Monday, February 19, 2024

About new music

Sean Thomas in The Spectator claims to have found empirical evidence that music is getting worse. I agree with his conclusion, but don’t recognise his claim to objectivity; music is getting worse because I’m getting old and so, presumably, is Mr Thomas. If I were young, it would all be great, but I’m not, which is why I only get excited by the Top of the Pops re-runs on Saturday nights if they date from 1978 to 1983. Incidentally, Thomas’s characterisation of a modern lyric as “the desire of the singer to ‘kill his mofo bitches’ and celebrate his expensive car, hat and Rolex watch” suggests that he last listened to a rap record in about 1991, and then only fleetingly.

Moreover, it needs to be noted that this year sees the 100th anniversary of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, and the 200th of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, two groundbreaking works whose influence is still being felt. But I bet that in 1924 and 1824, there were plenty of people who could come up with an algorithm to prove that they were rubbish.

There is great music being produced now that will still be heard and loved in 2124 and beyond. We just don’t know what it is yet.

1 comment:

Rol said...

I actually think there's a lot of great new music out there, if one can be bothered to look, but it doesn't often show up in the singles chart* because a) that's not aimed at grumpy 50+ year olds and never was, and b) singles don't exist anymore so why the hell don't they just call it the streaming chart?

Is it as good as the music of our youth? Of course not. But we'll never feel the same visceral connection for new music (even good new music) now as we did when we were 16 and our brains and bodies were on fire with new experience. See also: films, TV shows, books, general day-to-day existence.

(*Except Taylor Swift. She's as good as, and in many cases better than, a lot of the stuff we hold in such high esteem from our youth. Although that may just be an old man trying desperately to be down wiv da kidz.)