Saturday, April 7, 2012

The End of the Generation Gap

One thing I find very curious is the way popular music has seemed to have frozen in style.

I'd put the time the actual freezing happened as being sometime in the early 90's. Now when I'm talking about "frozen" there are a couple different issues to consider.
Apparently the Beatles in the early 1960's were actually questioning how long rock 'n roll was going to last. This, to me, is fascinating. Because Rock as the dominant pop genre hasn't gone away since it came into the foreground.
Musically there's just no difference between any modern pop music, pop music from the 80's, or from the 60's. You'd really have to reach back to when jazz was a big influence on popular music in the 50's to see a genre change.
And this is an unusual thing (at least within the last 150 or so years) because traditionally the music of one generation is unlistenable to the music of the next (or previous).
Now we actually have music which is identical to the previous (and next) generation's pop music. Tonal music with an emphasis on blues scales in 4/4 with an accent on the second and fourth beat is the end game of popular music? Really?
Well, maybe.
For a long while the stress on new-pop-music-makers was to make music louder. Well the loudness race has come to an end. You're not going to have a concert louder than The Who in 1976 or an album by the Red Hot Chili Peppers in 1992. Those tasks are completed.

At this point we even have artists deliberately making records which sound like they could be 20 or 25 years old. I dig this Gotye single. Could it have been on alternative radio in 1990? Sure. And there are perhaps some very brief exceptions to this lack-of-generation-gap in music. But I'll write about them at some other time.

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