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I like that old time Rock-N-Roll

August 23, 2014

“Today’s music ain’t got the same soul,
I like that old time rock-n-roll…”
—Bob Seger and the Silver Bullets

I think this lyric was a bit ahead of its time, being written in the 70’s when Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones and other bands, including Bob Seger, who never had a #1 hit despite how big the band was in the 70’s, were all going strong.

Heavy Metal

Music had heart, music had soul, music told stories and taught lessons. Now it wasn’t all wrought of profound poetry, but there was plenty of insouciance, it was just… different. Rock-n-roll band members still played instruments and sang without auto-tune. It took a bit longer to put out an album, and they stayed in the studio until every song was complete and up to par. An example, if not a bit of an extreme one (maybe) is the band Boston. Six albums in 35 years and seldom toured. The band is currently out on tour, and Tom Scholz says they’d have toured more throughout their career if he hadn’t been so busy in the studio writing most of the lyrics and playing most of the instruments. In other words, he was a perfectionist and maybe a bit of a control freak (most bands have one). If you listen to the band, you can hear the precision and talent in the music. Tom Scholz admits it’s nice now to just get out there and play guitar.

I am going to reference another band now, Rust, of Canada. One of their songs contains the lyric “… All this machinery making modern music…” If they thought machinery was laying siege to music back then, I wonder what they think of music now. The majority of “New Rock” is electronic and the majority of it sucks in my qualified opinion. I like that song “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster The People and “Sail” by Awolnation and … that’s about it. Most modern lyrics and the paper they were written should be left by the toilet in case one runs out of toilet paper. As a matter of fact, save the toilet paper. They all want to act like they are discontented with life, or it’s a happy song, but it’s just fruity as hell, sounds like it belongs on that old children’s show “Teletubbies” or something. For example, there’s a song that says: “All I am is a man. I hate the beach but here I stand in California with my toes in the sand.” That is the worst “I hate my life” lyric ever. Oh, it’s so tough on the beaches of California, with all the bikinis and the waves and sunsets and the parties. Worst ever “I’m depressed and hate everything” lyric. Now for the happy song: “I had a dream so big and loud, I jumped so high, I touched the clouds, who-o-o-o-.” Booo! Unless you’re 5 years old and into the teletubbies.

The rap these days is the worst. Far gone are the days of Tupac, Biggie, N.W.A., et al. It’s all auto-tune, it’s all about the club jewelry, rims that spin, and it’s not very clever. Listen to the song “We Them Boys” by Wiz Khalifa, if you can stomach it. Far gone are the days of killer metaphors and poets.

It just doesn’t take as much talent to make music as it did before, referring back to my earlier statements about Boston. Before, you had to stay in the studio until a song was complete, and in the booth, you had to sing it straight through. Now, you can record a line or one word at a time if you want.

I also believe the industry is to blame for all the shitty music out there, since they get to decide the definition of “pop” music. Almost anybody would agree with me that the “underground” and the music that gets the least or no play on the radio is better than the stuff that is played constantly.

It’s true, music comes in eras, but every era thus far had something/someone great… until now.

Rock-n-roll progressed and morphed and now it’s just stalled out. There’s no rock and there’s no roll. From the 60’s, 50’s (even Elvis), through the 90’s, we had Rock, Hard Rock, Hair Metal, Heavy Metal, Grunge, Alternative Rock. In 2014, we have…

The good news is Weezer, a band from ’94 has released a new album. Song in point, “Back to the Shack,” which is talking about just what I am talking about here now. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers released a new album—their first #1 album ever in 37 years—called “Hypnotic Eye.” Maybe some of these older rockers can deliver a lesson to some of these new guys calling themselves rockers.

Check out 100 Watt Witch at They are a young rock band from Visalia that hasn’t gotten much exposure yet, but I heard some of their music on a radio program called “Homegrown” and I liked their music.


From → Art, BLOG

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