James, your observation about reflection really rings home to me. I've lost count of the number of songs in the recent decades that young people think is a cool new thing and it's clearly a remake of an old classic.
Rock simply ran out of fuel and started consuming itself. The evolution of metal parallels that of horror films - always moving towards greater extremity. I can see that heading the same way as rock - just remaking itself in its own image. Extremity can only go so far.
Also agree re: rap. Disadvantaged kid finds his place in the world and gloats about his gross abuse of his new-found empowerment. Especially about his ability to put down women in the same way as he felt put down. Schadenfreude born of unresolved trauma masquerading as empowerment.
Originally Posted by Deltadrummer
Again, I think a big part of music over the last 20 years is the preference of emotion over technique. Something I personally don't think is a plus. I would say that nihilism is a big part of that music, and it would be interesting to try to come to a deeper understanding of why there have been so many prominent suicides, and perhaps an increase in very destructive behavior. Part of that is just part of the business. Judy Garland, Elvis and Michael Jackson all died the tragic self-destructive deaths.
I see "emotion over technique" as being part of the corporatisation of the music industry. It's actually manipulated emotion
over technique, not emotion with any great depth.
You see the same trend in the print media. A reduction of studied and dispassionate analysis of current affairs (in comparative terms, anyway) in favour of cynically hysterical, faux-emotional sensationalism.
It's all about chasing the LCD dollar with the realisation that the standards gatekeepers like university professors etc are a small minority and not big spenders, whereas over half the population is of average or below average intelligence.
Ironically, corporate use of technology (following in the heels of the near-perfect studio musos in the 70s and 80s) has resulted in increased
emphasis on technique over emotionality. Not virtuoso technique but an emphasis on perfect "professional" product with massive, glossy production where human inconsistencies have been tweezed out through use of machines, pitch correction, Pro Tools etc.
I suspect record company majors wanted to squeeze out the indie opposition by conditioning people's ears to only accept production standards that the underfunded and idealistic indie couldn't and wouldn't match.
Yet it feels right for the times - people are increasingly being reduced to high consumption worker bees with minimal time for reflection. Worship mighty Mammon.
Poo to that, I say! My mother was an author and a total ratbag and I'm her daughter :) So I refuse to play that game. I reserve the right to be reflective, analytical, to look and listen rather than follow, to ensure I have work/life balance and guilt-free downtime. I refuse to pander to the anti-intellectual LCD and I do what I can to use the system rather than let it use me. In other words, I'm http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EsCyC1dZiN8