
From jazz music emerging at the beginning of the twentieth century and finding its popularity in various different forms in the 20s, 30s and 40s; to rock, hip hop, r&b, dance, and electronic in the latter half of the century; music in the twentieth century was well-inspired, and continues to influence new music today.
The first ten years of the 21st century, by contrast, has been simply dull and uninspired. Not to say there have not been bad trends in music in the past. Just consider disco in the 70s and superficial glam rock and hair metal of the 80s, and we can see that not everything is wonderful. But while there were misfires, great quality music existed in the meantime, with rock music in its heyday in the 70s, and the emergence of hip hop, rap, and pop in the 80s. 
In the first part of the 21st century, rock has evolved into little boys whining about lost love and broken dreams. Pop music that emerged with Madonna and Michael Jackson in the 80s is now just a derivative of the sappy boy bands and bubble gum teen pop that emerged in the late 90s. And hip hop and rap have turned into punchlines, thanks to the likes of Kanye West and 50 Cent.

Nothing has come out in the last ten years that we can realistically expect to be influential to artists twenty years from now.

Is it a problem of recycling? One friend theorizes that music today is simply trying to revive music of the past, only in very poor quality. This seems pretty accurate since nothing new has emerged since the turn of the century, and the only good that we hear seems to come from bands and artists that emerged in the 90s or earlier.
Given the historical perspective, perhaps we’ve simply reached a point of saturation when new ideas are much more difficult to come by. Maybe all that’s left to do in music will be left to creative DJs and mashup artists to put different spins on previously created sounds. I’m hoping that it’s just a temporary lull in the history of new music, and we will soon begin to see quality music emerge again.
Categories: Uncategorized
  1. March 10, 2010 at 8:23 am

    i always try to separate music as an artform and music as an emotional 'anchor' (as if its possible…but im pretty sure i liked SURFACE – THE FIRST TIME not because its a work of art but because i got my first kiss to that song). My sense is: its good music if ppl feel it now…n there's no shortage of feelings in the 1st decade of the new millenium. All the prosaics about formal aesthetics and specificity is a cliche in our time i feel

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