One last bond to break
Posted by aogSunday, 07 December 2008 at 15:17 TrackBack Ping URL

My detachment from popular culture is almost complete. Orrin Judd posts a list of the “Best Songs of 2008”. Not only have I not heard a single one of these songs (or even their titles), I recognized only one of the musicians. Almost there…

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erp Sunday, 07 December 2008 at 20:19

Not to worry, as the mother of three kids who were teenagers in the 70’s, I couldn’t tell you the name of a half dozen songs or “artists” who were popular then or since.

Hey Skipper Monday, 08 December 2008 at 11:01

As the father of two teenagers, I haven’t heard even one of the Best Songs.

Nor, for that matter, have my kids.

OJ said this in response to erp suggesting Monet was, just perhaps, not so bad a cultural influence as Kanye West: Yes, hip-hop is just Dickens.

I have read Dickens. Hip hop is no Dickens.

Annoying Old Guy Tuesday, 09 December 2008 at 07:48

I would agree with that, but I think that modern music is frequently unreasonably disparaged. I have come over the years to the view that Bloom was unduly harsh in his assessment, because he forget Sturgeon’s Law‘s_law (which is also the reason that “oldies” stations play better music than “modern” ones).

Hey Skipper Tuesday, 09 December 2008 at 11:13

As it happens, I like modern music — particularly if it is at least somewhat musical (the “music” underlying hip-hop lyrics both more formulaic and far less listenable than traditional country), and is quirky.

For just one example. Barenaked Ladies is a whole slew of more examples.

I did listen to at least parts of all the songs on the list. I didn’t find any of them horrible (excluding hip hop, which I dislike so much as to be unable to pass critical judgment), so much as completely forgettable.

erp Tuesday, 09 December 2008 at 11:16

I couldn’t find a short concise explanation for Sturgeon’s Law, but the music of the 60’s and 70’s starts sounding a lot better when compared to the later stuff.

Annoying Old Guy Tuesday, 09 December 2008 at 11:34

Sturgeon’s Law is “90% of anything is crap”. A good rule of thumb. If we think of the music of the 1980s, say, that applies. And it applies to the music of the Naughts. But (and here’s the key) when you listen to an 80s station, what does it play? That good 10%. The 90% that was garbage is quietly forgotten. So naturally, at this point in time, the 80s seems like it had better music.

Brit Wednesday, 10 December 2008 at 14:18

I’ve heard all of them. It is a British list, mind, though funnily enough the only one I’ve bought is the Kings of Leon - an American band who are massively popular here but barely heard of in the States.

My theory is that it’s easier to specialise in the States, you can listen to just country music stations or political talk shows etc all day and be almost completely unexposed to mainstream youth culture, whereas British radio is dominated by the eclectic BBC stations.

Harry Eagar Wednesday, 10 December 2008 at 19:21

I consider myself the John the Baptist for a Seattle circus band called Circus Contraption. Try ‘Lucifer and Luminitsa’ from the (OOP) Grand American Traveling Dime Museum album. But they’re sure not going to be on anybody’s Top Of lists.

I’ll agree about Sturgeon’s Law, but I cannot agree that an ‘80s station (such as I hear at the dentist’s office) plays only the good 10%. There appears to be a recent tribute album out of America songs, for pete’s sake.

Hey Skipper Thursday, 11 December 2008 at 13:28

America songs

I remember liking Horse with no Name when I was in HS.

Heard it recently after a hiatus of 35-some odd years.

What a perfectly awful stretch of sonic abuse it is.

Annoying Old Guy Thursday, 11 December 2008 at 13:42

At least everything by The Alan Parsons Project is still pure gold.

Harry Eagar Thursday, 11 December 2008 at 15:21

For me the music died in 1973, although when you look around there is a lot of good stuff being done now. Alison Krauss singing Don Williams’ old ‘I’m Just a Country Boy,’ f’rinstance.

Chicken skin, we say in Hawaii.

erp Thursday, 11 December 2008 at 18:57

Skipper, that’s the first time I’ve heard “Horse With No Name” since my son was in high school 1973-77. Didn’t like it then and wouldn’t care to hear it again! Found out many years later that horse meant heroin, probably the last person on earth to get it.

Hey Skipper Friday, 12 December 2008 at 11:24

Found out many years later that horse meant heroin, probably the last person on earth to get it.

That can’t possibly be true, as I learned that just now.

Perhaps that means my detachment from popular culture is even more complete than AOG’s.

Or, my grasp for the readily apparent is shockingly impaired.

cjm Friday, 12 December 2008 at 13:02

“when you’re married to H, you’re married for life”

it’s a big world out there.

i am an avid collector of music and movies/tv series. didn’t check the list of popular songs for today though. most of my recent music purchases are either jazz or pre-80’s rock/pop. the fact that dinosaur acts can still rake in big bucks shows how badly the music industry is doing. can you imagin a popular act from the 1920’s still being a draw in the 1960’s?

seems like all cultural pursuits from music, to fashion, to architecture, are stuck in a backwater of copying. not much new being produced.

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