Where has all the good music gone?

Today I opened up iTunes and noticed in the store new albums by…drumroll…The Lemonheads and Dinosaur Jr.  Excuse me?  This week alone there are also new releases by Modest Mouse, Moby, Queen Latifah, Widespread Panic (kid you not), Tonic and Third Eye Blind.

Is the new music of today not resonating with folks?  Has it lost a bit of its soul?  Is there a resurgence in retro music?  Is the passion and power of grunge and post-grunge making a comeback?  This list of artists could have been written in 1993.  Seriously, look it up.

It made me want to download “Unbelievable” off of Schubert Dip by EMF.  Now that was a cool song.

Side note: DCB just released their cover of “How He Loves Us” from their upcoming CD “Church Music” as a single.  I’m really looking forward to the new CD.  Matt Redman also released a single this week called “This is How We Know.”  Knowing that there are songwriters anointed like Matt still writing for the church continues to give me hope for the future of corporate worship.

2 Responses to “Where has all the good music gone?”

  1. June 25, 2009 at 8:42 am

    Yeah, a lot of music seems to be cookie-cutter pablum. Safe lyrics, safe chord progressions, safe instrumentation, safe production — the life sucked out by overcompression and overlimiting, the “image” of the band or singer vanilla-ized with pouty angsty distant looks.

    Have you heard the band RED? I’ve enjoyed both their albums, and seen three of their music videos on The Gospel Channel. Their music seems to focus on our battle against sin; they seem to do a fine job exploring that struggle while retaining their musical integrity.

    I like some of Glenn Packiam’s latest album, though sadly the kick drum is distorted and clipping to the point of almost making the songs unlistenable.

    That’s a thing — producers try to make their artists’ music popular and LOUD, and can squash the life out of it in the process. I’ve mixed/produced an album, and have been guilty of that myself. Maybe that’s why I’m so sensitive to it — it should be an amateur’s error….

  2. June 25, 2009 at 9:31 am

    Couldn’t agree more. Brick-walling is definitely in vogue and has become the norm in the last 10 years. It’s hard to even listen to a playlist in iTunes because a song from 20 years ago is so quiet vs. a tune produced in the last few years. Steely Dan vs. Coldplay in the loudness game is a no-brainer win for the latter. It’s in the worship world as well. Vicky Beeching’s last album was squished to the point of ear fatigue and Eoghan Heaslip’s latest sounds like Tim Hughes’ last album (speaking of, check out “When Silence Falls” vs. “Holding Nothing Back” which is on the edge). With the tools available to us today it’s not a wonder that we can slam the whole mix up against the wall and flatline it. Fact is, it’s what people are getting used to. They listen to compressed music on iPods, radio, etc. and they want to be able to hear the music at low volume as they drive, exercise, etc. It’s a compressed digital world we live in. People aren’t sitting down and listening to the music at home anymore (in general). I can pump a tune up to max volume and compress and limit the life out of it with the push of a few buttons. But should I? When I mastered the second live CD the guy at the mastering studio said “it’s not the loudest album I’ve heard, but I guess that’s okay since it’s supposed to be ‘worship’ I guess.” So here’s a guy who is supposed to be the gatekeeper for our ears and even he would have turned it up?

    There was a stir a few years ago about a Korn release which ushered in the new age of brick walling. The CD got quite a bit of negative press as a result but it didn’t stop the industry from continuing to feed us that sound. I had a great discussion with Art Noble (local drum wiz) about this and we hoped that things would turn back to the ‘organic’ over the next 10 years.

    I have been kicking around the idea of overhauling this this blog and focusing it 100% on studio recording, techniques, thoughts, discussion, etc. Your post has stimulated this in me again!

    (Not that into RED. Too much on the metal side of things instead of rock. Don’t get me wrong, I am really into heavy but the metal side of heavy has never appealed to me but rather the soul side of heavy has.)

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June 2009

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