Cleveland Music Scene

Dear current music scene: Please stop sucking. by ClevelandBloggers
February 12, 2011, 7:53 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

As far as I’m concerned, the state of the music world has been on a continuous downward trajectory since the 21st century began. Every decade from the 1950s on has more or less been defined by the music it produced as a result of the ever-swinging pendulum of personal taste and youth in rebellion. Examine any sort of timeline of popular music and the generational gaps are blatantly obvious.

Whether it be the shift in interest towards endless string of pop hits produced on the Motown label to the epically long psychedelic jams of genre-defining rock groups of the 60’s; the rebellion against the said jams by the countless bands produced by the punk explosion of the late 70’s; through the complete bastardization of punk by the synth-abusing, pastel-wearing New Wave yuppies of the 80s; all the way up through the small but potent grunge movement against the said yuppies during the early 90’s, and the subsequent girl group and boy band revival at the turn of the new century, all of the bands and music produced during the 20th century have been burned into the consciousness of listeners, and is probably the reason for the absolute, unadulterated hatred I feel towards 99% of the music produced so far in the 21st century.

I think the main problem with the state of music today is the underlying notion that the boundaries of music have already been met, leaving current artists to shamelessly copy 20th century artists without feeling the need to create anything unique (or listenable, for that matter). Read an interview with any currently popular artist ; chances are they’ll discuss what artists they’ve based their sound off instead of what makes their sound unique. If a band validates their existence by the artists they choose to imitate, I really don’t see the point in listening to them when I could just listen to the artist that inspired them; they usually sound better anyway.

This argument does not exclude those artists who do inspire new music. Practically every 20th century artist that has lasted up to this point have lost what made them memorable due to time and the shift in interest to newer artists. Everyone from Elton John to my beloved DEVO and, yes, even the Rolling Stones have become a decaying shell of what they once were, trying in vain to recapture the spark they once lit the music world alight with.

So why this sudden halt in musical progression? As noted earlier, the feeling of there being nothing left to create is the basis of my attitude towards the current musical landscape. The apparent division between excessively popular acts like Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Rhianna and *gulp* Justin Bieber and the “indie” (because none of these acts are actually on indie labels anymore) or hipster groups like  MGMT and Sonic Youth does not eliminate the obvious lack of creativity or desire to create a generation-defining sound that those generations will be proud to be associated with.

Ladies and gentlemen, THE FUTURE!

Of course, all of this is coming from someone who’s never listened to “Bad Romance” all the way through and couldn’t care less about the difference between Bruno Mars and 30 Seconds to Mars. However, the mass-marketing of musical and cultural movements of decades past to the youth of today is enough proof for me to know that the progression of music will continue to move downward as far as quality and originality are concerned.

So, despite this nihilistic rant about how terrible everything is, I intend to cover the few groups who are giving me at least a fraction of hope for the future, and reintroducing some older obscurities I think are worth sharing with you, dear reader.

Finally starting this whole long term back-patting blog is British group I Blame Coco. Fronted by the androgynous Coco Sumner (daughter of one of my least-favorites ever Sting), the unlikely combination of hypnotic electro-alt and Coco’s husky yet weirdly feminine tenor creates an unforgettable sound unlike anything I’ve heard all millennium. Their debut album The Constant is unfortunately unavailable in the U.S., but you can stream singles from their Myspace page or Youtube. I highly recommend checking out Coco’s earlier stuff, as she was more ska- and reggae-oriented before she got signed to Island Records, which I personally think is a better fit for her amazing voice. Anyway, if you’ re willing to pay for  The Constant in English pounds, you can purchase the album from their official site. Or, you know, find some other way to listen to it.

I’ll be back, hopefully with something catchier than a standard cliche to end my posts with.

-Kelly Sheetz


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