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Why All New Music Sucks, a Meandering Rant from TSF3

Posted on December 9, 2009 | By Robert LaFrance | No Comments

Do we stop appreciating new music after a certain age? AKA Why does all new music suck?  Recently re-titled as “Has the now effortless pursuit of new music changed music’s value aka why new music is almost free!”

I long for new music.  I easily fall into the media hype of some groundbreaking young band and seek out any and all of their recordings.  I have been known to incessantly fight the busy signal of a radio station’s request line in order to ask the DJ the name of the song that was played exactly 27.5 minutes ago.  I’ve then called the foreign-based record label to find a local retailer that might actually carry said music.  In my eternal quest for the new and different, I’ve canvassed my hip friends for suggestions, begrudgingly tuned in local college radio, combed the billboard charts, made purchases based solely on the esoteric words of a music journalist, I’ve dragged my classy, sophisticated girlfriend (now wife) through the rough and tubmble streets of Greenwich Village, New York City to seek out musty old music shops that carry used records and spend hours flipping through bins of dusty vinyl – only with the promise of returning the favor by agreeing to window shop at Tiffany’s on 5th Avenue, subscribed to new music CD services (remember CMJ?), provided false names to both the Columbia and BMG music clubs… even purchased random CDs based solely on the cover art or some annoyingly pretentious record store clerk.

But, that was a long time ago and much has changed in my life…

…- marriage, kids, responsibilities, and… the arrival of the internet.  While all those things are very positive (except the responsibilities of course), they’ve forced a sea change in my pursuit of, and perspective on, good music.

First, let’s talk about the pursuit…  It used to be a monumental task – almost a life mission.  With none of this newfangled super highway technology available, the search would be an exercise in persistence and patience (not my strong point) and eminently rewarding.  There was nothing like cracking the seal on a excessively expensive out-of-print LP or 12 inch record (yes, vinyl) that was meticulously shipped across oceans to my tender embrace.  Now it’s almost effortless – services like Pandora, Last.FM, and online radio take a direct feed from your heat and mind and occasionally spit out new tunes that you’ve never heard but can’t imagine you ever lived without.  Then, simply logon to iTunes, Walmart, or Beatport for underground dance music and instantaneously own the music of your dreams.  Sounds great right?  But, if something comes too easily its not valued.  And somehow, it all got kind of boring.

And that’s why I think my perspective has changed.  The new albums by American Idol reject Daughtry or the hipster band the Fray (and countless other modern “alternative” bands) just don’t hold the same charm, emotional bond, or depth.  Maybe I’m getting all old, bitter, and nostalgic but I just don’t seem to be able to find spanking new stuff that floats my boat.  And, I don’t like it one bit.  I don’t want to turn into one of those past-their-prime mullet-wearing aging classic rockers jonesing to hear that dumb Steve Miller song where the guitar line feigns a construction worker’s whistle at a scantily clad female.  Or worse, one of those hippies that’s balding on top but keeps his hair long on the sides and back so he can try to score some weed at the latest jam band summer festival.  But, I do often catch myself throwing on to my old Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, and Radiohead CDs for lack of better options. And now that alternative is the new classic rock, I am frightened of becoming all that I’ve sworn off.  Maybe I’ll cut my bangs and stop wear black.  But better yet… maybe there’s hope in some heretofore unknown group of teenagers with sonic sensibilities that evoke the same passion, purity and pursuit of perfection that mirrors the bands of our youth.

So, new music, I’m beggin you… make yourself hard to find and worth the effort.  For the sake of all of mankind!

~ rl

<If you were listening to crappy music instead of TSF 3: Frustrated Pleasures, feel free to listen or download now or subscribe on iTunes.  Please?>


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