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  #41  
Old 04-01-2011, 03:07 PM
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Default Re: My rant on today's pop music

In my band, we play (and I sing lead on) Cream's Sunshine of Your Love. When we play out at restaurants where younger kids can see us, they recognize the song despite it being from 1967, because it was on one of the Guitar Hero video games.

Can you imagine one of the current horrid pop songs being on a video game 43 years from now, and their kids/grandkids recognizing it? It certainly wouldn't be Guitar Hero or Rock Band, since there is no guitar or rock going on in most of these songs.

My teenage daughters and their friends also recognize a lot of the music from the 1970's and 1980's, because those songs are used over and over again in TV commercials and movie soundtracks. Whenever I hear them singing along, my natural tendency is to ask them how they know that song, and then they give me that look like "duh"....
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  #42  
Old 04-01-2011, 03:18 PM
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Default Re: My rant on today's pop music

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For one, this is why I rarely listen to the radio outside of classic rock stations. There is a ton of good new music out there, but it's not going to be on the radio.
There is some great new music that can be found on the radio, you just need to look hard enough.

Last year I discovered this radio station in Melbourne that plays many genres of music and even has an audio archive on the net: http://www.pbsfm.org.au/

...and please don't judge too much by what you hear on the record, often an artist sounds much different live...but I have to admit some things would be rediculous live (like that "Friday").

BTW there is this website called http://www.archive.org/ that has these uncopyrighted recordings of live concerts.

So, yes you can still find some great new music, just look in the right place.
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  #43  
Old 04-01-2011, 03:57 PM
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Default Re: My rant on today's pop music

Speaking of actually singing in songs, and understanding lyrics, try this quiz:

http://www.sporcle.com/games/midlife...olorful-lyrics
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  #44  
Old 04-01-2011, 04:07 PM
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Default Re: My rant on today's pop music

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Originally Posted by inneedofgrace View Post
Speaking of actually singing in songs, and understanding lyrics, try this quiz:

http://www.sporcle.com/games/midlife...olorful-lyrics
That was fun. How'd you go? I wasn't too flash - 14 - and one of them was a wild guess.
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  #45  
Old 04-01-2011, 04:34 PM
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Default Re: My rant on today's pop music

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My teenage daughters and their friends also recognize a lot of the music from the 1970's and 1980's, because those songs are used over and over again in TV commercials and movie soundtracks. Whenever I hear them singing along, my natural tendency is to ask them how they know that song, and then they give me that look like "duh"....
That's one cool aspect of how music has remained relevant and stabilized somewhat over the last 40-50 years. Today's music is more closely linked to the music of the '60s & '70s than the music of the '60s & '70s was to the vaudeville, big band, jazz and crooners of the previous 20-30 years. Today if you listen back 20 or 30 years, music is still quite 'current'. I suspect that the musical and cultural similarities have narrowed the generation gap somewhat. There was a much greater gap between me and my parents (who grew up in the '30s & '40s), than seems to exist between today's teenagers and their parents who grew up in the rock era. That is, kids and parents today tend to have more in common musically and culturally than they did a generation or two ago.

So it fascinates me that so many parents view their kids' music as empty, not real, etc. I mean, I understand why my parents didn't get the Beatles, they didn't grow up with anything like them. But today's parents/adults in their forties or fifties have a musical experience more closely-related to the kids.

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  #46  
Old 04-01-2011, 04:42 PM
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Default Re: My rant on today's pop music

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Originally Posted by inneedofgrace View Post
Speaking of actually singing in songs, and understanding lyrics, try this quiz:

http://www.sporcle.com/games/midlife...olorful-lyrics
Wow, I got 22 out of 25...not too bad.
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  #47  
Old 04-01-2011, 04:43 PM
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Default Re: My rant on today's pop music

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Originally Posted by inneedofgrace View Post
Speaking of actually singing in songs, and understanding lyrics, try this quiz:

http://www.sporcle.com/games/midlife...olorful-lyrics
Got 19, and when I saw the remaining correct answers I though 'of course!' except for KT Tunstall and Amy Winehouse.

I find it curious that when I typed Neil Diamond for Red Red Wine, it cross-referenced the hit by UB40, but when I typed Melissa Etheridge for Black Velvet, it wouldn't give me that. :(

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  #48  
Old 04-01-2011, 04:59 PM
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Default Re: My rant on today's pop music

my 2 cents

Nirvana, Pop Rock... the list can go on and on and on and on, like those old shampoo comercials.

So Popular music is not the problem but the Music Business and how they promote the bands/artist that make it.

Business has nothing to do with quality.

The ebb and flow of what people like will continuoulsy shift, I lived through the 80's and was into Metal, if you wanted to hang with girls you had to listen to what I thought was crap... 20 years later you can see the artistry and desire to explore music with new found technology in that stuff, like New Order and such.

I don't think the basic rock band will ever die...

Jay (i don't like your style) Z said it best... Death to AutoTune.
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  #49  
Old 04-01-2011, 05:19 PM
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Default Re: My rant on today's pop music

ALL modern music is superb, especially everything mainstream. I love how clean & precise everything is these days. No more crappy distorted guitar or horrible glassy cymbals, & ALL the singers are so good. Modern drum sounds are so powerful too, not like those old empty boingy things I used to hear. I don't know what's up with you guys, can't you hear how wonderful the instruments sound? Everyone's so good these days, there is no better anymore. How cool is that!

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  #50  
Old 04-01-2011, 05:55 PM
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Default Re: My rant on today's pop music

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There is some great new music that can be found on the radio, you just need to look hard enough.

Last year I discovered this radio station in Melbourne that plays many genres of music and even has an audio archive on the net: http://www.pbsfm.org.au/

...and please don't judge too much by what you hear on the record, often an artist sounds much different live...but I have to admit some things would be rediculous live (like that "Friday").

BTW there is this website called http://www.archive.org/ that has these uncopyrighted recordings of live concerts.

So, yes you can still find some great new music, just look in the right place.
Cheers, but I don't think I'll be getting a radio station from Melbourne in Los Angeles.

Yes, the net is the way to go. When I said radio, I was referring to standard every day over the airwaves. Internet radio is a whole other animal.
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  #51  
Old 04-01-2011, 05:58 PM
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Default Re: My rant on today's pop music

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Originally Posted by inneedofgrace View Post
In my band, we play (and I sing lead on) Cream's Sunshine of Your Love. When we play out at restaurants where younger kids can see us, they recognize the song despite it being from 1967, because it was on one of the Guitar Hero video games...
As much as I am NOT a video game person, I think this is actually a cool aspect of Guitar Hero/Rock band.

All these old songs are getting new life with a new audience. Kids today actually have some sense of music history, even if said history is limited to rock-n-roll of the past 40 years.
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  #52  
Old 04-01-2011, 06:03 PM
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Default Re: My rant on today's pop music

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Originally Posted by inneedofgrace View Post
In my band, we play (and I sing lead on) Cream's Sunshine of Your Love
The question is, where do you put the backbeat lol
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  #53  
Old 04-01-2011, 06:05 PM
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Default Re: My rant on today's pop music

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Fair point, DED, but Rebecca and her ilk represent the lowest common denominator. I don't think we can judge today's pop by that standard. I'm not fan of today's pop but that song of hers posted here was the pits. Actually, I quite like those old Bee Gees tracks so go easy on the Gibbs :) Bermuda ... of your collection, I have stuff by Faith No More, Fatboy Slim, Ella Fitzgerald, Fleetwood Mac, Four Tops, Peter Frampton, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Aretha Franklin, Free (not pop), Springsteen, Santana ... Some of the pop in my collection includes Anastacia, Macy Gray, Supertramp (love 'em), The Cure, 10CC, Bryan Ferry, Chris Isaac, Coldplay, Frente, The Go Gos, The Carpenters, Kate Bush, Nellie Furtado, Pointer Sisters, Sade, Simply Red, The Killers and Wham! Just cos I'm into King Crimson, Uncle Frank, Henry Cow, Mahavishnu, Weather Report, The Who and Led Zep doesn't disqualify me from also being crazy about good pop. All I ask is that artists write and play music from the heart and go easy on the formulas, samey-ness and machines! Hopefully all this mechanised pap will go away, but I doubt it will happen anytime soon. We'll have to wait for Gen Z's kids to rebel and p1ss off their parents with "horrible" acoustic-sounding music :)
Well, Pol, you and I have had this discussion before; but any song can be interpreted in a more artistic manner. Taking for example Casandra Wilson's version of Last Train to Clarkville. On then other side, I heard a modern rock band play a classic rock tune the other day and butcher all the phrasing and dynamics. Don't remember what it was.

Compare Ce Lo's Forget You to Joe Jackson's She Really Going Out With Him? The Real title of Forget You is F&^%You, the chorus continues . . now ain't that some sh . . There are three songs in the BB Hot 100 with the word "Fk" in the title. But Forget You, or Fk You whatever you prefer, does have an infectious hook, and you have to get the unedited version to hear that he does actually use the f word in the chorus, as well as the word sh and n&^%, " Oh, sh shes a gold digger, just thought you should know n&^%." It certainly is a lot less innocent than the Joe Jackson Tune; but lyrics like "pretty woman walking with gorillas down my street" or "staring out the window while my coffee gets cold." Pretty good stuff. It's gotta have a good lyric. One of the artist that I enjoy was up for a Grammy for best song this year. No it wasn't for Meg White, although that's a killer tune. I think it is the first time in decades I owned an album with a Best Song candidate song on it.

The big difference is that you no longer have AOR, and there are so many good songs or good bands like Porcupine Tree, that just never get heard and that is a crime.
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  #54  
Old 04-01-2011, 06:24 PM
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Default Re: My rant on today's pop music

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Last Train to Clarkville. .
Now there is a song that was meant to be pop, but is just a killer track.

Yeah, it has all the makings of pop dribble: Written by outside song writers, sung by a then fake band, using mystery studio musicians, recorded with the sheer purpose of cashing in on the Beatles craze.

Yet, the results were great.



Joe Jackson I still can't think of as generic pop. He was coming from a punk/new wave back ground, and was heavily influenced by jazz. I'd put him more in the college-indie scene than commercial pop.
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  #55  
Old 04-01-2011, 06:31 PM
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Default Re: My rant on today's pop music

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The question is, where do you put the backbeat lol
Ha, imagine that, "Sunshine" with a backbeat! The very thought makes me shudder.
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  #56  
Old 04-01-2011, 07:39 PM
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Default Re: My rant on today's pop music

Well, I must admit that I listen to the new pop side of Def Leppard, some good songs / some not too good!
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  #57  
Old 04-01-2011, 07:53 PM
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Default Re: My rant on today's pop music

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Originally Posted by DrumEatDrum View Post
Now there is a song that was meant to be pop, but is just a killer track.

Yeah, it has all the makings of pop dribble: Written by outside song writers, sung by a then fake band, using mystery studio musicians, recorded with the sheer purpose of cashing in on the Beatles craze.

Yet, the results were great.



Joe Jackson I still can't think of as generic pop. He was coming from a punk/new wave back ground, and was heavily influenced by jazz. I'd put him more in the college-indie scene than commercial pop.
I think you're over stepping. A lot of the studio guys have become legends, and the wrecking crew played on most of the singles Herb Albert or Sonny and Cher, to the Association, Beach Boys Simon and Garfunkel, The Byrds, Mamas and the Papas, etc. They probably even played on The Archies, Sugar. The wrecking crew was a band for all intense and purposes. The Beach Boys were not. The Wrecking Crew consisted of 7-8 main players and another 10-15 standbys for extra horns over dubs or because there was too much work.

Everybody used session guys back then and even James Brown would still call in Purdie to do the shuffles. A lot of bands were session bands, like later Steely Dan or Hall and Oates. For their demo, Lynryd Skynyrd used the Swampers who were session band based in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Paul Simon continued to use studio guys, and even had a great band with Richard Tee, Eric Gale, Tony Levin and Gadd at one point, all session guys.
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  #58  
Old 04-01-2011, 10:07 PM
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Default Re: My rant on today's pop music

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I think you're over stepping. A lot of the studio guys have become legends, and the wrecking crew played on most of the singles Herb Albert or Sonny and Cher, to the Association, Beach Boys Simon and Garfunkel, The Byrds, Mamas and the Papas, etc. They probably even played on The Archies, Sugar. The wrecking crew was a band for all intense and purposes. The Beach Boys were not. The Wrecking Crew consisted of 7-8 main players and another 10-15 standbys for extra horns over dubs or because there was too much work.

Everybody used session guys back then and even James Brown would still call in Purdie to do the shuffles. A lot of bands were session bands, like later Steely Dan or Hall and Oates. For their demo, Lynryd Skynyrd used the Swampers who were session band based in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Paul Simon continued to use studio guys, and even had a great band with Richard Tee, Eric Gale, Tony Levin and Gadd at one point, all session guys.
Where did I say session players were bad players?

Obviously the wrecking crew were all great players who are regarded as legends.

I never said anything negative about the quality of the players.

It's the presentation. If you watched the Monkees as a kid, there is no indication it was session guys behind the song. You're lead to believe the four "band members" did it all. That part was fake.

Same with the Partridge family and other assembled musical groups where the use of sessions guys was hidden, and the illusion was they weren't used. And had they had today's sequencing/midi options, they would have used that over paying the wrecking crew to come in.
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  #59  
Old 04-02-2011, 12:22 AM
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Default Re: My rant on today's pop music

Today's pop music has no soul. There, I said it.

That pretty much says it all.

I have no problem with synthesizers. In fact when I was younger like 1962, I was playing the piano and envisioned a keyboard that could sound like any other instrument. Some guy name Moog beat me to it. But today every bit of music is so digitized if that is the proper word that it is very hard for me to like any of it. I finally found a station here in Tampa that played popular music and most of it is pop. Their ad says we play everything except Rap. The music is terrible. So I am back to talk radio, where the politics is just as depressing as the music, and listening to iTunes.
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  #60  
Old 04-02-2011, 03:40 AM
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Well done, Mary and Bermuda - you guys really know your lyrics! At first I was thinking it was too easy and got about the first 9 or 10 without drama ... after that, then the wheels fell off lol

Andy, I think you have just made the transition from valued member to troll :) Larry, yes, he has the backbeat backwards haha

Seriously, Andy, you've hit the nail on the head. The slick production is all, like opening a Xmas present with fabulous ornate packaging - so exciting! - then you open the box only to find a few (heavily) used condoms inside.

Ken, it's a fair point - the reliance on swearing can somewhat close the door to deeper lyrics - opportunity costs. I like both the Ce Lo and the Joe Jackson tracks you mentioned. Ce Lo's track is more from the amygdala - like he'd lifted the dialogue straight out of an argument whereas Joe's was filtered through the prefrontal cortex :) Both are valid enough, as long as neither becomes a formula. For the record, I far preferred %^#$ you to Forget You.

GD, does modern pop lack soul more than old formulaic hits? Perhaps the extra soul in those old hits was accidental - they simply didn't have the technology at the time?

I think the intent was similar, although the bean counters' influence has increased. They've really refined the formula - gradually stripping away the artistic nuances bit by bit until not much more than the beat, the sex talk and the hook remains.

I suspect that one day it will be rebellious for teens to get into organic music. I'm not sure it's possible to be more formulaic and mechanical than the Rebecca Black track:

funky drum machine - check
hip autotune - check
catchy hook - check
hip rapping - check
hip electro-sounds - check
teen lyrics and vibe - check
cute girl - check
dancing - check.

Kids, we have a hit on our hands!

The production guys Rebecca's parents hired are just the modern day equivalent of Stock Aitken and Waterman ... even the the name aptly conjures up the idea of a team of accountants.
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Old 04-02-2011, 04:08 AM
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Default Re: My rant on today's pop music

It isn't just you.

Im younger than you and can't stand it.

Just because there is a danceable beat, some really easy synth line, and using autotune to change the pitch of the "vocalist" doesn't mean I like it.

The songs don't give me the same emotional rush as say "last" by nin , or even "freedom" by ratm.


It seems like putting a statement in the music, or writing songs that touch you emotionally, all that is aside. The only point is that it has a "good beat and you can dance to it."

I play a game. I try to count the amount of songs that have a dance beat and/or autotune on the radio at any given time. Most of the time in ten minutes time I hear more than five songs with this formula.

It is all crap.

I like pop music. Not what is passed off as such today.
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Old 04-02-2011, 04:33 AM
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Default Re: My rant on today's pop music

I remember being disappointed when Stevie Wonder came out with I Just Called to Say I Love You, which was all synthesizer and drum tracks. Yet compared to most of today's pop songs, it sounds pretty good.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwOU3bnuU0k
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Old 04-02-2011, 08:12 AM
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Default Re: My rant on today's pop music

I don't really have a problem with today's pop music, but that's probably because I don't involve myself in it at all. It really makes me cringe that "pop music" is so influenced by hip-hop. I guess it comes down to that lack of humanity in the music, like has been said earlier. I call it robot music... made by and for... robots.
But again, when I start to cringe, I just remove myself from it and pop in a Beatles record or something and enjoy some good "pop". People like what they like, and that's fine. I like what I like and try not to criticize other's interests... even though I can't make sense of them sometimes!
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Old 04-02-2011, 10:26 AM
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Default Re: My rant on today's pop music

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Andy, I think you have just made the transition from valued member to troll :) Larry, yes, he has the backbeat backwards haha
Really? My stuff is that contentious? Was I ever a valued member? Ok, I admit it, it's kinda fun to tweak the nipples of established thinking. Similar to lighting the blue touch paper on a firework, you know something's going to explode, just not sure when.

Of course, my praise post was as sarcastic as it gets, but I think it's worth limiting our fire to mainstream record company produced crap. Not all music that aspires to be or becomes POPular is terrible. Take http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0bwN-9GM14 as the best example I've come across in years!
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Old 04-02-2011, 10:50 AM
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Default Re: My rant on today's pop music

Yep Andy, your sparkling little irony-fest is worth repeating ...

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ALL modern music is superb, especially everything mainstream. I love how clean & precise everything is these days. No more crappy distorted guitar or horrible glassy cymbals, & ALL the singers are so good. Modern drum sounds are so powerful too, not like those old empty boingy things I used to hear.
Yes, the formula-weavers should be the target for any crap - and the "artists" ignored. After all, the flak being given to Rebecca Black will probably make her a multi-millionaire. Go figure. Her true place should be singing in school shows.

But Project RnL as pop? Pop prog fusion?? Nowhere near as many views as RB.

Of course you're a valued member ... cymbal geek, engineering consultant and the Marcia Hines of Drummerworld Idol! (the nice, encouraging judge).
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Old 04-02-2011, 11:33 AM
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cymbal geek, engineering consultant and the Marcia Hines of Drummerworld Idol! (the nice, encouraging judge).
Marcia Hines? Never heard of her. Is she a judge on one of these singing competitions that I pretend not to watch?
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Old 04-02-2011, 11:58 AM
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Marcia Hines? Never heard of her. Is she a judge on one of these singing competitions that I pretend not to watch?
She was the nice judge on Oz Idol. No idea if she's still doing it - I got out of touch after the second series.

When I watched it I found most of the singers too cookie-cutter, but I was super impressed with Guy Sebastian's voice when he sang some soul classics on the show. His raspy voice reminded me a bit of Terence Trent D'arby (I'm a sucker for male singers with a bit of rasp).

Unfortunately, the material he chose - or was chosen for him - after winning the show was disappointing.
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Old 04-02-2011, 03:58 PM
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Default Re: My rant on today's pop music

Here is another good contemporary pop band. pop, you should like this one. Mumford and Sons

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLJf9qJHR3E
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Old 04-02-2011, 05:22 PM
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Default Re: My rant on today's pop music

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It really makes me cringe that "pop music" is so influenced by hip-hop. I guess it comes down to that lack of humanity in the music, like has been said earlier. I call it robot music... made by and for... robots.
Made by robots, for robots? I'd like to see that!!

I'm not saying anyone has to like anything. But it's important to understand that there's humanity in any art, and the creators of this 'robot' music have as much passion for what they do as, let's say, Neil Peart and Mickey Hart have for what they do. For those drummers, playing drums is not just hitting them, and for most modern music producers and artists, making music is not just pushing buttons. There's a lot of creativity and thought that goes into making most pop/rap/dance tracks. Just because a producer didn't physically play a bass, or guitar, or drums, doesn't mean he clicked a mouse and out popped a track!

Let's show particular respect to arguably the most mindless of those genres: dance. As drummers, do we actually listen to what goes into those tracks, or do we just think it's someone pressing a few keys on their midi controller and calling it a drum part? Well, I have to listen. Part of my primary gig is backwards-engineering such tracks in order to recreate the drum & percussion parts, and I can assure you that more often than not, those parts are well thought out, involve creative sounds and different tunings, and may have a dozen sneaky little things going on that contribute to the groove of the track. These are things that a live drummer wouldn't do, and couldn't do.

I'm not asking anyone to like those songs and genres, but as musicians, and especially as drummers, let's show some respect for the work that goes into the majority of these tracks. It's the same as not liking jazz, for example. You still have the respect the players for what they do.

Bermuda

Last edited by bermuda; 04-02-2011 at 06:26 PM.
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Old 04-02-2011, 05:31 PM
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Default Re: My rant on today's pop music

Whenever I get home from my local healthclub that insists we all hear modern pop music with drum machines and autotune pop princesses sugary lyrics, I have to remind myself that there was a time when real musicians played real instruments. They played these instruments with their own hands and used creative song formats. The extensive use of dynamics, melody and harmony. Did I mention dynamics?

Here's an example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7fi-s...eature=related
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Old 04-02-2011, 06:03 PM
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Default Re: My rant on today's pop music

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Whenever I get home from my local healthclub that insists we all hear modern pop music with drum machines and autotune pop princesses sugary lyrics, I have to remind myself that there was a time when real musicians played real instruments. They played these instruments with their own hands and used creative song formats. The extensive use of dynamics, melody and harmony. Did I mention dynamics?

Here's an example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7fi-s...eature=related
Feeling nostalgic . . I remember channel surfing late at night when this song came out to find it. At the time, I had no idea who Yes was, although I remember hearing the Roundabout edit single on WCBS AM back in the car with my folks. This is a snog that will do that, and there is not many of them and few today.

I hear what Bermuda is saying, and posted a link to a documentary called Copyright Criminals on the main page. It really gives a good both sides view of hip-hop and sampling and the mechanization of modern music. You can't just shut down to certain types of music because it is not your thing. On the other hand, I don't think that it is a good thing in any sense of the word that we have taken musicians out of the process of making popular music. In the days of the great studio bands, the studio musicians put a lot of affect into the interpretation and composition of the song. As a songwriter, that is one thing I have learned. In the hands of Booker T and the MG's, one of my tunes would have been a hit.

You've got me listening to Yes today. Now Angus Young has nothing on Steve Howe: 8:02

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Jhk5MEugJY&NR=1
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Old 04-02-2011, 06:39 PM
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Default Re: My rant on today's pop music

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Made by robots, for robots? I'd like to see that!!

I'm not saying anyone has to like anything. But it's important to understand that there's humanity in any art, and the creators of this 'robot' music have as much passion for what they do as, let's say, Neil Peart and Mickey Hart have for what they do. For those drummers, playing drums is not just hitting them, and for most modern music producers and artists, making music is not just pushing buttons. There's a lot of creativity and thought that goes into making most pop/rap/dance tracks. Just because a producer didn't physically play a bass, or guitar, or drums, doesn't mean he clicked a mouse and popped a track.

Let's show particular respect to arguably the most mindless of those genres: dance. As drummers, do we actually listen to what goes into those tracks, or do we just think it's someone pressing a few keys on their midi controller and calling it a drum part? Well, I have to listen. Part of my primary gig is backwards-engineering such tracks in order to recreate the drum & percussion parts, and I can assure you that more often than not, those parts are well thought out, involve creative sounds and different tunings, and may have a dozen sneaky little things going on that contribute to the groove of the track. These are things that a live drummer wouldn't do, and couldn't do.

I'm not asking anyone to like those songs and genres, but as musicians, and especially as drummers, let's show some respect for the work that goes into the majority of these tracks. It's the same as not liking jazz, for example. You still have the respect the players for what they do.

Bermuda
I can buy what you're saying to a point.

Some programing does show a lot of artistic work went into it. The first NIN nails album comes to mind, as do other albums where their was a thought process.

On the other hand, there are plenty of such recordings where the thought process isn't there. Either because it's a simple part, or (as often happens), the parts were simply taken from a stock source.

There are thousands of pre-recorded drum CDs out there for producers to purchase, not to mention thousands of pre-programmed beats and fills available via midi that come with the average drum machine or software package or can be found online.

When I was doing the Industrial Rock band, I had a handful of disks of loops, each one containing hundreds of drum and percussion parts. And those parts from the few discs I own are clearly in other songs that I have heard on the radio. Now figure that was over 10 years ago, and there have been thousands of new discs of pre-fab stuff since then.

When my bass player sends me demos of songs he's written, the drums parts he's programmed can be pretty insane, but he's not actually programming anything, he's just cut and pasting from a pre-fab list of midi parts.

And if you layer two or three pre-fab parts, yes, you can create some really insane and groovy drum parts. But that doesn't mean there was a lot of hours of thought put into the process. Cut, paste, oh hey, that sounds good, OK, we'll use that.
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Old 04-02-2011, 06:49 PM
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Default Re: My rant on today's pop music

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You can't just shut down to certain types of music because it is not your thing.
Unfortunately, too many people dismiss things simply because they don't happen to like them. Cars, women, TV show, drum brands... music. There's got to be a certain amount of "live and let live" or people just go nuts.

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On the other hand, I don't think that it is a good thing in any sense of the word that we have taken musicians out of the process of making popular music. In the days of the great studio bands, the studio musicians put a lot of affect into the interpretation and composition of the song. As a songwriter, that is one thing I have learned. In the hands of Booker T and the MG's, one of my tunes would have been a hit.
But songwriters and musicians playing instruments are two different animals. While musicians aren't always so prevelant in making modern music - let's not forget that at least one person has to be able to play keyboards - songwriters still exist, and are largely making a killing on modern tracks where the artist doesn't always write their lyrics or music. As a songwriter, you're supremely employable: not every song may need musicians, but every song needs at least one writer.

My real concern is that drummers resent and dislike a lot of music because there's not a live drummer on there, as if that 1) invalidates the music (a rather cynical position) or 2) takes a gig away from them (a rather self-serving and presumptuous position!)

I was thoroughly amused by drummers in the early '80s who were convinced their careers were over because the Linn Drum and other machines had become so fashionable. "Machines are replacing us! Quick, make up some 'Drum machines have no soul' bumper stickers!" Sheesh. Guess what - when machines became the vogue, I bought a machine! And to this day, I don't know of any drummers who were put out of work by it. And I've never felt like any less of a drummer just because I sequenced a part rather than physically playing it. It's all part of the music-making process. Maybe the album credit reads drum programming, but so what?

Bermuda
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Old 04-02-2011, 07:05 PM
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Default Re: My rant on today's pop music

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On the other hand, there are plenty of such recordings where the thought process isn't there. Either because it's a simple part, or (as often happens), the parts were simply taken from a stock source.
The thought process doesn't always exist on completely live recordings, either. A real person is always ultimately responsible for a track's quality on any level.

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There are thousands of pre-recorded drum CDs out there for producers to purchase, not to mention thousands of pre-programmed beats and fills available via midi that come with the average drum machine or software package or can be found online.
If we're talking sounds, the same can be said for guitar players who happen to own the same guitars and stomp boxes as the next guy. What makes them different from each other? The notes they play. The bending. The arrangement. The timing and inflections. It's not just the sounds.

The same goes for modern music producers, who also strive to not use stock sounds, and have limitless tools to create impossible sounds. Sure we're hearing a resurgence in classic drum machine sounds, but the majority of drum sounds out there are unique to the recordings they appear on.

I'm dissecting a song right now, and I'm telling you, some of these sounds are just ridiculous. It's not even a question of how did they do that, it's how am I gonna do that?!

Like it or not, ya gotta give 'em their props.

Bermuda
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Old 04-02-2011, 07:13 PM
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Default Re: My rant on today's pop music

But it's important to understand that there's humanity in any art, and the creators of this 'robot' music have as much passion for what they do


I would agree to most of what bermuda says except maybe this one line. I am afraid most of their passion lies in the money. Lets churn them out as fast as we can because the listeners mood changes so fast that yesterdays cool is todays, bleh.

In my mind, The day the music died, was immediately after the initial British Invasion. The BeaTles longish hair led to let's see how long we can make our hair, and lets see how loud we can be. "Standing in the Shadows of Motown", was the beginning of the end.
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Old 04-02-2011, 08:32 PM
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Default Re: My rant on today's pop music

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I remember being disappointed when Stevie Wonder came out with I Just Called to Say I Love You, which was all synthesizer and drum tracks. Yet compared to most of today's pop songs, it sounds pretty good.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwOU3bnuU0k
I don't think the synth tracks and drum machine are what's wrong with that song. If it was played with more conventional instruments, I think it would still be cheesy. But if Superstition or I Wish were played with electronic instruments, they would still be awesome, imo (with the concession that nothing could top the originals). As an example, here is a remix of Superstition:

http://soundcloud.com/juwee/stevie-w...kanomics-remix

So, while it has decidedly electronic sound, it's still really good, because at the root of it, Superstition is just a way better song than I Just Called To Say I Love You.

Last edited by boomstick; 04-02-2011 at 10:33 PM.
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Old 04-02-2011, 09:42 PM
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But if Superstition or I Wish was played with electronic instruments, they would still be awesome... So, while it has decidedly electronic sound, it's still really good, because at the root of it, Superstition is just a way better song than I Just Called To Say I Love You.
That's basically what I've been saying - to judge a song on its merits as a song, and not whether it fits in a preferred genre, or if there's a live drummer on it, or how many synths or samples were involved in creating it, or if the beat was designed for dancing, or if a pop tart or boy band or rapper is at the mic.

People need to keep a more open mind, not stereotype, and then they can decide if they don't like a song when they hear it. You can't pre-judge. It doesn't work. I'm guessing that most of the folks here who resent pop or dance or whatever, haven't really heard enough of it to justify their position against an entire genre.

Suppose somebody said they resent your favorite genre, or band, or drummer, and you know they really don't know enough about the music or players to correctly arrive at their conclusion. For example, suppose I said "I hate jazz, what a bunch of unstructured self-indulgent self-important crap." And someone asks "Do you have any jazz albums? Have you seen live jazz at a club, or TV, or heard it on the radio? Are you familiar with any of the jazz greats?" and I say "No, I just remember hearing some boring, rambling be-bop once, no real beat to speak of, and I didn't like it. So I hate jazz."

I dare say the ensuing conversation would be more heated than this one!

Bermuda
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Old 04-02-2011, 10:09 PM
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Default Re: My rant on today's pop music

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Made by robots, for robots? I'd like to see that!!

I'm not saying anyone has to like anything. But it's important to understand that there's humanity in any art, and the creators of this 'robot' music have as much passion for what they do as, let's say, Neil Peart and Mickey Hart have for what they do. For those drummers, playing drums is not just hitting them, and for most modern music producers and artists, making music is not just pushing buttons. There's a lot of creativity and thought that goes into making most pop/rap/dance tracks. Just because a producer didn't physically play a bass, or guitar, or drums, doesn't mean he clicked a mouse and out popped a track!

Let's show particular respect to arguably the most mindless of those genres: dance. As drummers, do we actually listen to what goes into those tracks, or do we just think it's someone pressing a few keys on their midi controller and calling it a drum part? Well, I have to listen. Part of my primary gig is backwards-engineering such tracks in order to recreate the drum & percussion parts, and I can assure you that more often than not, those parts are well thought out, involve creative sounds and different tunings, and may have a dozen sneaky little things going on that contribute to the groove of the track. These are things that a live drummer wouldn't do, and couldn't do.

I'm not asking anyone to like those songs and genres, but as musicians, and especially as drummers, let's show some respect for the work that goes into the majority of these tracks. It's the same as not liking jazz, for example. You still have the respect the players for what they do.

Bermuda
What I meant by robot music is that machines are the biggest tool to create the music, and to me, it just sounds like something that would cater more to a robot, with the repititious beat, sometimes embarrassingly simple melodies (ie. a song that literally has 3 octaves as the melody and thats it), and vocals that sound like robots (autotune to the max). And I agree with you that these people are into their thing just as I am into mine, but that's not really where I was going with it. Like I said, people like what they like, and that's fine. I like what I like and try not to criticize other's interests. I'm pretty open to a lot of things, but I can also recognize regurgitated repackaged radio garbage when I hear it and no matter what I do, I can't get into it or appreciate it. Plus, I find myself with PLENTY of music to catch up on that was recorded before I was born to keep me busy. But overall, I just don't pay attention to what radio is trying to convince me is cool or whatever. That goes for rock or anything else, not just pop or hip-hop... anyone seen "They Live"?

And yes, I would love to see real robots making music... or cybernetic organisms, whatever they prefer.
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Old 04-02-2011, 10:12 PM
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Default Re: My rant on today's pop music

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That's basically what I've been saying - to judge a song on its merits as a song, and not whether it fits in a preferred genre, or if there's a live drummer on it, or how many synths or samples were involved in creating it, or if the beat was designed for dancing, or if a pop tart or boy band or rapper is at the mic.



Bermuda
The sanctity of genre in today's world is kind of silly. Even hip-hop can be better understood if you view sampling as a form of covering a tune. There is a sanctity for classic rock perfectionism that is even more problematic. I do remember my older friends saying the same thing about synth pop in the eighties, it was soulless. But now my younger friends who grew up listening to that, love it. there is certainly a generational aspect to this. the way jazz guys ragged ragged on rock n roll or the older guys ragged on led Zeppelin. For every generation, great music dies at a specific time in history. That time is the point at which that generation turns 18.
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Old 04-02-2011, 10:12 PM
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Default Re: My rant on today's pop music

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My real concern is that drummers resent and dislike a lot of music because there's not a live drummer on there, as if that 1) invalidates the music (a rather cynical position)
When I was a teen, I had the attitude.

Now though, if I had to make list of my all time favorite albums, there would be a few albums that had drum machines with no sign of a live drummer.
Good music is good music.

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Originally Posted by bermuda View Post

I'm dissecting a song right now, and I'm telling you, some of these sounds are just ridiculous. It's not even a question of how did they do that, it's how am I gonna do that?!

Like it or not, ya gotta give 'em their props.
In no way am I 100% disagreeing with you. Many tracks are done that way.

But the popularity of pre-fab drum parts available for purchase makes it quite clear a lot of tracks are not.
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