The Complete Impossibility Of Getting A Handle On Modern Music
There was a time in the mid-1970s when if you kept your ear to the ground on tried really hard you could get a feel for the start of modern music. You could know enough about everything to know enough about everything. In 2013, you can’t know enough about anything; not even a genre.
Think of music today as tens of thousands of releases from home brews to major players all vying for your attention and with a handful, say 1%, no, say, 0.10% getting your attention. I was looking at the 100 bands playing last week at a festival in L.A., I knew two of them. That’s bad. But the Treehouse scene in New York: these are my contemporaries by the way, I didn’t know any of them. Move on to Pitchfork, band after band after band of avant garde art folks I have no idea about.
As the majors move from record releases to song publishing, the action changes from one medium to another. Everybody is trying to be not the next Beatles or Stones but the next fun. They want to get their song on “Glee” -and they have about as much chance of doing this as winning the lottery.
Meanwhile, Lo-Fi record companies releases 100 copies of their last cassette and play each others bedroom to a cast of friends who record and play and listen to each other. Do they want to break through? Can they do it? Can they break out of where they are? Or is it a scene where anonymity is part of the background.
If you read The Deli , not only do you not know, and will never hear of, the bands, you won’t know or ever hear of the genre, sub-genre, woulda been genre. Remember K-Pop? You don’t know K-Pop either. And forget world music, forget UK pop. There is only time for three hits in a season and it is on to the next one. Take a look at ALl Music’s weekly releases (hell take a look at ours), all their is are albums nobody will ever hear of and even if we do, even if we love an album, it is already over. It has a week? Two weeks? A month? And then it is done.
Music is completely out of control, it is an unknowable behemoth of sound bearing down on you. If you embrace it, it will smother you to death, if you ignore it you’ll miss some of the greatest music of all time.